Tokyo is one of the greatest cities in the world for art lovers. While many of the 2018 crop of Tokyo exhibitions showcase works by famous artists, from across the world, there is also no better place to enjoy an unrivalled selection of Japanese art. This spring here are three exhibitions in the city, focusing on the art and artists of Japan, that are not to be missed!
1. Sakura, Sakura, Sakura 2018 - Flower Viewing at the Museum
Even if you haven’t been to Japan, you will know that the country is famous for its sakura or cherry blossoms. Living in Japan, you come to appreciate how important the sakura season is to the nation. This exhibition celebrates spring with cherry blossoms depicted through the Japanese style of painting called nihonga.
The pink blossoms are already starting to fall, but you can continue to enjoy the art of Sakura at this spring 2018 exhibition at the Yamatane Museum of Art.
Insider tip: Learn about the exhibition before you go. Check out our Concise Guide to Nihonga, which explains the term, the history, and the unique use of materials and techniques, which helps the viewer better appreciate these beautiful works of art.
When: Until May 6, 2018
Address: 3-12-36 Hiroo, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Hours: 10am to 5pm, closed Mondays.
Access: A 10-minute walk from the West Exit of JR Ebisu Station and from Exit 2 of Ebisu Station on the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line
2. The 150th Anniversary of his Birth: Yokoyama Taikan
The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo has perhaps the world's foremost collection of contemporary Japanese art. This spring 2018, MOMAT presents an anniversary retrospective displaying 90 works by the beloved nihonga artist, Taikan Yokoyama, who is famous for painting over 1,500 pictures of Mount Fuji.
Insider tip: The exhibition ticket includes admission to the museum’s permanent collection on the 2nd to 4th floors. You can also buy a combination ticket that includes the Crafts Gallery, which is a 10-minute walk down the street.
In addition, many museums have rooms or hallways with large windows to sit and enjoy views of the outside world - a sort of visual cleanse. The MOMAT is a great example, whose Room with a View on the 4th floor, overlooks the Imperial Palace grounds.
When: From April 13 to May 27, 2018
Address: 3-1 Kitanomaru-koen, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Hours: 10am to 5pm with late opening until 8pm on Friday and Saturday. Closed Mondays.
Access: A five minute walk from Exit 1b of Takebashi Station, Subway Tozai Line
3. Hiroshige: One Hundred Famous Views of Edo
Tucked away in bustling Harajuku, this Tokyo museum specializes in ukiyo-e, Japanese paintings and more often woodblock prints from the 17th to 19th centuries. The current exhibition features works from the famous series depicting Edo (Tokyo’s former name) by Hiroshige, a late master of ukiyo-e. The museum's Japanese art exhibitions are also a great place to see other famous ukiyoe artists: check out the Best Places to See Hokusai in Tokyo.
Insider tip: These works of art are delicate: the lighting is low and the museum changes the works on display every month. The museum will be closed April 27-30 to switch the works on display from Term I to Term II.
When: Term I: April 1 to 26, Term II: May 1 to 27, 2018
Address: 1-10-10 Jingu-mae Shibuyaku Tokyo
Hours: 10:30am to 5:30pm, closed Mondays. Check here for detailed opening times.
Access: A five-minute walk from the Omotesandoguchi Exit of the Harajuku JR Station or Exit 5 of Meiji-jingumae Metro Station
Have you seen any Japanese art exhibitions this spring that you would like to recommend? Let us know in the comments below!