1. Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams
    Photo: Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams
  2. パブロ・ピカソ 《座る女》 1949 年 油彩・カンヴァス イスラエル博物館(エルサレム)蔵 Gift of Alex Maguy, Paris Photo © The Israel Museum, Jerusalem by Elie Posner © 2021 Succession Pablo Picasso BCF (JAPAN)
    Photo: © The Israel Museum, Jerusalem by Elie Posner © 2021 Succession Pablo Picasso BCF (JAPAN)Picasso and His Time: Masterpieces from Museum Berggruen

Best art exhibitions in Tokyo right now

What's on right now at Tokyo's most popular galleries, from Pablo Picasso to teamLab's immersive digital art

Emma Steen
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Emma Steen
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With an abundance of art shows happening this season, it'll be hard to catch all of the latest installations before they disappear. Nonetheless, we've got a list of the top art exhibitions taking place in some of Tokyo's most popular galleries to help you figure out where to start.

For a full day of art excursions, you should also check out Tokyo's best street art and outdoor sculptures, or fill your Instagram feed at two of the hottest digital art museums: teamLab Planets Tokyo and Immersive Museum.

Note that some museums and galleries require making reservations in advance to prevent overcrowding at the venues. 

RECOMMENDED: Not in Japan? You can still visit these amazing Japanese museums via virtual tours

Don't miss these great shows

  • Art
  • Ginza

The featured artists in this two-person exhibition at Maison Hermès Le Forum are both of Japanese descent but were raised in English-speaking cultures.

Christian Hidaka, who was born in Japan, is now based in London and is known to create work that draws parallels between painting and theatre. Chicago-born Takeshi Murakai, meanwhile, is now based in Los Angeles, where he has been pursuing digital art using video and CGI technology.

Here, the two artists have come together with their respective mediums to create a hybrid reality that explores the topics of language, culture and identity. 

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  • Kiyosumi

Following its success at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris from 2017 to 2018 and its visits to London and New York in 2019, the touring exhibition dedicated to the life and legacy of French designer Christian Dior is finally coming to Tokyo this winter.

Opening at the Museum of Contemporary Art on December 21, this mammoth retrospective will celebrate 75 years of Dior couture with a collection of timeless dresses and iconic designs from the post-war era to now. There will be a lot to take in, but the exhibition will thankfully run until May 28 2023 to give couture lovers ample time to view the collection.

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  • Art
  • Roppongi

Roppongi Crossing is a triennial, co-curated exhibition hosted by the Mori Art Museum to reflect on Japan’s ever-changing contemporary art scene and its reflection of modern society. Returning for its seventh edition this year, the exhibition features 22 Japanese artists and artist groups who are showcasing a total of 120 pieces.

Among the highlighted artists, who were all born between 1940 and 1990, is Noe Aoki, who is presenting his three-dimensional glass ‘Anomaly’, plus the group Side Core with their traffic red 'Rode Work' sculpture.

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  • Kiyosumi

In her first solo exhibition in Japan, the Dutch artist and filmmaker Wendelian van Oldenborgh is presenting six motion picture artworks made in different stages of her career. Van Oldenborgh, who is known to incorporate themes of music and history into her work, often uses the medium of film to question the social constructs and the role of women in today’s society.

The 2006 short film ‘Mauritz Script’, which explores the legacy of 17th century governor-general of Dutch Brazil Johann Maurtiz, is the earliest piece in the showcase. The most recent film of the collection is ‘The Girls’, which was only released in 2022 as part of this exhibition in Japan. This film focuses on the life of two female Japanese writers in the early 20th century and explores the struggles around gender, politics and love.

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  • Art
  • Aoyama

British-born artist Simon Fujiwara has worked with everyone from Yoko Ono and Alexander McQueen to Mariah Carey and Jadson Andre. In this latest showcase at Prada Aoyama, The multi-disciplinary creative tells unique stories that combine historical elements with inspiration from fairy tale fiction such as fantasy literature and anime through performance, novels, sculpture and video. Diverting from his usual style of pop art, the materials of this exhibition primarily consist of illustrations, collage works and sculptures that incorporate real-world themes such as the climate crisis, cultural appropriation and cosmetic surgery.

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  • Harajuku

In teamLab's new pop-up exhibition in collaboration with the Galaxy store in Harajuku, the digital art collective's enchanted forest has been transformed into an underwater fantasy. This latest installation is also an interactive one, where visitors can use smartphones to catch, study and release the colourful sea creatures they encounter in the space. There's a great variety of marine animals to see, including fish like tuna as well as aquatic creatures that are endangered or extinct. 

To catch a creature to study it, you can use the designated app on a Galaxy smartphone to scan fish swimming in the space, or throw out a 'Study Net' towards the floor if you see something interesting darting around your feet. 

While the exhibition is free, reservations are required. Each session is an hour long, with the exhibition open from 11am until 7pm daily. You can book a timeslot via the event website.

Note: an end date for this exhibition has yet to be announced.

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  • Art
  • Takebashi

This exhibition at the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo is Shinro Ohtake’s first major retrospective in 16 years. The multi-disciplinary artist has been producing a stunning array of paintings, prints, sculptures and motion picture art since his debut in the 1980s and continues to maintain a reputation as a leading contemporary creative both in Japan and overseas. 

Here, Ohtake presents 500 exhibits divided into seven conceptual themes: ‘Self/Others’, ‘Memory’, ‘Time’, ‘From One to Another’, ‘Dreams/Retine’, 'Layer/Stratum’ and ‘Sound’. The installations will span the last four decades of Ohtake’s spectacular career, from his earliest works to the pieces he created amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Highlights include an overflowing scrapbook, which the artist worked on between 2018 and 2021, as well as a 'self portrait' he constructed in the form of an outdoor shed.

 

  • Art
  • Kyobashi

Experience the splendour of the Paris Opera and its history through this extensive showcase of costume pieces, prized oil paintings, 19th century manuscripts and more borrowed from the National Library of France and the Musée d'Orsay. Through roughly 250 artworks and artefacts, this exhibition tells the story of one of the world’s most revered institutions dedicated to performing arts. 

 

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  • Art
  • Waseda

Prize-winning novelist Haruki Murakami’s stories have been translated into over 50 languages for readers all over the world. Behind the scenes, however, a lot of work goes into adapting a single book into another language. In order to save the nuances of a passage from being lost in translation, publishers need to think carefully about how to weave sentences together as if the language the words were being translated to was the author’s native language. 

In this exhibition at Waseda University's Haruki Murakami library, bibliophiles can pore over books by Murakami and other Japanese authors that have been adapted for readers overseas and contemplate all the doors that the process of translation has opened to the world.

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