Art Museums in Tokyo (Self Guided), Tokyo

Like any city that is steeped in history and culture, Tokyo too boasts of a rich collection of art. Art museums and galleries across the city have a rich repertoire of art pieces that are worth a view. These museums are great places to learn about Japanese art, culture and a lot more.
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Art Museums in Tokyo Map

Guide Name: Art Museums in Tokyo
Guide Location: Japan » Tokyo (See other walking tours in Tokyo)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 5
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.6 Km or 3.5 Miles
Author: ann
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • The Watari Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Nezu Museum
  • The National Art Center
  • Mori Art Museum
  • Yamatane Museum
1
The Watari Museum of Contemporary Art

1) The Watari Museum of Contemporary Art

Aimed at promoting and preserving contemporary art, the Watari Museum hosts works of upcoming talent and displays their works of art. It stands together with the Mori Arts Center and the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa as one of the major institutions in Japan and in Asia in the field of contemporary visual arts. It was designed by the architect Mario Botta in 1990. Together with the larger exhibitions, the Watari Museum of Contemporary Art organized lectures, learning workshops for children and small project room exhibitions - showing a balanced interest in both established and emerging artists. The museum is in Shibuya, Tokyo near Gaienmae Station on the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line.

Opening hours: Tuesday-Sunday: 11:00 am – 7:00 pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
2
Nezu Museum

2) Nezu Museum (must see)

Nezu Museum, also known as the Nezu Fine Arts Institute, is located in the Minato district of Tokyo and it displays the private collection of Nezu Kaichirō. The museum opened to the public in 1940 and escaped the destruction suffered by the estate property in the bombing of May 1945. Closed due to large-scale renovation and renewal from 2006 onwards, it re-opened in fall 2009 with a completely new museum building by the Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. This museum boasts of a collection of Chinese bronzes of the Shang and Zhou dynasties and some of the famous Edo period folding-screens of Irises by Ogata Kōrin. It also includes other paintings of renown, calligraphy, sculpture, ceramics, textiles and archaeological materials, as well as objects in lacquer, metal, and wood. The collection also consists of Chinese bronzes of the Shang and Zhou dynasties. The Nezu Art Museum has wide green spaces outside, where visitors can enjoy nature and bask in the tranquil atmosphere.

Why You Should Visit:
Although small, the collection is stellar and the galleries are tightly focused, fascinating introductions to Japanese traditional arts.
You can get lost in the amazing garden and on a nice day, you can spend a long time wandering around its secret paths.
There is also a beautifully designed café overlooking the gardens and several traditional tea houses within the gardens.

Tip:
To experience traditional tea ceremonies, make your reservation at the counter of the museum.

Opening hours:
Tue-Sun: 10am-5pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
3
The National Art Center

3) The National Art Center

The National Art Center located in Roppongi, Minato is a unique exhibition center. Its main objective is to facilitate the exhibition, dissemination of information and research on contemporary art trends in Japan and abroad. It has a huge exhibition space and various events are held throughout the year. Standing on the site formerly occupied by a research facility of the University of Tokyo, the building that hosts the museum is a piece of art in itself. It has an exhibition of 600 pieces, concentrating on 20th-century painting and modern art. It was opened on January 21, 2007. The architect for the museum was Kisho Kurokawa. The facility has 47,960 m² of floor space on a 30,000 m² site with four stories above ground and one below. Access is from Nogizaka Station on the Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line.

Opening hours: Wednesday - Monday: 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
Sight description based on wikipedia
4
Mori Art Museum

4) Mori Art Museum (must see)

The Mori Art Museum is a contemporary art museum founded by the real estate developer Minoru Mori in the Roppongi Hills Mori Tower in the Roppongi Hills complex both of which he built in Tokyo, Japan. Located on the 52nd and the 53rd floor of the Roppongi Hills Mori Tower, The Mori Art Museum was first opened in 2003. It features state-of-the-art galleries with 6m-tall ceilings, controlled natural lighting, and great views of Tokyo. The interior architect of the museum's galleries is Richard Gluckman.

The museum does not exhibit a permanent collection but rather temporary exhibitions of works by contemporary artists. Artists whose work has been exhibited at the museum include Ai Weiwei, Tokujin Yoshioka and Bill Viola. It features Japanese and Asian art, aimed primarily at a Western audience. The museum also organizes various public programs aimed at making art accessible to the public. The museum's founder Minoru Mori died in March of 2012.

