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Tokyo's Best
Art and Design Galleries + Museums


With an abundance of art and design seemingly at every corner, Tokyo is always good for a surprise with unusual novelties and stunning traditions. Start at the Suntory Museum of Art and Nezu Museum for traditional fine arts, and work you way through to teamLab’s immsersive digital art exhibitions, 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT or the Yayoi Kusama Museum, and get inspired by some of the best art and design that Japan has to offer. 

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Suntory Museum of Art  | Roppongi




Housed on the 3rd floor of majestic Tokyo Midtown in Roppongi and designed by famed architect Kengo Kuma, Suntory Museum of Art consistently wows with extraordinary thematic exhibitions. Having housed exhbitions on art from Okinawa, Japanese fans, or a selection of Hiroshige’s acclaimed woodblock prints; Suntory Museum of Art is perhaps one of Japan’s most beautifully designed museums focusing on traditional fine arts. 

Tip: When you are in the area, don’t forget to also visit the nearby 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT for a glimpse into Tokyo’s contemporary design and photography world.

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Admission fee varies, ¥1,300~ for adults
︎closed on Tuesdays, New Year’s Day and exhibition preparation periods
︎3F, Tokyo Midtown Galleria, Roppongi
︎Google Maps
︎Website

Left: Inside Suntory Museum of Art
Center
: Satsuma cut-glass boat-shaped bowl with indigo-blue overlay, 19th century, Suntory Museum of Art
Right: Marrymaking at a Maison (detail), 17th century, Suntory Museum of Art



Nezu Museum  | Aoyama




Nestled in the avant-garde neighborhood of Aoyama, Nezu Museum (also designed by Kengo Kuma) houses not only some of Tokyo’s most beautiful collections of traditional fine arts, but also one of the city’s most stunning Japanese gardens, which is a must-see when visiting the museum.   

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¥1,100~ for adults
︎closed on Mondays
︎6-5-1 Minamiaoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo
︎Google Maps
︎Website

Left: Approach from the Main Gate
Center: Writing Box known as Hana-no-Shirakawa
Right: Garden Autumn

Images courtesy of Nezu Museum



Yayoi Kusama Museum  | Waseda




Following her exploding international success in recent years, Japan’s most famous female avant-garde artist has finally received her very own museum, nestled in a quiet neighborhood between Waseda and Kagurazaka. Make sure to buy your tickets well in advance online (no tickets available on the day) and enjoy the small but impressive thematic exhibitions of Kusama’s lifework.

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¥1,000 for adults (tickets must be bought online well in advance)
︎Opening days: Thursdays to Sundays and National Holidays All tickets must be purchased in advance online.

*Entry is timed and only valid for a specific 90 minute time-slot.
*Tickets go on sale at 10am (Japan Time) on the first day of each month for entry in the month after next.
*Door tickets are not available
*Tickets can be purchased only through the museum’s website.

︎107 Bentencho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
︎Google Maps
︎Website

Left: Yayoi Kusama Museum, Photo by Kawasumi-Kobayashi Kenji Photograph Office
Center: Rooftop Gallery *not permanent
Right: 4F Gallery Installation Infinity Mirrors, *not permanent


Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo  | Omotesando




A free exhibition space courtesy of fashion giant Louis Vuitton, Espace is located on the 7th floor of Louis Vuitton store and boasts one of Tokyo’s most sublime locations and views over the chic Omotesando neighborhood. The gallery, which was designed by famed Japanese architect Jun Aoki, exhibits contemporary art from the collections of Fondation Louis Vuitton including sculptures, video installations, photography, sound pieces and more, featuring up-and-coming as well as more established artists.

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Free
︎7F Louis Vuitton Omotesando Store
︎Google Maps
︎Website

Left: Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo ©Louis Vuitton / Daici Ano
Center: La Bocca Sur Zanker, 2005, Bertrand Lavier ©Adagp, Paris 2018
Right: Pénétrable BBL Bleu, 1999, ed. Avila 2007, Jesús Rafael Soto, Exhibition View at Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo, ©Adagp, Paris 2018,
Photo Credit: Jérémie Souteyrat / Louis Vuitton


Photos courtesy of Fondation Louis Vuitton


21_21 DESIGN SIGHT | Roppongi




Built by legendary architect Tadao Ando, 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT should be on the must-visit list of any design, architecture and photography lover. Having recently housed a marvelously designed exhibition on 20th century photographer William Klein, the space has also exhbited work on Frank Gehry, audio architecture and works by designer Issey Miyake. In addition to its exhibitions, 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT also hosts talks, workshops and more, with the aim of giving the audience a more multidirectional experience of design.

Tip: When you are in the area, don’t forget to also stop by the nearby Suntory Museum of Art inside Tokyo Midtown, for inspiration from Japan’s old masters.

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¥1,100 for adults
︎closed on Tuesdays
︎ Midtown Garden, Tokyo Midtown, 9-7-6 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo
︎Google Maps
︎Website

Left: 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT, photo by Masaya Yoshimura
Center: NEW PLANET PHOTO CITY - William Klein and Photographers Living in the 22nd Century - Exhibition (2018 / Photo: Masaya Yoshimura)
Right: MINGEI - Another Kind of Art Exhibition (2019 / Photo: Masaya Yoshimura)



Tokyo Photographic Art Museum | Ebisu





The big name in Tokyo’s photography scene, Tokyo Photographic Art Museum hosts exhibitions on contemporary Japanese photography, as well as competition exhibitions of World Press Photo or the New Cosmos of Photography, in addition to various independent film and short film festivals. Solo and group shows of well established names such as Araki, Hiroshi Sugimoto or Rinko Kawauchi make for an exciting medley of Japanese and international photographic works.

The lovely book store run by NADiff offers a great finish to the museum visit for those interested in photography and art books.

