Activities and interests: Architecture and design

Picks

Edo-Tokyo Open-Air Architectural Museum - Museum: Koganei
[Open April-Sept 9:30am-5:30pm; Oct-March 9:30am-4:30pm (last entry 30 min earlier). Closed Mondays (or Tues if Mon is natl holiday).]
This massive open-air museum features preserved and reconstructed examples of Tokyo's Edo-era architecture. Besides merchants' mansions and crowded shops, there's also a mausoleum and a bathhouse. The visitor's center was once a pavilion of the...
GA Gallery - Art gallery: Sendagaya
[Open noon-6:30pm daily.]
Despite their compact gallery space, the Global Architecture Gallery puts on some excellent exhibitions focusing on contemporary Japanese and international architecture. There's also a very well stocked architecture bookstore.
Gallery Ma - Art museum: Nogizaka
[Open 11am-6pm (Fri -7pm). Closed Sun, Mon.]
Established by Toto, the manufacturer of bathroom appliances, Gallery Ma is a small two-story gallery located above their Nogizaka showroom. They specialize in modern architecture and contemporary design, with frequent exhibitions devoted to...
Ginza Graphic Gallery - Art gallery: Ginza
[Open Mon-Fri 11am-7pm; Sat -6pm. Closed Sundays.]
Monthly exhibitions focus on contemporary graphic design, showcasing the work of prominent designers from Japan and abroad. The gallery is run by Dai Nippon Printing, one of Japan's largest printing companies.
MoMA Design Store - Retail: Harajuku
[Open 11am-8pm daily.]
More than 1800 very tasteful items are stocked at this museum shop from the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Everything from stylish lamps to clever wristwatches to stationery and kitchenware. The selection also includes a number of items...
Prismic Gallery - Art gallery: Gaienmae
[Open 10am-5pm. Closed Mondays.]
Occupying a one-room gallery space across from Aoyama Cemetery, this intimate gallery puts together correspondingly small-scale exhibitions, focusing on the works of up-and-coming architects and landscape designers.

Design shops

Herman Miller Store - Retail: Marunouchi
[Open 11:30am-8pm.]
Run by the well-known US furniture manufacturer, the Herman Miller Store offers ergonomically designed chairs and office furniture, lighting equipment and stationery.
Japan Traditional Crafts Aoyama Square - Retail: Aoyama 1-chome
[Open 11am-7pm. Closed Sundays.]
The Traditional Craft Center in Aoyama offers handy one-stop shopping for a range of Japanese crafts. It's all here and it's all for sale - from pottery, lacquerware and carving knives for your everyday needs to more esoteric washi (paper...
On Sundays - Retail: Gaienmae
[Open 11am-8pm. Closed Mondays.]
Located next to the Watarium Museum's exhibition space, the museum bookstore has an impressive selection of imported art books, nicely printed art postcards, and various items notable for their design. There's a small cafe space downstairs.
Rin - Retail: Omotesando
[Open 11am-8pm daily.]
The rather chic minimalist decor here is perfect for showcasing Rin's collection of arts and crafts from the outlying regions of Japan. You'll find exquisite pottery, elegant kitchen knives and a selection of artisanal food products. They also...
Spiral Building - Notable building: Omotesando
Pritzker Prize-winning architect Fumihiko Maki designed this Aoyama landmark, which was completed in 1985. There is an excellent design shop on the second floor.
Tokyo Design Center - Notable building: Gotanda
[Most shops open 10am-6pm; closed Wednesdays.]
Designed by Italian architect Mario Bellini, the Tokyo Design Center was completed in 1991. The most prominent feature is a galleria passageway that cuts upward through the building diagonally, leading to a garden area sitting on a steep hill behind...

Architecture, graphic arts, product design

Amuse Museum - Museum: Asakusa
[Open 10am-6pm (enter by 5:30pm). Closed Mondays.]
Established in 2009, this rather specialized ethnological museum focuses on unique textiles, graphics and product designs with a traditional Japanese aesthetic. One highlight is Chuzaburo Tanaka's massive collection of "boro" patchwork-style...
KDDI Designing Studio - Showroom: Harajuku
[Open 10am-8pm daily.]
Located at the end of the Takeshita-dori teen-fashion shopping street, this five-story showroom focuses on mobile phones available from au, one of Japan's three major carriers. The third-floor "Portal Living" section showcases new software for...
Tobacco and Salt Museum - Museum: Shibuya
[Open 10am-5pm (enter by 4:30pm). Closed Mondays.]
Run by cigarette conglomerate Japan Tobacco, this oddly specialized museum focuses on the history of tobacco use around the world and the history of the Japanese salt industry. The top-floor temporary exhibit area also hosts shows covering a wider...
Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery - Art museum: Hatsudai
[Open 11am-7pm (Fri, Sat -8pm). Closed Mondays.]
In addition to contemporary fine arts, the gallery also presents diverse and well-put-together shows covering fashion, architecture and design. Attached is an interesting museum shop called Gallery 5, run by Nadiff art bookstore.

Advertising Museum of Tokyo (ADMT) - Museum: Shiodome
[Open Tue-Fri 11am-6:30pm; Sat, Sun 11am-4:30pm (enter by 30 min before closing). Closed Mondays.]
The Advertising Museum of Tokyo (ADMT) has a very cool entrance in shiny black metal and glass on the B1 floor of the Dentsu building in Shiodome. Walk in, pass the museum shop (which has a couple of cute postcards), and then take a left down the...