The city of Kyoto
has been suffering greatly from overtourism (or what the Japanese press call kankō kōgai—tourism pollution), so there's no time like the present to explore lesser-known sites. Just about an hour away from the city center is just such site, the Miho Museum, a modernist marvel quietly brooding deep in the lush forested hill west of central Koka. Designed by I.M. Pei in 2014, the musem is named for its founder, Koyama Mihoko, one of Japan
's wealthiest women. 80% of the building itself—arguably more interesting than the private collection of works from ancient civilizations including the Egyptians, Romans, and various Asian cultures—is underground, carved directly into the mountain. A visit to the museum is and only-in-Japan experience recommended for architects and design-lovers.