ACT Land is an unusual complex located in Konan, not far from Kochi city. It claims to be a theme park for cultivating the senses, which it actually achieves, especially in the visual and imaginary spheres. The ACT in ACT Land stands for Art, Culture, and Technology. The park consists of a public play area that’s sure to delight children and probably their parents too, with a few free exhibit areas. There’s a charge to enter the eight separate museums that comprise the really interesting part of the complex.
Ryoma History Museum
The short life of Sakamoto Ryoma is recreated in an extensive exhibition of scenes from his life, using disturbingly lifelike waxworks. There are twenty-seven historical tableaux consisting of more than 120 figures. Lighting and sound effects create a very theatrical atmosphere. There are also attractive wall panels that add some context, as well as documents related to Ryoma, historical documents of the Tosa Domain at the end of the Tokugawa shogunate, and writings, paintings, and artefacts of famous personages.
Waxworks scenes include Izo the Killer, Ryoma the Outcast, Patriots of Noichi, Swimming Practice at the Kagamigawa River, Opening His Eyes to the Current Situation, and Suicide of Ryoma’s Older Sister Ei. They’re really not to be missed.
World Celebrity Museum
This is another waxworks wonderland. As you enter the museum, you’re greeted by Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida who hailed from Kochi. There are other great statesmen and some of the acclaimed beautiful women of the world. Another Kochi personage, the world-renowned botanist Dr. Makino Tomitaro, is featured.
Some of the figures are not particularly good likenesses, but the exhibits are full of vitality and weird charm. There’s the Yalta Conference (look at their shoes!), Politicians of Taiwan, Mahatma Gandhi, Marilyn Monroe, Cleopatra, and Politicians of Tosa.
Nee-Owoo African Gallery
Frank Nee-Owoo is an accomplished and adaptable metalwork artist from Ghana, and this is the only museum in the world where you can see his works. There are about three hundred of them. He uses heavily textured bronze, aluminium, copper, and brass, achieving a unique dull lustre. His works feature animals, people, nature, religion, and science, captivatingly expressed with an African taste. They include high relief pictures, life-size statues and palm-sized figurines. Much of his work has Japanese themes.
Special effects and LED lighting are used to enhance the atmosphere of the artworks.
Ekin Art Gallery
The Kochi painter Hirose Kinzo, also known as Ekin, is known for works with an eerie atmosphere, showing gruesome and bloody killings. But he left behind many altogether different works portraying the beauty of women and the customs of ordinary citizens.
This gallery is a collection of rare works selected to showcase the variety of art produced by Ekin and his disciples. His decapitation scenes are frankly shocking, but his beauties are rather lovely.
World Model Car Museum
Little cars that started as toys for children gradually evolved into works of art for the enjoyment of adults. This is the first museum in the world to gather 3,700 examples of model cars. The variety of makes and models is astounding, as is the quality and detail of the models. Even the world’s rare three-wheelers such as Morgans and Heinkels are covered.
World Classic Car Museum
This extensive line-up of classic cars starts with the extremely rare Italian Fiat Model A manufactured in 1907. Other exhibits include a Ford Model T Prototype, a Peugeot 201, a Durant Rugby Phaeton, a Mercedes Benz 170Da, and a Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham. These now antique cars are in excellent condition and you can photograph them to your heart’s content.
Bonnet Bus Museum
Bonnet bus is the Japanese name for the cab-over-engine buses popular in America. In this museum, you can get on the buses and experience what it was like for a driver and passenger. The feeling of nostalgia is overwhelming. There’s also a haulage lorry on display and an old fire engine. On the firefighting theme, there’s various firefighting equipment from the Edo to Meiji periods.
Kuma’s Container Gallery
Shinohara Katsuyuki, popularly known as Kuma-san, is master of a wide variety of materials including iron, cast iron, brass, glass, concrete, soil, wood, plastic, and earthenware. His work is simple and expressive. Kuma-san has produced all sizes of art from small pieces to objects weighing tons, many of which have been exhibited in prestigious locations in Japan and overseas. A collection of his smaller works is gathered in freight containers, reflecting the international and industrial inspiration of his art.
Name in Japanese: アクトランド
Address: 928-1 Noichicho Otani, Konan, Kochi 781-5233