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Five great photography exhibitions you should see in Tokyo this weekend

#008 Sony World Photography Awards
Photo: Lim Chee Wah

Tokyo’s rainy season is still ongoing and judging from the weather forecast this weekend (June 22-23), we can expect another two soggy days. However, this doesn't mean the weekend is doomed. You can hide from the rain at some of the city’s finest art or family-friendly museums – or visit these thought-provoking photography exhibitions happening right now. Hurry though as some of them end Sunday June 23.

See the world through the lens of leading photojournalists; discover the best entries from the world’s largest photo competition; trace the last three decades of Japan’s Heisei era through street snaps; and ‘meet’ the country's ‘Millionaire Photographer’. Hopefully you'll be inspired to be a photographer yourself, whether you're filling your Instagram feed with the city's most photogenic locations, or explore the city's photography-related venues and attractions.


Photo: John Moore (America)/Getty Images

World Press Photo Exhibition 2019

This eye-opening exhibition features some of the most impactful, newsworthy images captured by leading photojournalists from around the world. This year, the World Press Contest received a staggering 78,801 entries from 4,738 photographers. The images are deeply moving and often shocking, encapsulating some of the most harrowing moments of global events that made headlines in recent years. Ends Aug 4

#008 Sony World Photography Awards

#008 Sony World Photography Awards

As the largest annual photo competition in the world, Sony World Photography Awards (SWPA) receives submissions from both professional and amateur photographers. SWPA 2019 saw enormous interest, with 326,997 photos submitted. Ginza Sony Park is displaying the very best entries to the public with a free three-floor exhibition. The works cover a diverse range of topics from still life and nature to architecture and portraiture. FREE. Ends June 23 

Heisei Tokyo

Heisei - Tokyo - Snap Shot Love

Fujifilm Square in Roppongi bids farewell to the Heisei era (1989-2019) with this exhibition of Tokyo street scenes captured by 11 prominent photographers over the 31 years of that just-departed era. Both the city of Tokyo and the medium of photography itself underwent radical changes over that period, most visibly with the former’s ever-increasing pace of urban renewal and the latter’s shift to digital technology. So take a walk down memory lane and trace the transformation of Tokyo from then to now. FREE. Ends July 10

明治に生きた“写真大尽” 鹿島清兵衛

「鶴の背中で笛を吹く女性」明治28-30(1895-1897)年頃 撮影:鹿島清兵衛 鶏卵紙プリントに手彩色 桜堂蔵 ※展示作品は複製

The Story of Seibei Kajima, the ‘Millionaire Photographer’ in the Meiji Period

First introduced in the early Meiji era, photography, an entirely foreign technology at the time, quickly achieved popularly in a Japan that was opening up to the world. The many Japanese photographers of the time played a pivotal role in popularising the medium. A special exhibition at the Fujifilm Square traces the career of Seibei Kajima, one of those influential Meiji photographers. With 25 original artefacts, including best-known works of Mount Fuji and kabuki drama actors, the exhibition reveals the great achievement of a man nicknamed the ‘Millionaire Photographer’. FREE. Ends Aug 31

David Lynch

David Lynch – From the Fringes of the Mind

Gyre Gallery in Omotesando is hosting this exhibition by David Lynch, one of our era’s most prolific auteur, known for boundary-pushing films such as ‘The Elephant Man’, ‘Twin Peaks’ and ‘Mulholland Drive’. The works on display, curated by Lynch and artist Takayo Iida, include seven paintings, three drawings, 22 photographs and 12 watercolours by Lynch himself. The pieces reflect the dark and bizarre overtones of his 1977 experimental film ‘Erasehead’, now a cult classic. Many of the photographs were shot in the industrial zones of Philadelphia where the movie was filmed. FREE. Ends June 23

For more things to do this weekend, check our events list here.