Art on the Streets of Japan

Wall paintings, sculptures, clocks, and other art forms

By Elena Lisina    - 2 min read

Japan is a very artistic country and all kinds of arts have been well developed there for centuries. Across the country numerous museums display rich collections of traditional and modern art, but even on the streets you can find many artistic objects.

I found some interesting graphic pictures in the Asakusa district of Tokyo. Heading up to the famous Senso-ji Temple, people walk through the trading street known as Nakamise-dori. In the daytime all of the shops are open and display various colorful Japanese souvenirs. Once I went to Nakamise-dori late in the evening and found all the shops were shut, but each roller door had an individual painting – that was really interesting to see, like an exhibition!

 A painting on the roller doors of Nakamise-dori
A painting on the roller doors of Nakamise-dori

In Tokyo's Ryogoku district, famous for the Kokugikan sumo arena, I found wonderful wall paintings depicting scenes with children and sumo wrestlers. Even the stairs of Ryogoku Station were decorated with sumo-themed pictures. I appreciated that none of the paintings were spoiled by silly graffiti and words or additions.

While walking in Kyoto I came across some traditional art pieces hung outside houses, such as paper lanterns adorned with images, bells, tiny glass charms, and beautiful flower compositions.

Flower composition displayed outside
Flower composition displayed outside

Besides the arts listed above I often came across sculptures made in different styles – totally abstract geometric figures, funny anime characters, and quite natural sculptures of Chinese zodiac animals or sparrows sitting on a fence. I've also encountered various city clocks each made in a unique style and form.

In touristic places such as Kyoto, Kamakura and Enoshima I met artists who sold their works, and even if I couldn’t afford to buy them it was still interesting to see their pieces and sometimes talk to artists. I'm not a big fan of museums, but in Japan I can meet different art forms anywhere I go. All of those pieces create a unique image of the country.

An artist selling his work in Enoshima
An artist selling his work in Enoshima

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Elena Lisina

Elena Lisina @shiroi.tenshi

I love Japan very much! I like small towns of Japan where I can watch people doing their business and talk to them carefully. They're always friendly. I like Japanese gardens where I can just sit or walk and take my time. Also I like Shinto Jinja as being there I feel in peace. I like to watch sunsets and then to dine in some small local places. I like to soak into onsen after a long day of wandering. I like Japanese crafts very much as all items are made with great taste and skill. Nihon wo daisuki desuyo! My photos from Japan I also place here: Matane!