Contemporary arts and culture
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Note: Museums and galleries that are usually closed on Mondays will be open if Monday is a national holiday, but will be closed the following day.

Contemporary art picks

3331 Arts Chiyoda - Art gallery: Akihabara
[Open noon-7pm. Closed Mondays, Tuesdays.]
Once a junior high school, this unusual art complex is still furnished with blackboards in some of the former classrooms, which are now used as offices and galleries by more than two dozen artists. The first floor gallery space is the main...
Gallery MoMo Ryogoku - Art gallery: Ryogoku
[Open 11am-7pm. Closed Sundays, Mondays, holidays.]
Consisting of two large gallery spaces and a small library nook where you can look over artists' scrapbooks, MoMo puts on regular shows of their mostly Japanese contemporary artists. They also take part in international art fairs in Basel, Miami...
Mori Art Museum - Art museum: Roppongi
[Open 10am-10pm (Tue -5pm). Open every day.]
Here on the 53rd floor of the Mori Tower, museum visitors can enjoy an impressive panoramic view of the city after seeing an exhibition. The space itself is relatively large for Tokyo, and exhibitions are well curated, often featuring Asian as well...
ShugoArts - Art gallery: Roppongi
[Open 11am-7pm. Closed Sundays, Mondays, holidays.]
This influential gallery represents artists Ilya Kabakov, Jan Fable, Tomoko Yoneda, and Naofumi Maruyama. The relatively spacious two-room gallery is located in the "complex 665" gallery building, along with Tomio Koyama and Taka Ishii. All three...
Terrada Art Complex - Art gallery: Tennozu Isle
[Open 11am-6pm (Fri -8pm). Closed Sundays, Mondays, holidays.]
By assembling several major galleries in one massive warehouse space, Terrada Art Complex has rather successfully pursued their mission of "making Tennoz Isle into a hub of artistic culture." The complex is now an important stop on any contemporary...
Tokyo Wonder Site Hongo - Art gallery: Ochanomizu
[Open 11am-7pm. Closed Mondays.]
Sponsored by the Tokyo metropolitan government, this branch of Wonder Site introduces the work of up-and-coming young artists in Tokyo. A diverse selection of art is on display in the three floors of galleries, and there's usually something worth...

Art museums

Hara Museum - Art museum: Shinagawa
[Open 11am-5pm (Wed -8pm). Closed Mondays.]
Originally built in 1938 as a private home for businessman Kunizo Hara, the building was converted to use as a museum in 1979. It plays host to five or six yearly exhibitions of contemporary Japanese and international art, as well as lectures and...
Museum of Contemporary Sculpture - Art museum: Naka-Meguro
[Open 10am-5pm. Closed Mondays.]
The work of 56 contemporary Japanese artists is presented on two indoor floors and four spacious outdoor areas, with over 200 pieces in all. There's a small tearoom inside the museum, although it isn't always open. Admission is free - just sign...
National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo - Art museum: Takebashi
[Open 10am-5pm (Fri -8pm). Closed Mondays.]
One of several museums and other attractions located in Kitanomaru Park just across the moat from the Imperial Palace, MOMAT displays an extensive collection spread out over three floors, and is well worth a visit for those with an interest in art. ...
Taro Okamoto Memorial Museum - Art museum: Omotesando
[Open 10am-6pm (enter until 5:30pm). Closed Tuesdays.]
The artist and sculptor Taro Okamoto is known for his iconic, cartoonish and somewhat surrealist large-scale public sculptures. The museum occupies the space that he used as a studio and residence for fifty years, until his death in 1996. Upstairs...
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.
Tokyo Photographic Art Museum (TOP) - Art museum: Ebisu
[Open 10am-6pm (entry until 5:30pm). Closed Mondays.]
Run by the Tokyo metropolitan government, this first-rate museum showcases both Japanese and international photographers. Around twenty exhibitions a year are held in the museum's three gallery spaces. A branch of Nadiff bookstore, located on the...
Watarium - Art museum: Gaienmae
[Open 11am-7pm (9pm Wed). Closed Mondays.]
The relatively small exhibition space here hosts exhibitions of contemporary artists from around the world. Attached to the museum is an excellent art bookstore called On Sundays.
Yayoi Kusama Museum - Art museum: Ushigome-Yanigicho
[Open 11am-5pm. Closed Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays.]
Best known internationally for her prolific work with orange polka dots, the avant-garde sculptor, painter and novelist Yayoi Kusama now has a new museum (as of October 2017) devoted to her work and life. There's a lot to see, with closely packed...

