Art Facilities in Roppongi, Aoyama, Ebisu, Shibuya, Harajuku, and Shinjuku

■Roppongi / 六本木
・The National Art Center, Tokyo / 国立新美術館
・Suntory Museum of Art / サントリー美術館
・Mori Art Museum / 森美術館
・21_21 Design Sight / 21/21デザインサイト

■Aoyama / 青山
・Nezu Museum / 根津美術館
・Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum / 岡本太郎記念館

■Ebisu, Meguro / 恵比寿・目黒
・Tokyo Photographic Art Museum / 東京都写真美術館
・Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum / 東京都庭園美術館

■Shibuya / 渋谷
・The Japan Folk Crafts Museum / 民藝館館
・Bunkamura The Museum / Bunkamura ザ・ミュージアム

■Harajuku / 原宿
・Watari-um (The Watari Museum of Contemporary Art) / ワタリウム美術館
・On Sundays / オンサンデーズ
・MoMA Design Store / MoMAデザインストア

■Shinjuku / 新宿
・Yayoi Kusama Museum / 草間彌生美術館

One of the great things about Tokyo is that culture, art, and sports from around the world are at your fingertips.

Many Japanese people seem to think that America is the epicenter of the world—a place where you can get your hands on information from around the world, but that is a misconception. I would submit that the majority of America is only interested in American culture.

Most Americans only watch American movies and only listen to American music. With sports, Americans are invested in football (the NFL), baseball (the MLB), and basketball (the NBA), and uninterested in the Olympics or soccer (other than their own exploits).

When it comes to entertainment, audience interest lies mostly on domestic entertainments. (Granted, the same can be said for Japan.)

Although there is a stratum of intellectual-types who have an interest in art and classical music, the masses are chiefly preoccupied with celebrity gossip.

However, in Tokyo, cultural experiences are abound (albeit often through a Japanese lens)—American culture, European culture, Asian culture, and of course, Japanese culture. There are many excellent art museums and galleries, and wherever I go, the scene seems to be thriving.

The variety is not limited to highbrow art, of course. There’s nowhere else in the world where you can find the variety of cuisine you can find in Tokyo—not to mention the quality you get for the price.

Over the past several years the quality of the curating at Tokyo’s art museum seems to have taken it to another level. The exhibitions are fresh and original, and there is a bounty of rotating exhibits passing through at any given moment.









■Roppongi / 六本木

■The National Art Center, Tokyo (NACT)

Credit : The National Art Center, Tokyo / 国立新美術館
Photo : The National Art Center, Tokyo/国立新美術館提供

The NACT is one of Japan’s largest art museums in terms of floorspace, just a hop, skip, and a jump_ from Tokyo Midtown. The building was designed by the late Kurokawa Kisho, and its facade gets the name “glass curtain wall” from its undulating, wave-like shape.

A word about the name: The National Art Center, Tokyo. Although the facility is called a bijutsukan (museum) in Japanese, it’s called an art center in English to set itself apart from the other national art museums—it is the only one without a permanent collection or permanent exhibition.

There are usually multiple exhibitions going on at any given time, mostly Western and Japanese modern and contemporary art. Some exhibitions can be entered for free, so this is a great place to visit on a whim too. The restaurant and cafe have a great vibe, and it’s no surprise the NACT is such a popular date destination.

Furthermore the NACT’s art library—entry is free—collects exhibition catalogs provided courtesy of museums from across the country and abroad. It is an invaluable resource for anybody interested in art.

Credit : The National Art Center, Tokyo Art Library / 国立新美術館 アートライブラリー
Photo : The National Art Center, Tokyo/国立新美術館提供


Credit : The National Art Center, Tokyo / 国立新美術館
Photo : The National Art Center, Tokyo/国立新美術館提供


英語名は「The National Art Center, Tokyo」ですが、通常「美術館」はmuseumと翻訳されるのに対してart centerとしているのは、日本の国立美術館の中で唯一コレクション(収蔵品)や常設展を持たないからだそうです。



