Essential Tokyo exhibitions for spring

There’s so much to see in Tokyo this spring: from artistic nudes and western-style Japanese paintings to local architecture and colourful carp streamers

Fancy seeing an art show this weekend but no idea where to go? Well look no further. You can't go wrong if you head down to one of our favourite art exhibitions taking place in Tokyo this spring. Or, you could check out the art in Roppongi and Tennozu, choose from all exhibits on right now, or even opt for a bath in an arty sento.

Eight unmissable exhibitions

My Favorites: Toshio Hara Selects from the Permanent Collection
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My Favorites: Toshio Hara Selects from the Permanent Collection

One of the first contemporary art museums in Japan, the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art was opened in 1979 by founder and Toshio Hara, who remains the director today. In a first for the museum, Hara himself has curated a selection from the museum archive’s 1,000-plus items, including paintings, sculptures, installations and photographs, all created since the 1950s.  

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Hara Museum of Contemporary Art , Shinagawa Tuesday May 29 2018 - Sunday June 3 2018
Nude: Art from the Tate collection
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Nude: Art from the Tate collection

More than 100 masterworks from London’s famed Tate Gallery collection are descending on Tokyo this spring. Nude: Art from the Tate Collection spans two centuries, and various attitudes towards the nude form – from heroic, romantic and erotic representations, through domestic and quotidian, modernist and abstract, surreal and realist, and through to the dawn of identity politics, and contemporary feminist visions of the female body. The line-up includes works by JMW Turner, Tracey Emin, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Sarah Lucas and David Hockney, but it is Auguste Rodin's 1904 erotic sculpture 'The Kiss' is justifiably being billed as the star of the show. 

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Yokohama Museum of Art , Minato Mirai Until Sunday June 24 2018
Koinobori Now! Installation by Reiko Sudo, Adrien Gardère and Seiichi Saito
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Koinobori Now! Installation by Reiko Sudo, Adrien Gardère and Seiichi Saito

Traditionally strung up for Children's Day on May 5, the carp-shaped streamers known as koinobori are quite the sight to behold. The National Art Center Tokyo is joining in on the fun with lots of koi streamers, designed by eminent Japanese textile designer Reiko Sudo, happily floating around the exhibition rooms. Originally a collaborative work with French exhibition designer Adrien Gardère, Sudo has expanded the piece with noted Rhizomatiks member Seiichi Saito for this reincarnation. There will also be a hands-on experience corner, where visitors can make their own streamer.  

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Monday May 28 2018
Tomoo Gokita: Peekaboo
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Tomoo Gokita: Peekaboo

Known for his works which use collage-like techniques, Tomoo Gokita has been making waves on both the national and international scene, with exhibitions at Tokyo's Taka Ishii Gallery and New York's Mary Boone Gallery in recent years. At this latest exhibition, the focus is on his new paintings and drawings, all created after the turn of the millenium. The most typically Gokita-esque work here might just be the large-scale installation, [fill in name of installation] which incorporates over 800 small drawings. 

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Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery , Hatsudai Tuesday May 29 2018 - Sunday June 24 2018
Léonard Foujita: Private on Works
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Léonard Foujita: Private on Works

Illustrator Fujita Tsuguharu, better known as Léonard Tsuguharu Foujita, started to produce his first book illustrations in 1919 after moving to Paris. A few years later, he was already involved in 30 different projects. This enormous volume of work reflects his wide popularity in France, and the country’s flourishing publishing industry during the early 20th century. Here you'll find a large variety of his works, including book illustrations made in France, and works published in Japan. 

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Meguro Museum of Art , Meguro Tuesday May 29 2018 - Sunday June 10 2018
Japan in Architecture: Genealogies of Its Transformation
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Japan in Architecture: Genealogies of Its Transformation

Structured as a time travel through Japan’s history of architecture, this veritable heaven for Japanese architecture fiends is divided into nine sections explaining architecture with themes such as ‘the possibility of wooden architecture’ or ‘coexistence with nature,’ supported by architectural blueprints, models and interactive installations. The highlight is a full-scale reproduction of the 'Tai-an', a tea ceremony house connected to Sen no Rikyu, a tea master from the 16th century. If your knowledge is a bit rusty, you can also read up in the book lounge, which is also full of fabulous modernist furniture.  

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Mori Art Museum , Roppongi Until Monday September 17 2018

More art in Tokyo

State of the art

Exploring Roppongi and Tennozu, two of Tokyo's artsiest neighbourhoods

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By: Yusuf Huysal
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