Must-See Japanese Paintings for your Tokyo Itinerary


Must-See Japanese Paintings for your Tokyo Itinerary

by Alicia Joy | TRAVEL  

Yamamoto Shunkyo, Recesses of Shiobara, 1909, National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

Japanese painting is one of the oldest art forms in the world. From ancient yamato-e to surreal modern art, discover some of the most fascinating, beautiful and treasured Japanese paintings in the art museums of Tokyo.


Parting Spring, Japanese Scroll by Kawai Gyokudo

Parting Spring by Kawai Gyokudo (Part 1), 1916, National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

Kawai Gyokudo’s two-part series depicts a scene of late springtime. A river runs through a gorge surrounded by cherry blossoms, and several leisure boats make their way down the currant. Gyokudo was inspired by the Nagatoro Gorge in Saitama Prefecture, just north of Tokyo. The artist paid special attention to the motion of the water and how to accurately translate it onto his painting. “Parting Spring” is a two-part painting depicted on a pair of folding screens. It was finished in 1916 and designated an Important Cultural Property in 1971. Find this painting at the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo.

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Parting Spring by Kawai Gyokudo (Part 2), 1916, National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

How to Get to the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

Name in Japanese: 東京国立近代美術館 (Tōkyō Kokuritsu Kindai Bijutsukan)

Address:   3-1 Kitanomarukoen, Chiyoda, Tokyo

Open: 10:00am-5:00pm, closed on Mondays. See here for more details.

Transport: Two-minute walk from Takebashi Station on the Tozai Line


The Diary of Murasaki Shikibu

Segment of the Murasaki Shikibu Nikki Emaki, Tokyo National Museum

The Murasaki Shikibu Nikki Emaki is a series of picture scrolls created sometime during the 13th century. The story is believed to be based on the real life diary of Murasaki Shikibu, author of the world’s first novel, The Tale of Genji. It is a classical yamato-e, a Japanese painting style popularized during the Heian Period and inspired by China’s Tang Dynasty art. There are only four scrolls remaining from the original complete work, scattered throughout different museums and private collections. In this segment of the paintings owned by the Tokyo National Museum, courtiers celebrate the 50th day after the birth of the future emperor, Imperial Prince Atsuhira-shinno.



How to Get to the Tokyo National Museum

Name in Japanese: 東京国立博物館 (Tokyo Kokuritsu Hakubutsukan)

Address:   13-9 Uenokoen, Taito, Tokyo

Open: 9:30am-5:00pm, 9:00pm on Fridays and Saturdays, closed on Monday. More details here.

Transport: Inside Ueno Park, a 15-minute walk from Ueno Station on the Ginza, Hibiya and Yamanote lines


Japanese Painting takes a Surreal Stroll in this Artwork by Seiji Togo

© Seiji Togo, Surrealistic Stroll, 1929, Seiji Togo Memorial Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Museum of Art

Seiji Togo is a prominent Japanese painter who was active during the early to mid-1900’s. His interest in Futurism, an art movement that influenced Surrealism and Art Deco, is apparent in this 1929 painting, “Surrealistic Stroll”. Although it’s a departure from his usual style, it’s this iconic painting that became the logo of the Seiji Togo Memorial Museum, also known as the Seiji Togo Memorial Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Museum of Art.

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How to Get to the Seiji Togo Memorial Museum

Name in Japanese: 東郷青児記念 損保ジャパン日本興亜美術館 (Togo Seiji Kinen Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Bijutsukan)

Address:   42F, 1-26-1 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo

Open: 10:00am-6:00pm, closed on Monday's. See here for more details.

Transport: Five-minute walk from Nishi-Shinjuku Station on the Marunouchi line.


September 26, 2017 | ArtTravel, Painting, Tokyo