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Modern Art Galleries in the Tokyo Metro

Like many other cities in the world, Tokyo offers some of the most spectacular modern art museums. It can rival that of New York or Paris in terms of its artwork collection and can be enjoyed at relatively inexpensive costs compared to those in other cities.

Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo

The Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (or MOT) is the first art museum in Tokyo dedicated to the preservation and study of contemporary art and was established in March 1995 near the Sumida River. While art promotion and preservation has been done at other museums in Tokyo, none had focused solely on the post-WWII era art, and as of now holds an impressive 5400 art pieces and over 27,000 literatures on contemporary art. Like many museums in Tokyo, the MOT hosts seasonal exhibitions that rotate each quarter, and architectural elegance of the facility is already worthy of a visit to this modern museum. Access to MOT is about 40 minutes on foot or 10 minutes by taxi from the hotel. Like many museums in Tokyo, it’s closed on Mondays usually, unless there is a national holiday on Monday, in which case they are closed on the following Tuesday (check here for closed days). Open 10:00am to 6:00pm with last admission 30 minutes prior to closing.

Hara Museum

Hara Museum of Contemporary Art opened in 1979 as one of the specialized museum in Tokyo area. The main building was designed by Jin Watanabe, who was the main architect of Tokyo National Museum and Ginza Wako (the main building in Ginza crossing with the clock), and was completed in 1938. It’s exhibits are seasonal with different displays during different times, and should check this page for the actual exhibits presented today. One thing to note, the Hara Museum is scheduled to close in December of 2020 (but the annex building Hara Museum ARC will continue operation), thus if you want to see the beautiful 1930s architecture that survived WWII and is still present, you better make that trip sooner than later! Hara Museum is open six days a week, and is closed on Mondays (unless it’s a national holiday). You can check the open dates here, and is open from 11:00am to 5:00pm with last admission 30 minutes prior to closing. Access from the hotel is about 45 minutes by train.

Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery

Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery is a contemporary museum located inside the Tokyo Opera City building in Shinjuku. It opened its doors in 1999, and is connected with the Hatsudai station. The museum features special exhibitions 4 times a year, but its permanent exhibits focus on emerging Japanese artists of the modern times as wished by the one of the main artists exhibited in the halls of the Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery, Mr. Tatsuoki Nambata. The gallery features some 2500 works collected by Mr. Kotaro Terada, one of the original operators of Tokyo Opera City. As with other art museums, Mondays are closed (except on national holidays) and is open from 11:00am to 7:00pm with last admission 30 minutes prior to closing. Access from the hotel is 50 minutes by train.

Watari Museum of Contemporary Art

Watari Museum of Contemporary Art (also known as Watari-um) is considered one of the top three art institutions in Japan in the field of contemporary visual arts, alongside Mori Arts Center and the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa. The museum is located in Shibuya, and was designed by Mari Botta, Swiss architect famous for designing other buildings such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Bechtler Museum of Modern Art in Charlotte, NC. It’s collection features both international and domestic works of art and particularly photographic and cinematographic fields. The museum is located a few minutes off the Gaienmae subway station and is closed on Mondays. The museum is open between 11:00am and 7:00pm with extended hours on Wednesday until 9:00pm. Access from the hotel is about 40 minutes by subway.

Tokyo Photographic Art Museum

Tokyo Photographic Art Museum is an art museum located inside the Ebisu Garden Place near the Ebisu JR Station. The museum opened its doors in 1995 at the current location with the goal of enhancing the art and culture of photography. Since then, the museum has not only served as a venue to showcase all aspects of photography, but also as a place to collect and preserve photography, as well as popularizing photography through workshops and other participatory activities. There are 4 floors at the gallery, each hosting a different exhibition at any given time. Unfortunately, photography and videography is prohibited, so please enjoy the museum with your eyes and mind. The museum is closed on Mondays (except when it’s a national holiday) and open between 10:00am and 6:00pm (with extended hours on Thursdays and Fridays until 8:00pm). Access from the hotel is about 45 minutes by train.