Tip:
Consider visiting Mori in the late afternoon and spending an hour at sunset taking in a view of the entire city from one of the highest places available in the city!
The museum itself does not feature any permanent collections so you should check the website before going, as your experience would depend on the exhibition you pick.

Opening Hours:
Wed-Mon: 10am-10pm; Tue: 10am-5pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
5
Yamatane Museum

5) Yamatane Museum

The Yamatane Museum is a small repository of traditional Japanese Nihonga Paintings. It is privately owned and maintained by the Yamatane Stock Trading Company.

The Yamatane Museum opened in July 1966. The main exhibits are from the large collection belonging to the founder of the museum, Taneji Yamazaki. The second director Tomiji Yamazaki expanded the collection adding works by some of the best known Japanese Nihonga painters and instituted the Yamatane Museum of Art Award. The purpose of the museum is to collect, present and interpret Nihonga art through exhibitions and research. Because Nihonga paintings are fragile only a few are displayed at a given time and the exhibits change several times in a year. The interior garden was designed by architect, Yoshio Taniguchi.

Nihonga masterpieces displayed at the Yamatane museum include works by Taikan Yoyokama, Gyoshu Hayami and Kokei Kobayashi. The Dancing Flames painting by Gyoshu Hayami is a designated Important Cultural Property. The catalog of the museum is a lavish coffee table souvenir. The museum’s café offers a special Wagashi or Japanese sweetmeat and Matcha or ceremonial green tea. Some of the sweets offered are by Kikuuya, a long established traditional Japanese confectionary shop in Tokyo. The museum also holds lecture sessions for children and adults so that they may learn more about the unique features of the Nihonga style of painting.

Opening hours: Tue-Sun: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Tokyo, Japan

Create Your Own Walk in Tokyo

Create Your Own Walk in Tokyo

Creating your own self-guided walk in Tokyo is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Shibuya Walking Tour

Shibuya Walking Tour

This place is a melting ground for the fashion conscious and trendy teenagers and is lined with trendy shops, boutiques and some historic sites. On Sundays, crowds of young people converge here dressed up in myriad colors and styles to socialize and have fun. Other significant sites here are the Meiji shrine and the Yoyogi Park. Take time off to experience the fun and frolic that marks the place.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 Km or 2.1 Miles
Religious Sites Walking Tour in Takanawa

Religious Sites Walking Tour in Takanawa

Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines dot Japan’s landscape. These temples and shrines are an architectural splendor and many of these can be found in every part of Tokyo. This guide will take you to the smaller Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines in the Takanawa neighborhood of Tokyo. Most often overlooked by tourists, these temples and shrines are a beauty and should not be missed.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 Km or 2.1 Miles
Best of Asakusa Walking Tour

Best of Asakusa Walking Tour

The Asakusa district in Tokyo is famous for the Senso-ji temple and is one of the few places in Tokyo that retains the old world charm. The temple markets, narrow streets, traditional shops and restaurants provide a glimpse of old Tokyo. It is also known as Tokyo's oldest geisha district. Take a walking tour and live the carnival atmosphere that pervades this place.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.1 Km or 0.7 Miles
Ueno Park Walking Tour

Ueno Park Walking Tour

The Ueno Park, next to the Ueno station is a public park that offers visitors a large number of attractions. The area is home to many of the famous attractions in Tokyo. They are the Ueno Zoo, major museums like the Tokyo National Museum, The National Science Museum and The National Museum of Western Art. This walking tour would provide you an insight into old Tokyo. The museums here preserve the...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.5 Km or 2.2 Miles
Souvenir Shopping

Souvenir Shopping

It would be a pity to leave Tokyo without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Tokyo, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.6 Km or 2.9 Miles
Kitanomaru Park Walking Tour

Kitanomaru Park Walking Tour

The Chiyoda district is steeped in history and is a reflection of the city’s culture, both past and present. Besides several prominent historical landmarks like the Imperial Palace, the place boasts of some of the best museums in the region. The Kitanomaru Park, part of the outer gardens of the Imperial Palace, houses the National Museum of Modern Art, Science Museum and the Nippon Bodokan. The...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 Km or 1.9 Miles

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