10 Exhibitions To See This Month In and Near Tokyo

Our guide to the must-see exhibitions for lovers of art, history and culture

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After months of refraining from attending any public events, our guess is that you might be missing the vibrant Tokyo art and culture scene — at least a tiny bit. The good news is that galleries and museums have gradually started to organize various new and exciting events while taking the utmost measures to ensure visitors’ safety and social distance. So if you’re craving some art and culture in your life, here are ten of the capital’s most exciting exhibitions happening this month.

1. Banksy: Genius or Vandal?

Most of Banksy’s works are ephemeral – but a group of collectors has assembled over 70 of his works, including illustrations and 3D objects. This collection of Banksy’s controversial and ever-gripping works have circulated through Saint Petersburg, Hong Kong and Madrid. The currently ongoing Yokohama exhibition will include famous works like “GIRL WITH BALLOON” and the RAT series, as well as installations that simulate the artist’s working environment and the Walled Off Hotel in Palestine. The exhibition is taking infection prevention measures to ensure the safety of visitors and staff.

Until: Sep. 27, 2020
Where: Asobuild 2-14-19 Takashima, Nishi-ku, Yokohama. Map
Admission: ¥1,200-¥1,800. For further ticketing information and for timed entry tickets, click here. For more information on the exhibitions, see here.

2. Oishii Ukiyo-e: The Roots of Japanese Cuisine

Discover the history of Japanese cuisine and culture through classic Edo Era artworks. Ukiyo-e woodcut prints are known to capture the small and everyday details of Japanese history in their unique and beautiful style. As Japanese food continues to flourish around the world, this exhibition focuses on artworks relating to traditional cuisine and cooking as well as presenting recipes and photographs of recreated dishes. Through the medium of art, explore these historic snapshots of life and discover the facts and flavors of Japanese cuisine, from the farms to the table.

Until: Sep. 13, 2020
Where: Mori Arts Center Gallery, Roppongi Hills Mori Tower, 6-10-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo. Map
Admission: ¥800-¥1,800. For further ticketing information, click here.
Note: To prevent crowds, admissions are accepted by advanced ticket reservations only with a designated date and time. Please book your ticket here.

3. The Ukiyo-e 2020

An extensive exhibition of ukiyo-e woodblock prints comprises over 450 pieces from three magnificent collections. The iconic art movement became popular during the Edo period and cemented itself in Japanese history as a hugely influential and recognizable style which became known all around the world. This exhibition includes works from the Ota Memorial Museum, Japan Ukiyo-e and Hirai Ukiyo-e Foundation, including pieces by legendary masters such as Katsuhika Hokusai.

Until: Sep. 22, 2020
Where: Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Uenokoen 8-36, Taito-ku, Tokyo. Map
Admission: ¥800-¥1,600. For further ticketing information and for timed entry tickets, click here.

Image: Yokoyama Taikan, “Mt. Fuji in Spring”

4. The Lineage of Modern Japanese Art

Following the Meiji restoration, the introduction of Western art had incredible influence over Japanese painting and, in turn, forced Japanese artists to redefine themselves and rebuild a stronger identity. In times of great uncertainty, the paintbrush paved the way for innovation, and, today, these traces remain unfazed. Offering approximately 40 works from the Meiji to the Showa period (1868-1989), this exhibition is an opportunity to see the works of key painters who marked their names in the history of modern Japanese art, all in one place.

Until: Sep. 22, 2020
Where: Kashima Arts, 3-3-2 Kyobashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo. Map
Admission: Free! For further information, click here.

©Paule Saviano

5. Embrace – Paule Saviano

An exhibition of photography exploring gender identity and the lives of transgender and gender-nonconforming people. New York-based photographer Paule Saviano began his ongoing “Embrace” project in 2016, aiming to spread awareness of transgender issues and to document the diverse lives and experiences of transgender, intersex and gender-non conforming people from around the world. Held at Gallery EF in Asakusa, the exhibition features Saviano’s intimate and moving portraits alongside statements and stories from the subjects. You can read more about Paule Saviano and the Embrace series in our full article from earlier this year.

Until: Oct. 25, 2020
Where: Gallery EF, 2-19-18 Kaminarimon, Taito City, Tokyo. Map  
Admission: Free! For further information, click here.