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Admission fee varies, ¥500~ for adults, some exhibits free.
︎closed on Mondays, except when Monday falls on a holiday, in which case the museum is open and closed the following day.
︎Yebisu Garden Place, 1-13-3 Mita Meguro-ku Tokyo
︎Google Maps
︎Website

Left: Tokyo Photographic Art Museum
Center and Right: Shiga Lieko, From the series Human Spring, "I can see it in him" 2019, Collection of the Artist © Lieko Shiga



The National Art Center, Tokyo | Roppongi




The National Art Center, Tokyo in Roppongi is one of Tokyo’s bigwigs of modern and contemporary art, having housed huge shows from world-renown artists such as Yayoi Kusama, Picasso, Cezanne, Monet and Dalì - just to name a few. Although big shows usually require a ticket, there are sometimes exhibitions that can be seen for free, or you could opt to enjoy a coffee and dessert at the café on the 2nd floor and take in the building’s cosmopolitan atmosphere thanks to the talent of celebrated architect Kisho Kurokawa.  

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Admission fee varies, ¥1,600~ for adults, some exhibits free.
︎closed every Tuesday
︎7-22-2 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo
︎Google Maps
︎Website

Left: The National Art Center, Tokyo
Center: "Koinobori Now! Installation by Reiko Sudo, Adrien Gardère and Seiichi Saito" The National Art Center, Tokyo, 2018, Photo: Ken KATO
Right: "Leiko Ikemura Our Planet - Earth & Stars" Installation View 2019 The National Art Center, Tokyo Photo: Daisuke Shima



Mori Art Museum  | Roppongi




Another example of a big player in Tokyo’s contemporary art scene, Mori Art Museum consistently hosts some of the city’s biggest art shows, having featured thought-provoking exhibitions on Southeast Asian art, Art from the Arab World and Catastrophe and the Power of Art, as well as solo shows by big names such as Takashi Murakami, Andy Warhol and Ai Wei Wei. 

Before you leave, don’t forget to marvel at the stunning view from Mori Tower’s 52nd and 53rd floor.

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¥1,800 for adults
︎52F/53F, Roppongi Hills Mori Tower, 6-10-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo
︎Google Maps
︎Website

Left: Center Atrium, Photo courtesy: Mori Art Museum, Tokyo
Center: Uncertain Journey by Shiota Chiharu, 2016, Metal frame, red wool, Installation view: Uncertain Journey, Blain | Southern, Berlin, 2016 Photo: Christian Glaeser
Right: datum by Hirakawa Norimichi, 2018, DLP projector, computer, speaker, Dimensions variable, * referential image



Ghibli Museum | Mitaka




Japan perhaps wouldn’t have its esteemed place in present-day pop culture if it hadn’t been for the international success of its anime industry. Studio Ghibli, the animation powerhouse responsible for worldwide sensations such as Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke or My Neighbor Totoro, is perhaps Japan’s most celebrated animation studio of feature-length films, and it comes as no surprise that the studio also boasts its very own museum, located in the Mitaka neighborhood of western Tokyo. Learn more about how Studio Ghibli’s most famous characters came to life, climb the fluffy cat bus, see special animated short films and dive into the mystical world of Studio Ghibli, which has inspired millions of people, young and old.   

Note: Tickets can only be bought in advance and for a specific date/time via Lawson convenience stores in Japan, Lawson Ticket online or JTB Group locations overseas. It is adviced to buy tickets well in advance. 

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¥1,000~ for adults (Tickets can only be bought in advance, at Lawson convenience stores, online or through JTB Group overseas)
︎closed on Tuesdays
︎1-1-83 Shimorenjaku, Mitaka-shi, Tokyo
︎Google Maps
︎Website

CenterJosh Delp via flickr under CC
RightWalter Lim via flickr under CC



Ginza Graphic Gallery | Ginza




Since its opening 30 years ago, Ginza Graphic Gallery (ggg) has already exhibited more than 300 monthly shows featuring some of Japan’s best graphic artists and international talents. It also hosts the yearly Tokyo Art Directors Club and Tokyo Type Directors Club competition exhibition, including winners of type, poster and book design categories.

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Free
︎closed on Sundays
︎DNP Ginza Building, 7-7-2, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Toky
︎Google Maps
︎Website

Right: Image via Ginza Graphic Gallery



teamLab Borderless, teamLab Planets  | Odaiba and Toyosu




With their unmissable presence all over social media caused by über-instagrammable installations, teamLab’s digital art exhibitions Borderless (Odaiba) and Planets (Toyosu) are hot contenders for the city’s most FOMO-evoking art experiences. The steep ticket fee will buy you not just an entry into a selfie paradise, but may also give us a glimpse of what the art of the future could one day look like. Beware of the insta-hungry crowds that flood this place even on weekdays, that you might have to queue for some of the main areas inside, and the general superficiality of the whole experience, so if you are looking for curated art exhibitions with deeper concepts then perhaps this might not be the right place for you.  

Note: Be sure to buy tickets well in advance through their website, as no tickets are sold on the day.

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Borderless:¥3,200 for adults
Planets: ¥2,400-3,200 for adults
︎Borderless closed on Wednesdays
︎Borderless: Palette Town, Aomi 1-3-8, Koto-ku, Tokyo
Planets: 6-1-16 Toyosu, Koto-ku, Tokyo
︎Google Maps (Borderless)
︎Google Maps (Planets)
︎Website

Left and Right: Exhibition view of MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM: teamLab Borderless, 2018, Odaiba, Tokyo © teamLab
Center: The Infinite Crystal Universe 2015-2018, Interactive Installation of Light, Sculpture, LED, Endless, Sound: teamLab
teamLab is represented by Pace Gallery




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