Shumei believes in the pursuit of beauty through art, appreciation of nature and "natural agriculture", a method of food cultivation. They also practice johrei, a type of spiritual healing. Adherents of Shumei believe that, in building architectural masterpieces in remote locations, they are restoring the Earth's balance.
The Miho Museum was commissioned by Mihoko Koyama, who was an adherent of Okada. The architect I. M. Pei had earlier designed the bell tower at Misono, the international headquarters and spiritual center of the Shumei organisation. Mihoko Koyama and her daughter, Hiroko Koyama, again commissioned Pei to design the Miho Museum. The bell tower can be seen from the windows of the museum.