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Arts & Culture in Tokyo

Immerse yourself in the vibrant arts and culture scene of Tokyo, Japan's bustling capital city. From ancient traditions to contemporary expressions, Tokyo is a melting pot of creativity and innovation. Discover world-class museums, galleries, and performance venues showcasing everything from traditional kabuki theater to cutting-edge modern art. Looking for the best ways to experience Tokyo's arts and culture scene? From iconic landmarks like the Tokyo National Museum to hidden gems off the beaten path, we've got you covered. What are the must-see art exhibitions in Tokyo this season?

1. Tokyo National Museum, Tokyo

Tokyo National Museum Statue

Operated by the Institute of Cultural Heritage, the National Museum is both the oldest and largest museum in the country. The space provides historical context on Japan and other Asian nations via its collection of artwork and objects.

2. Meiji Shrine, Tokyo

Meiji Shrine Trees

This Shinto shrine is situated on the outskirts of Yoyogi Park and honors the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. The tranquil, forested setting offers visitors a moment of contemplation.

3. Tokyo Photographic Art Museum, Tokyo

Tokyo Photographic Art Museum Photograph

Premier museum dedicated to photography and moving images - a must for camera enthusiasts. The complex contains three gallery spaces and holds a collection of nearly 37,000 works. Admission fees vary based on current exhibitions.

4. Watari Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo

Watari-Um Museum Of Contemporary Art Art

Opened in 1990, this private museum focuses on innovative work from up-and-coming artists. Valuing individuality, this space sustains itself and supports artists via a paid membership scheme. Keep an eye on their events calendar.

5. Art Center Ongoing, Tokyo

Art Center Ongoing Exterior

This alternative hub offers both a cross-disciplinary art program alongside exhibitions on a diverse portfolio of subjects. Read, partake in public forums, and observe shows before refreshing at the center's café.

6. Asakura Museum of Sculpture, Tokyo

Asakura Sculpture Museum Front

A home and studio that has been turned into a museum for Fumio Asakura's sculpture work. Guests can tour the property, learn all about his process, and view his work up close.

7. Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum, Tokyo

Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Exhibition

Art Deco museum and former residence of Prince Asaka. Now a public gallery, the space features, amongst other things, fine examples of decorative glasswork. The home's wrap-around gardens are also worth a tour.

8. Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum, Tokyo

Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum Red

Former home of Taro Okamoto, a renowned abstract sculptor and artist. Now the space exists as a tribute and memorial to his work. Alongside celebrating his legacy, the museum looks to promote contemporary artwork.

9. Toto Gallery MA, Tokyo

Toto Gallery Ma - Interior

Small, minimalist gallery with a focus on design and architecture - the space displays both real and concept pieces. Visitors can also browse the museum's bookstore, which can be found on the second floor.

10. Ōta Memorial Museum of Art, Tokyo

Art museum brick facade

In this unassuming building lies a museum showing some of Japan’s finest Ukiyo-e art. Stylistically instantly recognizable with a focus on woodblock printing.

11. 21_21 Design Sight, Tokyo

21_21 Design Sight Art

This unique space was created by fashion designer Issey Miyake, and houses exhibitions by talented Japanese and international designers. Features a variety of conceptual and thematic showcases, and challenges the standard museum format.

12. National Noh Theater, Tokyo

National Noh Theatre Exterior

The National Noh Theater was built in 1983 as a venue for this classical Japanese performance. The structure incorporates many traditional architectural elements, like a covered entrance gate, wooden pillars, and an enclosed garden.

13. Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum, Tokyo

Edo-Tokyo Museum

Located in Koganei Park, the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum features buildings from throughout Japan's history - many of which have long since disappeared. Reconstructed public baths, farmhouses, and a kabuki theatre can seen.