Nestled in an unassuming residential neighborhood is the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art. As one of the first modern art museums in Japan, the Hara Museum stands out for its broad range of works and its early-Showa period architecture. The building was originally constructed as a private residence by preeminent architect Jin Watanabe, and the structure is a testament to his work.
In front of the museum you'll be welcomed by a couple of pieces of outdoor art, including "Aesthesipol I" by Keith Sonnier, which is a mixed media piece incorporating an antique Japanese pay phone and a television. Sonnier is best known in the art world for his sculptural work and use of lighting. Enter the museum and find yourself in an open space optimally suited for contemporary works.
From July 13 to September 29, 2013, the Eiichiro Sakata exhibition "Enoshima" was on display. These 40 or so color photographs, taken over a period of 16 years at the seaside of Enoshima, were representative of today's Japan and its ever-changing nature. Portraits of youthful Japanese beachgoers and items left on leisure sheets made up the collection of brilliantly colored photos. These "portraits without people" depicted scattered objects on the beach, which opened a window to a vision of the Japan we live in and how seemingly useless material objects pepper our lives with meaning and promise.
Elsewhere in the museum there are a number of permanent exhibits including Yasumasa Morimura's "Rondo" and "The Water Unfit for Drinking—Camellia" by Yoshihiro Suda, both of which are located in obscure corners of the building. Be sure to explore all areas of the museum and don't be afraid to open doors.
Fans of Yoshimoto Nara's Neo Pop cleverly cute drawings will be ecstatic to visit "My Drawing Room," a full-scale room filled with drawings, toys, cassettes and other artist paraphernalia. This art studio is visited periodically by Yoshimoto and updated to express his current artistic state.
Modern art enthusiasts will delight in the collection at Hara Museum of Contemporary Art. The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday (closed Monday) from 11:00 - 5:00. Adults: 1,000 yen; students (with ID): 700 yen; children: 500 yen.