An aspiring artist and aviator fanatic, Masakichi Hirano was born into a wealthy family in Akita. His passion for art inspired him to acquire hundreds of paintings, including many ukiyoe (Japanese wood-block prints), and nothing—including wars—stopped him from collecting. Under this museum's distinctive copper-covered Japanese palace–style roof, the varied collection of 599 works donated by Hirano include 14 oil paintings by Fujita Tsuguharu (1886–1968)
and an excellent selection of Western art, with works by Toulouse-Lautrec and Picasso as well as a fantastic array of Goya etchings. The highlight is Fujita's enormous Annual Events in Akita. Fujita took just 15 days to complete the painting of three local festivals merged into a single scene, rendered on one of the world's largest canvases at the time, measuring 11 feet by 66 feet. The interior galleries provide an airy and minimalist aesthetic that allows the art to speak for itself.