You wouldn't believe it, but Roppongi offers more than just overpriced booze, sleazy clubs and boutique shopping. The capital's most famous entertainment district is also home to an interesting array of art galleries, many of which can be a little hard to locate if you don't know where to head. That's where our gallery list comes in: check out the spots listed below for an intro to the world of alternative art in Roppongi, and consult our full 101 things to do in Roppongi guide for more great (and non-illegal) things to do in 'High Touch Town'.
Atsuko Ninagawa opened this Azabu-Juban gallery in December 2007, having previously worked as a curator in New York. It’s one of the galleries of the so-called ‘post-Kiyosumi-Shirakawa generation' and represents young standard-bearers for the contemporary art world, such as Shinro Ohtake, Soju Tao, Misaki Kawai, Yukiko Suto and Yuuki Matsumura.
Formerly based in Azabu-Juban, Gallery Side 2 moved to its current location on a Roppongi backstreet in late 2011. The gallery specialises in contemporary art from promising young Tokyo artists such as Yuko Murata, Fumito Urabe and Takeo Hanazawa, and stocks works by foreign artists such as Rirkrit Tiravanija.
Nogizaka's Unlimited crosses genre borders with exhibitions ranging from traditional fine art to photography, architecture and experimental video. They aim to feature talented artists cogniscent of social issues, and have worked with the likes of Shusaku Arakawa, Toshio Shibata, Meo Saito, Toeko Tatsuno and Mika Yoshizawa.
Photography-focused gallery on the second floor of the Axis Building in Roppongi, with regular exhibits of both historical and more recent works. The same building also houses several other art- and design-related spots, making it worth a visit for artsy types. Taka Ishii has featured the likes of Daido Moriyama and Nobuyoshi Araki in the past.
First established in Shibuya but now sharing Roppongi's Piramide Building with several renowned galleries, this photo-focused spot isn't exactly well-known but often hosts highly interesting exhibits. Zen specialises in Asian photographers, especially Japanese and Chinese ones.