Museums and Galleries 博物館
Japanese art, history and curiosities
In Japan, museums and art galleries have captured the hearts of locals and visitors alike. Art is seen as a shared meditation or contemplative immersion. From the most prestigious cultural institutions to unusual gems, Japan boasts several hundred museums.
With a history spanning several millennia, Japan is undeniably a land of culture. Through the remnants of a rich ancestral tradition and an abundance of contemporary creativity, the country's many museums and galleries offer an artistic panorama as diverse as it is captivating, where the ancient and the modern exist in harmony.
Despite a long economic winter, from the bursting of the financial bubble in 1991 to the Fukushima tragedy of March 11, 2011, which led to major budget cuts, not a year has passed in Japan without the inauguration of a museum with bold, innovative architecture or a new venue showcasing contemporary works or pieces of folk art representing the mingei (arts of ordinary people) spirit.
In Japan, major exhibitions are funded by the Japanese media, not by a Ministry of Culture. In addition to national museums and institutions, prefectures, municipalities, private foundations, collectors and generous patrons all participate in the Japanese art scene, constantly striving to showcase the splendors of yesterday and today, from here and abroad.
A thematic selection of museums and galleries in Japan
Traditional or contemporary art museums, history museums, train museums, bonsai museums or beer museums - in Japan, everything is a pretext for highlighting an aspect of culture or the arts. Here's a selection of museums and galleries to visit in Japan!
Museums of Traditional Japanese Art:
- The National Museum (Tokyo) - North of Ueno Park, it is home to the world's richest collection of Japanese art.
- The National Museum (Kyoto) - Specializing in Japanese Antiquity and pre-imperial Japan, its collection is a must-see.
- The National Museum (Nara) - Nara being Japan's first permanent capital (710-784), this museum recalls the extensive history of the city and the country.
- Suntory Museum of Art (Tokyo) - Dedicated to Japan's cultural heritage, this museum offers a glimpse of everyday Japanese life over thousands of years.
- The National Museum (Kyushu) - The fourth and last national museum, opened 2 centuries after the first 3, traces Japan from the Palaeolithic to the Edo period (1603-1868).
- Adachi Art Museum (Yasugi) - Museum of traditional Japanese arts, renowned for its magnificent garden, voted Japan's most beautiful garden year after year.
- Miho Museum (Kyoto) - A museum dedicated to oriental arts, in a building of exceptional architecture, lost in the middle of nature.
Museums of Modern and Contemporary Art :
- Mori Art Museum (Tokyo) - A contemporary art gallery perched atop a skyscraper in Tokyo's Roppongi Hills.
- Naoshima Island - An island in the Inland Sea, entirely dedicated to contemporary art, with seven spaces and open-air sculptures.
- Chôkoku no Mori Open-Air Museum (Hakone) - A walk through more than a hundred modern and contemporary sculptures set in a natural setting.
- Museum of the 21st Century (Kanazawa) - A complex of impressive volumes, renowned for its contemporary artworks and trompe-l'oeil swimming pool.
- MOMAT, Tokyo Museum of Modern Art - More than nine thousand works showcase Japanese and international modern art, particularly avant-garde movements.
- Hiroshima Museum of Contemporary Art - Works by national and international artists are exhibited in Japan's first public museum of contemporary art, housed in a sublime, atypical building.
- 21_21 Design Sight (Tokyo) - Japan's leading design museum, both for its exhibitions and the architecture of the building itself.
Historical and Cultural Art Museums :
- Hiroshima Peace Memorial - A memorial to the victims of the Atomic Bomb that fell on the city on August 6, 1945.
- Edo-Tokyo Museum - A sublime museum retracing the history of Japan's capital through the centuries, with reproductions, models and other works.
- Okinawa Prefectural Museum (Naha) - Part History Museum, part Art Museum, this museum showcases the rich history of the Okinawa archipelago, including its past as the Ryukyu Islands.
- Yokohama History Museum - Dedicated to the history of Yokohama, the museum also features collections on Japanese history.
- Shizuoka Prefectural Museum of Art - Nestled high above Japan's iconic landscapes, this museum focuses on landscape art through the ages.
International Art Museums and Cultural Exchange:
- Tokyo National Art Center - Japan's largest museum, its 14,000m² are divided between contemporary art and spaces dedicated to various international exhibitions.
Unusual museums :
- The Ghibli Museum (Tokyo) - For fans of Hayao Miyazaki's animated films and the famous Japanese studio.
- Sapporo Beer Museum - The capital of the island of Hokkaido is also a famous beer brand with its own museum!
- Iga Ninja Museum - Shuriken, tricks and traps of all kinds: discover the secret techniques of the ninjas!
- Ômiya Railway Museum - All about railroads and the history of trains in Japan.
Must-see art galleries in Japan:
- Kaikai Kiki Gallery (Tokyo) - Located in the heart of Tokyo, it highlights the work of Takashi Murakami in particular, but also that of new emerging Japanese and international artists.
- Toto Gallery Ma (Tokyo) - Founded by the Toto Company, Japan's largest toilet manufacturer, the gallery is intended as a space to highlight young architects and designers.
Museums and Art Galleries
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