Image: ©KLMircea via Flickr under CC

6. Hello From the Countries of the World

Discover the culture, lifestyle and landscape of each country through the medium of postage stamps. The latest special exhibition at the Philatelic Museum (Museum of postage stamps) near Meijiro takes you on a trip around the world. Through the intricate designs and beautiful illustrations on the vast collection of stamps on display, we can explore different cultures and learn about everything from historic national traditions to local cuisine and famous landmarks.

Until: Nov. 22, 2020
Where: Philatelic Museum, 1-4-23 Mejiro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo. Map
Admission: ¥200 (Adults). For further information, click here.

Image: Yayoi Kusama, Pink Boat, 1992, Stuffed sewn fabric, boat, pair-oar, 90 x 350 x 180 cm, Collection: Nagoya City Art Museum

7. Stars: Six Contemporary Artists from Japan to the World

For this exhibition, the museum showcases six artists whose careers propelled them beyond the confines of Japan during this period, earning them high acclaim around the world and across generations. Stars explores how the practice of each artist has been evaluated in the global context, and touches upon these artists’ pursuit of universal issues transcending nationality and culture; traditions and aesthetics; technology and subculture, while keeping in mind aspects of social, cultural and economic background unique and particular to Japan. Read our exhibition review here.

Until: Jan. 03, 2021
Where: Mori Art Museum, Roppongi 6-10-1, Minato-ku, Tokyo. Map
Admission: ¥600-¥1,800. For further ticketing information and for timed entry tickets, click here.

Image: Yayoi Kusama, Song of a Manhattan Suicide Addict, 2010, Video projection, mirrors, Dimensions variable, 1’17”, © YAYOI KUSAMA

8. Yayoi Kusama – ‘The Vision of Fantasy’

From Yayoi Kusama comes the latest exhibition, The Vision of Fantasy That We Have Never Seen Is This Splendor. As Kusama began her artistic career at a young age, drawing her hallucinations to overcome her fears of them. These early visions and her expansive inner world have come to shape – indeed, dominate – her art. The Vision of Fantasy collection spans much of her long career, from her latest and wildly popular canvas series My Eternal Soul to her equally famous immersive installations to never-before-seen works. From these we get a sense of the present state of her visions, which transcribe some of the older, previously fearful motifs onto scenes of ecstasy.

Until: Mar. 29, 2021
Where: Yayoi Kusama Museum, 107 Bentencho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo. Map
Admission: Adults ¥1100, Children ¥600. All tickets must be purchased online in advance. You may only enter during your 90-minute slot. Tickets go on sale here on the 1st of each month.

9. Masterpieces From the Royal National Gallery London

A large-scale exhibition of incredible masterpieces from the collection of the National Gallery in London. The National Gallery is known for its stunning collection of European paintings, which will now be shown outside of the museum for the first time in its 200 year history. Art lovers in Tokyo (and later Osaka) have a rare chance to get up close with many world renowned pieces from the Renaissance to the post-Impressionist period. The exhibition features 61 paintings including works by Vermeer, Rembrandt and Van Gogh’s legendary “Sunflower,” all making their way to Japan for the first time.

Until: Oct. 18, 2020
Where: National Museum of Western Art, 7-7 Uenokoen, Taito City, Tokyo. Map
Admission: Adults ¥700-¥1700, Children ¥600. For further ticketing information and for timed entry tickets, click here.

10. Yuki Onodera: From Where

Yuki Onodera has been a renowned photographer in the art scene for more than 20 years. It all started back in 1995 when she showcased a series of vintage cloth-ing portraits in black and white. This exhibition’s success led to decades of experimental photography, with some of her works even catching the eye of Frenchsculptor Christian Boltanski. Onodera’s photographs open the door to infinite interpretations, from the cycle of life and death to fashion and personal identity.Works from her 1995 exhibition will be displayed in Tokyo on the occasion of the quarter-century anniversary of the artist’s career, selected by Onodera herself.

Until: Nov. 29, 2020
Where: The Ginza Space, B2F-5-9-15 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo. Map
Admission: Free! For further information, click here.

Please note that any of these events may be postponed or canceled in accordance with ongoing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.


Looking for other events? Check put our Event Page!

Featured image by JoyImage / Shutterstock

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