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Museums and Exhibits

Japan With Kids - Forums: General Discussions: Museums and Exhibits
By Cornelia on Tuesday, June 20, 2000 - 8:18 am:

Issey Miyake "Making Things"
29 April - 20 August 2000

The Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo 03-5245-4111
10:00-18:00 except Fridays when open 10:00-21:00
entrance fee: not sure, something like 1000 yen for adults, but there seem to be different prices on different days or something (don't read kanji - sorry)
Parking available.
Closest subway: Kiba station on the Tozai line. Also accessible by bus from Kinshicho station on the Chuo/Sobu JR line (taxi about 1000 yen).

The exhibit was originally organized by the Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain and has travelled from Paris to New York and now to Tokyo.

Quick review:
We went on a Friday because there was a special tour organized by Foreign Executive Women. Since the info. said "children welcome", I was with my 3.5 year old daughter.

The tour with about 40 participants started punctually at 19:30 with an ENGLISH speaking guide from the Issey Miyake office, who had already given the tour many times in NYC. It was fascinating stuff, when I could listen and wasn't running after the little G-force! The exhibit is multi-media, including computer controlled video clips projected down onto the floor in front of various exhibits showing how the fashions are produced. The kids were racing and jumping around on them "catching" the movements. I met the chief curator, Shioda-san, who was thrilled to see the reaction of two small kids to the exhibit (my girlfriend brought her 4 year old son).

It was hard to tell a child not to touch when the adults were doing so continuously. The 8-9 roomfulls of exhibited clothing beg closer inspection. It takes tremendous self-control not to place ones hands on the garments to answer questions they provoke such as: "how does this feel, how is it made, would it even be comfortable?"

One room is full of costumes hung from above. Motion sensors pick up a viewer coming by and trigger that part of the exhibit into bouncing up and down. The kids set these off in a vivid pattern when they were running through the very large room, and immediately understood that there was a relationship between their running by and the movement starting. They thought it was a terrific game.

There is another darkened room again with a big video picture thrown down on the floor with two mannequins lying down on a "beach" of small pebbles. The video includes some butterflies flitting across. The kids found this room very exciting. The pebbles gave the colors a wonderful warm texture and the whole effect was very mood forming.

My daughter had made a point of splashing her whole front at a flat pool outside before we went in to join the special tour. So she went through the two hours we spent in the air-conditioned museum half soaked. But it is such a pain to get there, I wasn't about to turn around!

Seeing all those innovative designs and understanding how they are made was riveting, and made me want to go out and spend all my savings on a new wardrobe. Not only was the exhibit a stimulation to improve my personal fashion sense, but a testiment to creativity and doing things differently - for once! The combination of Issey Miyake's techniques and ideas and the stunning display set up in cavernous rooms to good effect by Junichi Shioda and his staff made a "museum exhibit tour" into an invigorating evening of entertainment for both my daughter and myself. We both fell into a deep sleep soon after returning home!

Minutes after settling to sleep my girlfriend called me to tell me again how worthwhile the evening had been, in spite of the bother on her part, and I had to agree. Wet clothes, potty stops and all, I think both my daughter and I enjoyed ourselves equally, tremendously well. And she did not catch cold fortunately.

I really hope some of you TWK readers get the chance to enjoy the exhibit as much as we did!

By tokyokat on Monday, October 9, 2000 - 10:30 pm:

October 13, Friday, at 10:30 a.m. - Homeschoolers' Visit to Yokohama Museum of Art

Calling all homeschoolers! Some homeschool families are planning to go to the Chinese Civilization Exhibition at Yokohama Museum of Art on October 13, Friday, at 10:30 a.m. The museum is near Sakuragicho station on the JR and Tokyu Toyoko lines. Please contact me at milkat[at] if interested in joining.

