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Best Art Museums & Galleries in Tokyo

Post: Wednesday August 26, 2015

Looking for a good way to introduce a little culture into an upcoming weekend or holiday? If you live in or close to the center of Tokyo, there are a lot of great options around. There are numerous museums in Tokyo, from art museums, galleries and even performance spaces, just within just a few minutes’ travel of these areas. Check out the options below for some great ways to spend an afternoon or even an entire day.


Art Musiums Galleries In Tokyo2




Art Museums in Tokyo


Mori Art Museum
The Mori Art Museum is located on the 53rd floor of the Roppongi Hills Mori Tower and is open every day 10 am – 10 pm except Tuesday, which has slightly more limited hours. It is currently featuring a solo exhibition by Dinh Q. Lê, considered one of the best Vietnamese artists today.

Nezu Museum
The Nezu Museum holds the personal collection of Tobu Railway founder Nezu Kaichiro Sr, who was an avid practitioner of sado, (“the way of tea”) and collected many tea-related objects, some of which are designated national treasures. As for the permanent collection, it features a wonderful variety of Japanese and other Asian pre-modern art. The museum is about a 10 minute walk from Omotesando Station, is open 10 am – 5 pm daily, and adult admission is 1000 yen.

Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo
The Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo is the largest contemporary/modern art museum in Japan and its permanent collection contains approximately 4,800 pieces. It currently features exhibitions by Oscar Niemeyer, Sayoko Yamaguchi and others, as well as a special children’s exhibit called “Whose place is this?” in which 4 collectors and artists help kids think about society and their future through art. The museum is about a 10 minute walk from Kiyosumi-Shirakawa station on the Hanzomon/Toei Oedo lines and admission to all exhibits is 2,500 yen for adults.

Hara Museum of Contemporary Art
The Hara Museum of Contemporary Art is one of the older museums of contemporary art in Japan and is unique in that it is housed in what was originally a private home in Shinagawa Ward. In addition to its permanent collection, it has a current exhibit by Cy Twombly, who was famous for his mythology-laden abstract paintings, running through August 30th.

Ota Memorial Museum
The Ota Memorial Museum houses one of the premier collections of traditional Japanese ukiyo-e style of woodblock print and painting, with over 14,000 pieces. It’s a few minutes’ walk from Harajuku Station. Please note that there is no parking for this museum.

Amuse Museum

The Amuse Museum in Harajuku refers to itself as a “live museum” and is quite unique in its presentation of various live exhibitions and performances, which transform it into a sort of mini-amusement park. Its permanent collection is called “Boro” and is a grouping of props and memorabilia from the set of the film “Dreams” by Akira Kurosawa, along with a collection of his letters. Also, don’t miss out the on the fantastic city views from “Bar 6” on the 6th floor.


Japan Folk Crafts Museum
The Japan Folk Crafts Museum was first opened in 1936 and contains a collection of 17,000 craft pieces from the full history of Japan as well as other countries, including ceramics, sculptures, and dyed and woven textiles. This historically recognized museum is just two stops from Shibuya on the Keio Inokashira line.

Yokohoma Museum of Art
Finally, while it’s a little farther afoot than some of the other museums mentioned here, the Yokohoma Museum of Art is one of the largest art museums in Japan, with seven exhibit spaces, and a large permanent collection of pieces from the late 19th century through the present day and also a large photography collection. It also houses the Art Information and Media Center, which aims to serve the educational needs of families and children through its 100,000 art-related books and many ongoing workshops.





Tokyo Art Galleries



Design Festa Gallery
The Design Festa Gallery in Harajuku allows artists of all types to display and sell art without commissions in its 21 show rooms and 50 individual display areas. It is intended to allow anyone who has desire and ability to put on a display of their work and all art forms are welcome. It’s a great place to see a variety of artists in a small and intimate space. Those interested in securing an exhibition space can follow the above link and apply in English.

Bunkamura Gallery
The Bunkamura Gallery is on the first floor of Bunkamura, a concert hall, museum and arthouse movie theater located in Shibuya. It is unique in that one wall is entirely made of glass that allows visitors to Bunkamura’s lounge just outside to be able to enjoy art while sipping tea in an open, airy environment. In addition to the lounge, there is also a European-style restaurant as well as a café known for its chiffon-style pancakes.

Tomio Koyama Gallery

The Tomio Koyama Gallery features paintings, installations, photographs, and drawings by its 50 member artists. Its focus is on modern and contemporary art and is constantly featuring new work so it’s worth revisiting on a regular basis. Find it in Kiyosumi, about halfway between Harajuku and Yoyogi stations on the Yamanote line.




When it comes to museums in Tokyo, the sheer number of choices can be overwhelming. Before your head starts spinning, just take a deep breath and try planning one weekend at a time—those museums aren’t going anywhere. Whichever museum you choose first, the important thing is to get out there and appreciate some art!

If you would like to add variety into day off visiting museums, check out some of Tokyo’s beautiful cultural gardens or browse our amusement & recreation page for more ideas!









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