The National Art Center, Tokyo/ 国立新美術館
7-22-2 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-8558
〒106-8558 東京都港区六本木7-22-2
TEL: +81-(0)3-5777-8600 (Hello Dial / ハローダイヤル)
Open 開館時間: 10:00−18:00
*During exhibition periods, open every Fri & Sat until 20:00 (until 21:00 between July and September)
*Last entry 30 minutes before closing
Closed 休館日:Tuesdays / 火曜日
*For the Art Library open hours please refer to the NACT’s homepage

■Suntory Museum of Art

Credit : Exhibition Image / 展示風景  Photo : ©Keizo Kioku / ©木奥恵三

This private art museum is located on the third floor of the Galleria wing of Tokyo Midtown. The architecture by Kuma Kengo is a mix of Japanese tradition and modern design. As the name suggests, the museum is owned by Suntory, and there are floor sections throughout the museum that are made using wood from recycled whiskey barrels.

Under the central theme of “Art in Life”, the museum holds themed temporary exhibitions primarily focused on Japanese antiquities. Its permanent collection includes masterworks of painting, ceramics, lacquerware, dyed textiles, and glassware from the East and West, including one national treasure and 15 important cultural properties.

In addition to the gift shop and cafe, there is an adjacent tearoom, Gencho-an, where guests can enjoy a cup of matcha and Japanese sweets. It’s important to note, however, that the tearoom is only open for designated Thursdays during exhibitions, and capacity is limited. Reservations are not accepted; tickets can be purchased at the reception desk on the day, starting at 10:00 am.

Credit : shop×cafe外観(左)・shop内観(右)
Photo : ©Mikuriya Shin-ichiro / ©御厨慎一郎


Credit : Tea room / 茶室  Photo : ©Keizo Kioku / ©木奥恵三




Suntory Museum of Art / サントリー美術館
Tokyo Midtown Galleria 3F 9-7-4 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-8643
〒107-8643 東京都港区赤坂9-7-4 東京ミッドタウン ガレリア3階
TEL : +81-(0)3-3479-8600
Open 開館時間 : 10:00-18:00 (Fri. & Sat. until 20:00)(ただし金・土は20:00まで開館)
English Site :
日本語サイト :

■Mori Art Museum

Interior (Center Atrium) Photo courtesy of Mori Art Museum
Mori Art Museum is located on the 53rd floor of Roppongi Hills Mori Tower. It has no permanent exhibits, and instead organizes its own unique exhibitions spotlighting contemporary artists in a wide variety of media and genres, including fashion and architecture.

For the museum’s “N. S. Harsha: Charming Journey” exhibition held during the first half of 2017, visitors were allowed to take photographs in the galleries. The exhibition is also notable for undertaking Instagram’s first #empty movement event in Japan, where select guests were exclusively invited to explore the exhibition afterhours and post their experiences on social media.

Paying admission will also get you access to the rooftop observation deck, called Tokyo City View depending upon feature exhibitions—so although art museums are great rainy-day destinations, I recommend checking out Mori Art Museum when the weather is clear.


Exterior (Museum Cone) Photo courtesy of Mori Art Museum

2017年前半に開催された「N・S・ハルシャ展:チャーミングな旅」の展覧会では、観賞者が展示室内で写真撮影をすることを許可するだけでなく、海外でも話題になった、閉館後の美術館内の様子をSNSで投稿する #emptyというインスタグラムの取り組みも初めて日本で試みたことが注目されました。


Mori Art Museum / 森美術館
53F, Roppongi Hills Mori Tower, 6-10-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-6108
〒106-6108 東京都港区六本木6-10-1 六本木ヒルズ森タワー53階
TEL : +81-(0)3-5777-8600 (Hello Dial answering service)
Open 開館時間 : 10:00-22:00 (until 17:00 on Tue)(火曜は17:00まで) 
* No holidays during exhibition periods ※会期中は無休

■Aoyama / 青山

■Nezu Museum

Photo : ©FUJITSUKA Mitsumasa / 根津美術館提供

Nezu Museum is called an urban oasis, the perfect spot to take a break amid a day of shopping around the Aoyama area.