Art galleries

Ando Gallery - Art gallery: Kiyosumi-Shirakawa
[Open 11am-7pm. Closed Sundays, Mondays, holidays.]
This small one-room gallery puts on some interesting shows and installations from their roster of Japanese and international artists. It's worth checking out for a few minutes if you're making a coffee pilgrimage to the Allpress Espresso Roastery...
Artcomplex Center of Tokyo - Art gallery: Shinanomachi
[Open 11am-8pm. Closed Mondays.]
Founded in 2007, this community-oriented art complex comprises six gallery spaces, including a very large basement area. Not all the galleries are open all the time, and not all the exhibitions are equally polished, but there's usually something...
BankArt Studio NYK - Art gallery: Yokohama Bashamichi
[Open 10am-7pm. Closed Thursdays.]
Probably the most important center for contemporary art in Yokohama, the massive BankArt Studio space is run by the government-supported BankArt 1929 arts program as a venue for exhibitions, theatrical and musical performances, and educational...
Cashi - Art gallery: Bakurocho
[Open 11am-7pm. Closed Mon, Tue, Wed.]
One of our favorite galleries in the thriving Bakurocho area, Cashi (the name means "fahrenheit") represents a diverse range of up-and-coming Japanese artists working in a variety of styles, and often puts on group shows. Founded in 2008, the...
Design Festa Gallery - Art gallery: Harajuku
[Open 11am-8pm daily.]
Sprouting out of the backstreets of Harajuku like some bargain-basement Pompidou Centre is the Design Festa Gallery. If not Tokyo's most avant-garde art space, the gallery - an offshoot of Design Festa (Japan's biggest art and design event, held...
Eitoeiko - Art gallery: Kagurazaka
[Open noon-7pm. Closed Sundays, Mondays.]
Since its debut at the Tokyo Contemporary Art Fair in 2009, the mission of this small gallery has been to showcase work that "treads the boundary between art and non-art," representing an interesting group of both international and Japanese artists....
Eye of Gyre - Art gallery: Harajuku
[Open 11am-8pm daily.]
This small two-room gallery located next to the MOMA Store specializes in contemporary Japanese art, and it's generally worth checking out if you happen to be passing by.
Gallerie Le Monde - Art gallery: Harajuku
[Open noon-8pm (Sun -5pm). Closed Mondays.]
This compact Harajuku gallery is devoted to showcasing the work of Japanese illustrators, and there are generally fresh new shows every week. Much of the work is quite affordably priced, and there are usually postcards and other goods for sale as...
Gallery Niw - Art gallery: Edogawabashi
[Open 10am-6pm. Closed Mondays.]
This small, three-room rental gallery has frequent short-running group shows of up-and-coming Japanese artists and art students. Although the space is small, there are a number of other galleries in the immediate neighborhood, so this can be one...
Hiromart Gallery - Art gallery: Edogawabashi
[Open 1-7pm. Closed Mondays, Tuesdays.]
This local gallery puts on regular shows of up-and-coming international artists in their compact one-room exhibition space. It can be combined with visits to the nearby Gallery Niw and other galleries in neighborhing Kagurazaka, but you might want...
Kanzan Gallery - Art gallery: Bakurocho
[Open 11am-7:30pm. Closed Mondays.]
Produced by the Japan Photo Arts Society, Kanzan puts on exhibitions of contemporary photography and other art. They have different guest curators for each show in order to present work from a variety of different perspectives. And be sure to...
Makii Masaru Fine Arts - Art gallery: Asakusabashi
[Open noon-7pm. Closed Mondays.]
With multiple small showrooms spread out over two rather compact floors, Makii Masuru is a bit more spacious than most of the galleries in the area, and hosts some interesting group shows of international artists. They're located just north of the...
Megumi Ogita Gallery - Art gallery: Ginza
[Open 11am-7pm. Closed Sundays, Mondays, holidays.]
Manga, anime, toys and other aspects of pop culture are the inspiration for many of the shows at this international gallery. The exhibition area is comfortably spacious and can accommodate fairly large shows. As with all independent galleries,...
Nadiff a/p/a/r/t - Bookstore: Ebisu
[Open noon-8pm daily.]
A well-stocked bookstore specializing in contemporary art, photography, architecture and design. After you're done browsing here you can drop in to three or four small contemporary-art galleries that share the building with the bookstore.
SCAI the Bathhouse - Art gallery: Taito-ku
[Open noon-7pm. Closed Sun, Mon.]
Occupying a renovated 200-year-old bathhouse, this cutting-edge gallery represents some of Japan's best-known contemporary artists. The space itself is fairly small, so it's best to combine a visit here with other sights in the neighborhood. Also...
Taka Ishii Gallery - Art gallery: Roppongi
[Open 11am-7pm. Closed Sundays, Mondays, holidays.]
One of Tokyo's better-known contemporary art galleries, Taka Ishii occupies the third floor of the "complex 665" gallery building in Roppongi. The gallery also regularly publishes art books showcasing their broad roster of artists, and participates...
Tomio Koyama Gallery - Art gallery: Roppongi
[Open 11am-7pm. Closed Sundays, Mondays, holidays.]
This major gallery represents over fifty Japanese and international artists, and occupies an important place in the Japanese contemporary art scene. Represented artists include Benjamin Butler, Atsushi Fukui, Ryan McGinley, Mika Ninagawa, Yoko Ono,...
Vacant - Art gallery: Harajuku
[Open 1-8pm. Closed Mondays.]
Exhibitions here vary widely in content, but tend toward the edgy, underground end of the spectrum. The space is also used for live music and other events. On the ground floor is a bar-cafe with a vegetarian menu and a big shop area selling...

