Posted:Jan 19, 2023

Must-See Art Festivals in Japan 2023

Tokyo Art Beat presents a selection of Japan's best art festivals and triennials in 2023. The list will be updated as new information becomes available.

Suzu Theater Museum “Ark of Light” Photo by Keizo Kioku

Study: Osaka Kansai International Art Festival 2023 (Osaka)

The “Study: Osaka Kansai International Art Festival 2023” is a pre-event for the upcoming “Osaka Kansai International Art Festival (TBC)” scheduled to be held in 2025. The festival aims to study the relationship between art and people, art and society, and the possibilities of art. The second edition will introduce 42 artists and curators from Japan and abroad, including Tuan Mami, one of the participants of “documenta fifteen.” In addition to contemporary art, the art fair will also feature vintage Scandinavian furniture and NFT art. Featured artists, curators, and researchers list include Yoichi Ochiai, Akiko Kasuya, Miwa Kutsuna, Yukiko Shikata, Paweł Pachciarek, and Production Zomia (as of December 28).

Venue: Grand Front Osaka, Osaka Prefectural Nakanoshima Library, etc.
Schedule: January 28 - February 13 (Art Fair: February 10 - 12)

Last year's “Study: Osaka Kansai International Art Festival” exhibition view; Work of Kamagasaki University of the Arts Photo by Kohei Matsumura

Extreme Cold Art Festival (Hokkaido)

The 13th “Extreme Cold Art Festival” will take place at Kawayu Onsen in Teshikaga Town, Hokkaido, known as the coldest onsen area in Japan. The main venue is the Yukimori Outdoor Museum, located in an extremely cold forest with temperatures reaching below -15°C. More than 40 contemporary artworks by international artists such as Thomas Kimmerlin, Kuei-Chih Lee, Lua Rivera, Tsuneo Sekiguchi, Jun Homma, and others will be on display. In addition, Showa Yugaku Museum will feature works by Koro Ihara, Mao Shibata, and Daigo Kobayashi. The festival also offers an artist-in-residence program and is currently accepting applications. The details are available on the official website.

Venue: Kawayu Onsen, Teshikaga-cho, Kawakami-gun, Hokkaido
Schedule: February 2 - March 3

Lua Rivera ONIBI 2020

Art Award IN THE CUBE 2023 (Gifu)

“Art Award IN THE CUBE” is held every three years and invites artists to express themselves in a cubic space. Based on the theme of “Where ‘Reality” Goes,” 14 works were selected from nearly 600 entries this year and will be exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts, Gifu. The judjes are Keiichi Irie, Hideo Iwasaki, Akiko Kitamura, Yukiko Shikata, Yoko Terauchi, Yasumasa Morimura, and Juichi Yamagiwa. Related programs, including workshops by chosen artists and lectures by judges, will also be held during the exhibition.

Venue: The Museum of Fine Arts, Gifu
Schedule: April 22 - June 18

Art Award IN THE CUBE 2020 Exhibition view

Tokyo Biennale 2023 (Tokyo)

“Tokyo Biennale” is an international art festival held once every two years in the northeast of Tokyo. The festival’s first edition was postponed due to the pandemic but was successfully held in 2021. Various artworks and performances were displayed on the streets and cultural facilities of the Chiyoda-ku, Chuo-ku, Bunkyo-ku, and Taito-ku. From October 6 to October 30, 2022, the “Tokyo Biennale 2023 Hajimari Exhibition” was held at the Toeizan Kan’eiji temple and Tokyo Dome City as a pre-event preceding the main festival. The exhibition featured works by a wide range of international and domestic artists. More details on the upcoming festival and participating artists will be announced soon.

Venue: Chiyoda-ku, Chuo-ku, Bunkyo-ku, Taito-ku, etc.
Schedule: Second half of 2023 (TBC)

Risaku Suzuki 1868 Photo by Yuka Ikenoya

Oku-Noto Triennale 2023 (Ishikawa)

The “Oku-Noto Triennale” is returning to Suzu City, located at the tip of the Noto Peninsula, for the third time. The previous festival, which was postponed due to the pandemic and held later in the fall of 2021, featured 53 artists from 16 countries and regions. The highlight of this edition is a new café/restaurant space designed by Shigeru Ban, which will be built next to the Suzu Theater Museum. While previous rest spaces were only temporary tents, visitors can enjoy the spectacular view in a more comfortable environment this time. As of December 28, the following artists have been confirmed to participate: Ana Laura Aláez, Shirin Abedinirad, Alexander Ponomarev, N.S. Harsha, SIDE CORE, Hiraki Sawa, Xu Zhen, Shigeru Ban, and Kodue Hibino.

Venue: Suzu City, Ishikawa Prefecture
Schedule: September 2 - October 22

Suzu Theater Museum “Ark of Light” Photo by Keizo Kioku

Nakanojo Biennale (Gunma)

The “Nakanojo Biennale” is an international contemporary art festival held every two years in Nakanojo Town, Gunma Prefecture. The 2021’s edition was held online and on-site under the theme of “-PARAPERCEPTION- From Beyond Perception.” In addition, an exhibition featuring 13 artists who moved to the prefecture after participating in the festival was held from November 19 to December 11, 2022. More details and participating artists will be announced soon.

Venue: Various locations in Nakanojo Town, Gunma Prefecture
Schedule: September 9 - October 9

Art Saitama 2023 (Saitama)

“Art Saitama,” which started in 2016 as “Saitama Triennale,” is scheduled to be held for the third time this autumn. Produced by Takashi Serizawa and directed by the contemporary art unit [mé], the festival will attempt to discover the diverse and intriguing “I” by “looking” at the world from a new perspective. More details and participating artists will be announced soon.

Venue: Former Civic Hall Omiya, etc.
Schedule: October 7 - December 10

Saitama City Photo by [mé]

※ “Yokohama Triennale 2023” was scheduled for December 2023, but due to the postponement of the museum’s renovation, the opening date has been changed to March 2024.

Yugo Asami (Editorial Intern)

Yugo Asami (Editorial Intern)

Born in Chiba in 1999. Intern at the Editorial Department of Tokyo Art Beat since June 2021. Graduate student at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Asa Ito Lab).