Its collection is comprised of over 7,400 antiquities from Japan as well as China and Korea, with many national treasures, important cultural properties, including many pieces of Buddhist Art. Selections from that collection are presented under a variety of themed exhibitions. Although the floorspace is modest, the museum is always an eyeful.

The highlight is the 17,000-square-meter Japanese garden—itself a popular destination for foreign tourists. Take a stroll to calm the senses, then enjoy a cup of tea or coffee at NEZUCAFÉ—three out of its four walls are floor-to-ceiling windows offering a view of the garden. (Visitors must pay the museum entrance fee to access the garden and cafe.)

Photo : Nezu Museum / 根津美術館提供


Photo : Nezu Museum / 根津美術館提供




Nezu Museum/ 根津美術館
6-5-1 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0062
〒107-0062 東京都港区南青山6-5-1
TEL : +81-(0)3-3400-2536
Open 開館時間: 10:00−17:00
*Last entry 16:30 / ※入場は閉館の30分前まで
Closed 休館日:Mon, in between exhibitions, end-of-year and New Year’s holidays

■Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum

Photo : Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum/岡本太郎記念館提供

Artist Okamoto Taro’s home studio was renovated into this art museum located along Kotto-dori, just a short walk from Nezu Museum. Inside you can find not only his abstract sculptures, but also the tools he used in his work.

Side note, partway between Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum and Nezu Museum—towards Kotto-dori—is the jazz club Blue Note Tokyo, offering the perfect way to wind down after a day of shopping and art. I submit there’s no better way to spend a day off.

Photo : Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum/岡本太郎記念館提供


Photo : Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum/岡本太郎記念館提供



Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum/ 岡本太郎記念館
6-1-19 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0062
〒107-0062 東京都港区南青山6-1-19
TEL : +81-(0)3-3406-0801
開館時間 10:00~18:00  ※Last entry 17:30 ※入場は閉館の30分前まで
Closed 休館日:Tuesdays (unless holiday), end-of-year and New Year’s holidays

■Ebisu,Meguro / 恵比寿・目黒

■Tokyo Photographic Art Museum

Photo : Tokyo Photographic Art Museum/東京都写真美術館提供

This public art museum located in Yebisu Garden Place specializes in photographs and moving images, with over 34,000 works from around Japan and the world. The four-floor facility has three exhibition galleries for photography and moving image works, and a library that makes available to readers information related to photography and image media exhibitions and research.

Side note, in conjunction with its reopening in 2016, it adopted a new name in English as well as a new logo, in order to better capture its dedication to moving images and photographs: Tokyo Photographic Art Museum, or TOP Museum for short.


Photo : Tokyo Photographic Art Museum/東京都写真美術館提供


ちなみに、2016年にリニューアル・オープンをした際、「写真と映像=光の芸術」という意味から英語館名をTokyo Photographic Art Museum 変更し、頭文字の一部から愛称を「トップ・ミュージアム」としている。

Tokyo Photographic Art Museum/ 東京都写真美術館
Ebisu Garden Place 1-13-3 Mita, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-0062
〒153-0062 東京都目黒区三田1-13-3 恵比寿ガーデンプレイス内
TEL : +81-(0)3-3280-0099
開館時間 10:00~18:00(木・金曜は20:00まで)

■Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum

Originally the residence of Asaka-no-miya (Prince Asaka) a member of the former Imperial Family, the art deco-style main building is itself a work of art. (The building has been designated a national important cultural property.) Art deco is a style of decoration that developed out of the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts held in Paris in 1925. It is characterized by bold lines, streamlined designs, and geometric patterns.

The gardens that surround the main building are one of the biggest highlights. There is a beautiful lawn, a Japanese garden, and a Western-style garden (improvements to the latter were completed earlier in 2018). From the name “teien”, which means garden, you might expect the museum to be dedicated to gardening and horticulture, but the exhibitions held in the main building mostly spotlight modern art, fashion, and design.




Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum/東京都庭園美術館
5-21-9 Shirogane-dai, minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0071
〒108-0071 東京都港区白金台5-21-9
TEL : +81-(0)3-3443-0201
開館時間 10:00~18:00

■Shibuya / 渋谷

■The Japan Folk Crafts Museum

The Japan Folk Crafts Museum sits amid a quiet residential neighborhood close to the University of Tokyo’s Komaba campus. It was founded by Yanagi Soetsu, who was the founding father of the Mingei folk art movement, which was about discovering the beauty in everyday crafts made by unknown craftspeople.

The museum collects and exhibits a range of crafts, including ceramics, textiles, woodwork, and, of course, crafts made by Mingei movement artists.

The closest train station is the Komaba-Todaimae Station along the Keio Inokashira Line. Despite its residential location a short distance from the station, the museum can get crowded on the weekends, although even then there is still plenty of breathing room to take in the exhibits at your pace. Plan on spending about an hour walking around the building. As the main building has been designated a national tangible cultural property, visitors must take off their shoes before entering.

Also recommended is The Coffeeshop Roast Works, which is about 10 minutes away by foot, or the oden restaurant Okame, which is about 7 minutes away. (Oden is a winter food where fishcakes and various vegetables are simmered in dashi broth.)





徒歩10分くらいのところにカフェの「The Coffeeshop Roast Works」、徒歩7分くらいのところに「おかめ」というおでん屋もおすすめです。

The Japan Folk Crafts Museum/日本民藝館
4-3-33 Komaba, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-0041
〒153-0041 東京都目黒区駒場4-3-33
TEL : +81-(0)3-3467-4527
開館時間 10:00~17:00

■Bunkamura The Museum

*Due to renovations, Bunkamura is closed between 2018/07/02 and 11/15

From the Hachiko Exit of Shibuya Station, head toward Shibuya 109, then veer right and head down Bunkamura-dori to find Bunkamura, a multipurpose cultural complex that stands adjacent to Tokyu Department Store Main Store.

The Museum (yes, that’s the name) holds around four to six exhibitions a year that shine a light on Japanese and foreign masters of modern art and others.

Other than The Museum, the facility also has a concert hall called Orchard Hall, a theater called Theater Cocoon, a movie theater called Le Cinéma, a gallery space, a museum gift shop, a restaurant, and more.

■Bunkamura ザ・ミュージアム


渋谷駅ハチ公から「SHIBUYA 109」の右側にある文化村通りを進んだ先にあるのが東急百貨店本店とすぐ隣の複合文化施設「Bunkamura」です。



Bunkamura The Museum/Bunkamura ザ・ミュージアム
2-24-1 Dogenzaka, Shibuyaku, Tokyo 150-8507
〒150-8507 東京都渋谷区道玄坂2-24-1
TEL : +81-(0)3-3467-4527
開館時間 10:00~18:00

■Harajuku / 原宿

■Watari-um (The Watari Museum of Contemporary Art)

Photo : The Watari Museum of Contemporary Art

This museum of contemporary art is located along Gaien Nishi-dori, about an 8-minute walk from Gaienmae Station on the Tokyo Metro Ginza subway line. If you’re headed over from the Harajuku/Omotesando area, take Hara Nihon-dori—the street on the left side of the Apple Store that is lined with many shops, including the tonkatsu institution Maisen—all the way to the end and make a left.

The museum holds about three or four exhibitions a year that spotlight contemporary art—photographs, video art, architecture, design—from Japan and around the world, along with various workshops and lectures that complement the running exhibition. On most days the museum closes at 19:00, but every Wednesday the doors are open until 21:00—perfect for an after-work change of scenery in the middle of the week.

The geometric four-story building, designed by Swiss architect Mario Botta, sits atop a triangular plot of land. Mario Botta is also responsible for the revamped design of the San Francisco Modern Art Museum when it relocated in 1995. For that reason, the facade of Watari-um has always felt very familiar to me.

If you get the chance, also check out Fuga, the flower and plants shop right next door—you’ll be rejuvenated.






Watari-um (The Watari Museum of Contemporary Art)
3-7-6 Jingu-mae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001
〒150-0001 東京都渋谷区神宮前3-7-6
TEL : +81-(0)3-3402-3001
Open 開館時間: 11:00-19:00
*Open until 21:00 every Wednesday / ※毎週水曜日は21時まで
Closed休館日:Mondays (unless a holiday), end-of-year and New Year’s holidays (12/31-1/3)

■On Sundays

On Sundays is the museum gift shop of Watari-um. On the first floor you’ll find stationery, postcards and zakka (miscellaneous items and curio), and downstairs is a cafe and a bookstore with an eye-popping selection of art, design, and photo books.



