at Tokyo National Museum
in the Ueno, Yanaka area
This event has ended - (2013-03-19 - 2013-04-12)
in the Ueno, Yanaka area
This event has ended - (2013-03-09 - 2013-03-31)
at Yumiko Chiba Associates | Viewing Room Shinjuku
in the Shinjuku area
This event has ended - (2013-03-22 - 2013-04-13)
While Art Fair Tokyo, G-Tokyo and Roppongi Art Night dominate the art coverage at this time of year, we all know the real stars are the beautiful but short-lasting sakura flowers that are blossoming across Tokyo right now. Here are some art events and venues that can be visited while taking in the sakura at three popular hanami (blossom viewing) locations.
Tokyo’s busiest cherry blossom viewing spot also boasts a number of museums in the vicinity, plus many small galleries in the quiet streets of surrounding Yanaka.
The Tokyo National Museum in Ueno Park has hanami all sorted with its annual “Cherry Blossom Viewing at the Tokyo National Museum,” an exhibition featuring exquisite, sakura-themed art works as well as a host of events held in the museum and its gardens.
There are two major shows specializing in old Masters; see Rafael’s iconic “Madonna and Child” at the National Museum of Western Art, or view the El Greco exhibition at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. At the Ueno Royal Museum, the annual VOCA exhibition is a highly regarded painting competition featuring Japan’s best new talents. To recognize VOCA’s 20th anniversary, the show will also include works by previous winners.
Heading north, one of Yanaka’s newest art spaces is Hagiso, an alternative art space run by graduates from the nearby Tokyo University of the Arts (Geidai). The current exhibition, “Third Life,” is a group show presenting many works by the artists involved in establishing this new cultural hub. Closed on Mondays.
Shinjuku Garden is arguably the best place in Tokyo to set up a picnic under the cherry trees. While the gardens are in the south-east part of Shinjuku, most art spaces in Shinjuku are found to the west of the station.
Yumiko Chiba gallery is showing two of her most interesting artists together in one exhibition. Installation artist and sculptor Yuichi Higashionna and photographer Ryudai Takano have very different practices, but they share a common interest in leaving conceptual and visual traces of the artist within their works. Their print works will be on display at Yumiko Chiba Viewing Room from the 22nd until April 13th. Closed on Sundays and Mondays.
During March, the Nikon Salon Bis (located on the 28th floor of L Tower) will be devoted to graduate exhibitions from Tokyo’s various art universities and colleges. There are bound to be some future stars among the images on show. The venue is closed on the third Sunday of each month.
A little further west, into Hatsudai, Tokyo Opera City’s art gallery holds a grand exhibition of textiles by the Japanese designer Junichi Arai. A must for any fashion lover. The exhibition finishes on March 24th and the gallery is closed on Mondays.
Photographer Mitsuko Nagone challenges the earnest tone of most self-portraiture by taking photos of herself with stuff on her face. The works are on display every day at B Gallery, a gallery inside the Beams store in east Shinjuku until April 4th.
Visitors to Koganei Park in the west of Tokyo go for the cherry blossoms but they also go for the unique and impressive Tokyo-Edo Open Air Architectural Museum, a large park within the park in which visitors can inspect some interesting buildings from Tokyo’s past. From a farmer’s home to an historic bathhouse, this museum has it all.