Japan’s Art & Architecture Hot Spots


It may come as no surprise to many that Japan has a genuine love and appreciation of art and architecture. This appreciation for beauty and artistic spirit can be seen in everything from the grandest art museums to even the local Starbucks designed to showcase the Japanese architectural aesthetic. The challenge is not in finding spectacular structures and awe-inspiring art displays in Japan but rather how to navigate the sheer volume of choices. Fortunately, there is help. Here are just a few excerpts from our compilation guide, “Japan: Traveling Through Art, Design & Architecture.” This comprehensive guide will introduce 99 must-visit art and architecture highlights throughout Japan so you can familiarize yourself with the well known as well as the hidden gems. Be sure to download your copy here: https://partners-pamph.jnto.go.jp/simg/pamph/969.pdf and start planning!


©Ibaraki Prefecture

Art Tower Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture

“Art Tower Mito, a multi-art complex designed by Arata Isozaki consisting of a theatre, a concert hall, and a contemporary art museum, was opened in 1990 as a means of revitalizing the area. Each of the three major facilities has an active programming to promote its respective field. The museum is widely known for its exhibitions with subject matter unconventional to the white cube environment, such as graffiti/street art, fashion, and young up-and-coming artists from Asia.”

For more information: https://www.arttowermito.or.jp/english/



Kirishima Open Air Museum, Kagoshima Prefecture

“Situated on a hillside 700 meters above sea level, the Kirishima Open-Air Museum is host to many site-specific sculptures and art installations by contemporary Japanese and foreign artists. Iconic works by Jonathan Borofsky, Dan Graham, Yayoi Kusama, and Noboru Tsubaki are just a few of the works seen on the grounds. Its indoor space, designed by Kunihiko Hayakawa, houses many more sculptures by notable artists such as Anish Kapoor, Marisol, and Takashi Murakami. In addition to its impressive permanent collection, the museum holds temporary exhibitions and events.”

For more information: https://open-air-museum.org/en/



Adachi Museum of Art, Shimane Prefecture

“The Adachi Museum of Art was founded by local businessman Zenko Adachi in 1970, in the hope of sharing his love for Japanese art and gardens with the people of Japan. Adachi himself assembled its traditional arts and crafts collection, which is most famous for 120 quality works by the master Taikan Yokoyama, and he was also deeply involved in the landscaping of the rolling gardens.”

For more information: https://www.adachi-museum.or.jp/en/



MIHO Museum, Shiga Prefecture

“This private museum was opened in 1997 to house close to 2,000 pieces of art, from Ancient Greek to Roman, and Middle Eastern to Asian works. Located high in the mountains of Shigaraki, 80% of the museum structure was built underground so as not to hinder the natural landscape. The architectural marvel was designed by I. M. Pei, who envisioned creating a “Shangri-La” for the museum’s collection.”

For more information: http://www.miho.or.jp/en/



Hakone Open Air Museum, Kanagawa Prefecture

“Hakone has more to offer than just hot springs, and the unique Open-Air Museum takes typical art viewing out of the box and places it under the open sky. It is filled with monumental art by modern to contemporary artists such as Rodin, Calder, Moore, Hepworth, Okamoto, Niki de Saint Phalle, and Vangi. Some of the collection, including Brancusi’s Kiss sculpture, Giacometti bronzes, and Picasso’s ceramics, are housed indoors.”

For more information: https://www.hakone-oam.or.jp/en/





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