Other venues

ICC (Inter Communication Center) - Attraction: Hatsudai
[Open noon-5pm. Closed Mondays.]
ICC explores the interface between electronic technology and the arts with varying degrees of success. Some of the installations here seem more like cool toys than groundbreaking art, but there's always some fun stuff to look at and play with.
Pit Inn - Jazz club: Shinjuku
[Open 2:30-5, 7:30-10:30pm daily.]
It may be smoky and cramped, but you can hear some of the most interesting local and international jazz in town here.
SuperDeluxe - Event space: Nishi-Azabu
[Open 8pm-2am daily.]
SuperDeluxe have established themselves as a center for experimental music, performance and art, with interesting events scheduled for nearly every night of the week. The monthly event called PechaKucha is especially worth checking out - it's a...

Art bookstores

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 5 - Bookstore: Hatsudai
[Open 10:45am-7pm (Fri, Sat -8pm). Closed Mondays.]
Run by the NADiff chain of art bookstores, Gallery 5 serves as the museum shop for the Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery. In addition to art books they also carry an interesting selection of experimental music as well as arty toys.
Gallery Ma - Art gallery: 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...
Lixil Gallery - Art gallery: Kyobashi
[Open 10am-6pm. Closed Wednesdays.]
Lixil is the biggest gallery in Tokyo devoted to architecture, urban design and spacially focused artwork installations. Recently the gallery has been hosting collaborative works between well-known architects and visual artists, including a...
Nadiff Modern - Bookstore: Shibuya
[Open 10am-9pm daily.]
Domestic and imported art books are the specialty at NADiff (the name is short for "New Art Diffusion"), and the collection here covers such diverse genres as photography, architecture, film, theater and music. The shop is attached to the art...
Nadiff a/p/a/r/t - Bookstore: Ebisu
[Open noon-8pm daily.]
A well-stocked bookstore specializing in contemporary art, photography, architecture and design. After you're done browsing here you can drop in to three or four small contemporary-art galleries that share the building with the bookstore.
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.
Shimada Yosho - Bookstore: Omotesando
[Open 11am-8pm daily.]
Despite its ultra-fashionable location nestled among high-priced clothing shops, Shimada feels like a comfortable, old-style browsing bookstore, with narrow aisles and towering shelves piled high with gorgeous large-format coffee-table-suitable...