On Sundays / オンサンデーズ
3-7-6 Jingu-mae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001
〒150-0001 東京都渋谷区神宮前3-7-6
TEL : +81-(0)3-3470-1424
Open 営業時間: 11:00-19:00
*Open until 21:00 every Wednesday / ※毎週水曜日は21時まで

■MoMA Design Store

Photo : MoMA Design Store / MoMAデザインストア提供

MoMA Design Store is the official museum shop of New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). It’s Harajuku location is on the 3rd floor of the multipurpose complex Gyre, which sits at about the midpoint of Omotesando mainstreet.

The shop sells not only MoMA products, but various well-designed interior design and zakka products and playful items for everyday life. In other words, browsing the shop is like walking through a museum, with plenty of things to see. The prices aren’t cheap, but think of it as bringing home a piece of art to incorporate into your life.


Photo : MoMA Design Store / MoMAデザインストア提供



MoMA Design Store
3F GYRE 5-10-1 Jingu-mae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001
〒150-0001 東京都渋谷区神宮前5-10-1 GYRE3F
TEL : +81-(0)3-5468-5801
OPEN 営業時間  11:00~20:00
Closed定休日:No holidays (except New Year’s holidays and facility holidays) / 無休(年始・ビル休館日を除く)

■Shinjuku / 新宿

■Yayoi Kusama Museum

1F Museum Exterior / 1階外観  Photo by Shintaro Ono (Nippon Design Center, Inc.)

At this point, contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama is someone who needs no introduction—anyone who appreciates art is likely familiar with her name. This is her museum.

The museum consists of five floors and presents Kusama’s works through two exhibitions a year.

Door tickets are not available, and tickets must be bought in advance only through the museum’s website. Entry is limited to a set number of visitors for a set number of timeslots a day. See the official website for more information.


Artist Yayoi Kusama / 作家名 草間彌生
Title in English:PUMPKINS SCREAMING ABOUT LOVE BEYOND INFINITY(2017) / タイトル:無限の彼方へかぼちゃは愛を叫んでゆく(2017) ©YAYOI KUSAMA




Yayoi Kusama Museum/草間彌生美術館
107 Benten-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-0851
〒162-0851 東京都新宿区弁天町107
TEL : +81-(0)3-5273 1778
Open 開館時間 11:00-17:30
*Entry only by reservation. Entry is limited to a set number of visitors for a set number of slots a day (90 min). See website for details.
*Tickets go on sale at 10am (Japan Time) on the first day of each month for entry in the month after next.
*Tickets can be purchased only through the museum’s website.
Mon, Tue, Wed (except national holidays)

One last word about Yanagi Soetsu.

Subsequent to the Meiji Restoration (when Japan was opened up to the West) and all the way up to the present, Japanese people have tended to see Western culture as superior and their own culture as inferior. However, in pre-war Japan, Yanagi Soetsu shined a light on Japanese mass culture. He founded the Mingei folk art movement.

According to Wikipedia, the Mingei movement started with Yanagi’s prospectus for the Japan Folk Crafts Museum. The movement was about discovering yo-no-bi (the beauty of utility)—in other words, finding the beauty in handmade utilitarian items that had been used in daily life.

Yanagi would found the Japan Folk Crafts Museum in Komaba in 1936.

The exhibits and events are not particularly showy or flashy, but the museum is worth a visit, for both Japanese and foreign visitors.

Side note, BigBrother regularly uses a stainless steel saucepan designed by the late product designer Yanagi Sori, who was the eldest son of Yanagi Soetsu.



民藝運動とは、「日本民藝美術館設立趣意書」の発刊により開始された、日常的な暮らしの中で使われてきた手仕事の日用品の中に「用の美」を見出し、活用する日本独自の運動。 (Wikipediaより引用