Get to know the incredible contemporary art museums in the land of the rising sun

Tokyo, culturally is comparable to the metropolises of New York, London and Paris, which makes Japan a fascinating destination for all art lovers. In this article we show you the top 5 contemporary art museums in Japan that you have to visit, where they offer a huge variety of world-class exhibitions and collections.

Read also: Art from another perspective: the most bizarre art museums of all time


Image credit: Mori Art Museum

Considered the world’s tallest contemporary art museum, the Mori Art Museum is located atop a tower consisting of 54 stories. Advocating the motto: “Each of the world’s diverse cultures should be given equal importance,” its exhibitions are devoted to contemporary art from around the world, not just Japanese culture. This museum also supports talented young professionals by organizing “MAM Projects” that commit to this.


Image Credit: Suntory Museum of Art

We are talking about a contemporary art museum with different dimensions from the others presented here, it is a small but very powerful institution. The Suntory Museum of Art is located in a modernist Japanese building designed by internationally acclaimed architect Kengo Kuma. This museum is very important in the Japanese art industry as it does not hold permanent exhibitions, and many of its exhibited works focus on exploring art in everyday life and finding connections between ancient art and modern art, eastern art to western art, across boundaries of time, place and culture.


Image Credit: Tokyo National Museum

Considered the oldest contemporary art museum, founded in 1872, the Tokyo National Museum is one of the most important museums in Japan. Dedicated to collecting and exhibiting historical artworks and antiquities from Japan and Asia, visits here are very important for travelers interested in the long history behind Japanese art. The museum is a key institution for research and academic work, and organizes various educational programs for people of all ages.


Image Credit: Hakone Open Air

This contemporary art museum explores one of the most fundamental components in Japanese culture, the seasons. Hakone Open Air explores the relationship between nature and art through outdoor exhibitions in a 70,000 square meter area. It exhibits a wide range of modern sculptures, internationally renowned works by Rodin, Bourdelle, Miro and Moore. In addition, a collection of works by Picasso, as well as one of the largest collections of pieces by English sculptor Henry Moore make this museum an artistic paradise.


Image Credit: Nara National Museum

Nara was the capital of Japan from 710 to 784 AD, and its beautiful temples and sites attract culture-hungry tourists all year round. This contemporary art museum is surrounded by some of these beautiful structures, such as Tōdai-ji Temple, Kofuku-ji Temple, and Kasuga Taisha Temple, and the museum houses an eminent collection of artworks and artifacts that reveal the history of Buddhism. art. Focusing on researching Buddhist art, history, and culture, guests can also attend lectures, temporary and permanent exhibitions, and the inspiring Buddhist Art Library.

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