Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum

Art for young and old in a parkland setting

By Jasper Wilkins    - 2 min read

The Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art is located in Ueno Park, a 7 minute walk from Ueno station and less than 15 minutes away from Tokyo on the train. If you are visiting Tokyo I would definitely recommend visiting Ueno as they have a lot of things to do within walking distance, a few examples being the National Museum Of Nature and Science, National Museum of Western Art and Japan’s oldest zoo; Ueno Zoo. It is also a popular place to see the cherry blossoms early in April.

I went into the large calligraphy exhibition which has works from 1936 to 1978 and most of the visitors were elderly. This exhibition was all in Japanese and although interesting, your experience would be enhanced if you do some research about the exhibition and what you want to experience before visiting. Most people were discussing the calligraphy and spent a long time looking at each one.

The museum is set on generous park-like grounds and has various sculptures including two at the main entrance, which are popular for visitors to take photographs with. Kunio Mayekawa, the architect who designed the current buildings in the 1960's, decided to put most of the floor space underground to blend in with the park.

First opened in 1926 as Tokyo Prefectural Art Museum, it was the first public art museum in Japan, generously supported by a large donation from Keitaro Sato, nicknamed the "god of coal". Today, its philosophy is to be a gateway of art to the community. Whether you are new to art or an experienced practitioner, you will learn something new here. Currently there are two exhibitions, which are titled ‘Legendary artists of Japanese Western Painting’ and ‘Kubbe Makes an Art Museum’, the former referencing its early days as a keen promoter of Western painting by Japanese artists. The museum has received a lot of positive feedback and hosts various exhibitions throughout the year so it is worth checking out the website before going so you can prioritise what you like to see. I would definitely recommend visiting here if you are in the area. The opening hours are from 9:30am until 5:30pm.

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Jasper Wilkins

Jasper Wilkins @jasper.wilkins

I currently study Media & Cultural studies at London College Of Communication and have previously worked in America as a photojournalist. I have a passion for story telling and travel. The Japanese culture interests me and I am excited to start taking photographs and videos. 

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