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Essential Tokyo exhibitions for summer

Explore the diversity of Southeast Asian art, look back at the career of a Japanese photography legend and peek into the Buddhist underworld

Image: Yuen no Onna, 2017

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 summer. Or, you could check out Tokyo's best outdoor art, choose from all exhibits on right now, or head further afield for an art festival.

Nine unmissable exhibitions

Ambient: Lifestyle Items Designed by Naoto Fukasawa

Product designer Naoto Fukasawa has worked for everyone from no-brand giant Muji to Italian homeware company Alessi and the 21_21 Design Sight museum at Tokyo Midtown. Several of his designs, including the wall-mounted CD player he designed for Muji and the humidifier he created for his own label ±0's, have also been added to the permanent exhibition at New York's MoMA. Considering such heavyweight credentials...

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Panasonic Shiodome Museum , Shiodome Thursday August 24 2017 - Sunday October 1 2017

Alberto Giacometti: Collection Fondation Marguerite et Aimé Maeght

Continuing its star-studded tenth anniversary programme, which has already seen high-profile shows by Yayoi Kusama and Alfons Mucha, the NACT is now delivering a large-scale retrospective of Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966). Always associated with the tall, spindly, existential figures of his later years, the artist, who found worldwide acclaim only years...

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The National Art Center, Tokyo (NACT) , Nogizaka Until Monday September 4 2017

Sunshower: Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia 1980s To Now

Roppongi is experiencing a true Southeast Asian art takeover this summer, as both the National Art Center, Tokyo and the Mori Art Museum dedicate their vast halls to contemporary works from across this endlessly diverse region. Focusing on art from the 1980s up to the present, 'Sunshower' is the most significant exhibition of Southeast Asian art in Japan to date and consists of nine sections...

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The National Art Center, Tokyo (NACT) , Nogizaka Until Monday October 23 2017

Wonderland of Buddhist Hell Scenes

Things are about to get devilishly hot at the Mitsui Museum this summer, as this survey of the Buddhist netherworld in art introduces Tokyoites to Enma Dai-O, the god of Hell, Ksitigarbha, the bodhisattva of the damned, plus demons, ghouls and other fearsome inhabitants of the fiery realm. In addition to this ghastly cast, the artworks on display depict the cycle of existence, paradise and other central elements...

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Mitsui Memorial Museum , Nihonbashi Until Sunday September 3 2017

Nobuyoshi Araki: Photo-Crazy A

Nobuyoshi Araki is arguably one of Japan's greatest living photographers. Having worked consistently – some would say maniacally – since the 1960s, his oeuvre has been met with exalted praise and deep criticism alike for anything from its intensely personal touch to its sensual, occasionally semi-pornographic imagery...

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Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery , Hatsudai Sat Jul 8 - Sun Sep 3

Introduction to Ceramics: Dishes and Plates, Large and Small

You'll be able to learn the ins and outs of ceramic plates large and small at the Nezu Museum's highly educational summer special, which goes beyond simply explaining the history of notable pieces by demonstrating how (rich) people of bygone days actually used them in their daily lives. On the larger side, you'll find dishes up to 60cm in diameter from the Chinese Yuan (13th-14th century) all the way up...

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Nezu Museum , Aoyama Until Sunday September 3 2017

Arcimboldo: Nature into Art

Milan-born Italian artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo both charmed and confused his contemporaries with fanciful portrait heads made of items such as fruits, vegetables, flowers, fish and books. Rediscovered by the Surrealists in the early 20th century, Arcimboldo was far from an outcast in his time, working as a court painter for Habsburg emperors...

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The National Museum of Western Art , Ueno Until Sunday September 24 2017