One who has been to the exhibit wrote the following about other things to do around there. If some of you (like me) will be bringing youngsters not quite ready for ancient civilization exhibits, we could "play" outside while the older kids and parents take in the exhibit:

>>There are a few things around the Yokohama Museum of Art. The pavilion outside includes a fountain, a few benches, and a few trees as best I recall. However, just across a pedestrian bridge there is the large Landmark Tower and adjacent Queens shopping areas. There is a Starbucks at the bottom of the Landmark Tower shopping area, and a Yurindo with a limited selection of English language books on the fifth floor. In addition, there is a (horrendously expensive, IMHO) elevator ride up to an observation floor. I can't remember how high up it is, maybe 80 floors or something like that? Anyway, on a clear day, you can see quite a long ways off in four directions. Finally, some of the kids might be interested in the Yokohama Maritime Museum which has the Nippon Maru sailing ship in the harbor next to it. The ticket includes a tour of the ship as well as the museum. The ship is really interesting. The museum houses a large collection of model ships and a couple of activities for kids. It might be possible, or even preferable, for some of us to herd some of the younger set that way. The Chinese exhibit is really great, but I'm not sure all of them will think so.

Maybe you've heard about the Four Great Civilizations on exhibit in Tokyo and Yokohama. Organized by NHK, these studies of ancient civilizations include The Indus Civilization at Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, The Egyptian Civilization at the Toyo National Art Museum (both in Ueno Park), and The Mesopotamian Civilization at the Setagaya Art Museum, a 20 minute walk from Yoga Station on the Tokyu Denentoshi Line. The charge is 4,000 yen for the set or 1,300 for each exhibit (student prices available).

best wishes, Kat
Homeschooling in Japan

By Cornelia on Monday, April 29, 2002 - 3:22 am:

Masterpieces from the Prado, Madrid
National Museum of Western Art, Ueno, Tokyo
March 5 (Tues.) through June 16 (Sun), 2002 Closed on Mondays and May 7th. No closed dates during the Golden Week holiday week of April 27 through May 6.
Y1300 for adults
Y900 for student 15 and older
under 15, free

Pretty heavy material. But the realism is easier for younger kids to get interested in (as opposed to abstract art). Still with paintings like "Saturn Devouring His Son", and "Christ Dragging the Cross to Calvary", think twice about this one. I had forgotten how macabre the stuff from those centuries can be and stopped dead in my tracks, but it was already too late. Ends June 16. A Japan Times review by Victoria James "The power and the glory of the Prado" was printed on March 13.

Just around the corner also inside Ueno Park is the Marc Chagall exhibit at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. Much lighter material. Ends July 7.
Y1300 adults
Y1100 university students
Y600 all other students 1st grade and up
tel: 03-3823-6921

I took my daughter to the Kandinsky exhibit at the newly renovated National Museum of Modern Art in Takebashi, Tokyo. It runs through May 26, and is truly awesome but she did not get nearly as involved in it as I did. She was most impressed by a woodblock print of a lady hugging her shining knight in armor farewell on his way off to battle, but the more persistant topic was "why did that man eat a baby?" So I did have to dig up the myth of Saturn/Cronos devouring his children but the baby Zeus being saved and later conquering his father, etc.
Y1300 adults
Y900 university and high school students
free for younger students
Information: (03) 3214-2561

By Cornelia on Saturday, September 21, 2002 - 5:31 pm:

Only two days left!
Joan Miro at the Setagaya Art Museum
7/27 - 9/23/2002 -- really wonderful
tel: 03-3415-6011
1-2 Kinuta Koen, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
closest train station: Yoga

view of front entrance

By Natasha on Friday, March 12, 2004 - 3:59 pm:

Bring the kids! Kusamatrix and other exhibits at MAM (Mori Art Museum) Polkadots! REALLY BIG ONES. Roppongi Hills, Tokyo. Read all about it here:

By Cornelia on Monday, March 28, 2005 - 10:38 am:

Yokohama Doll Museum:
Closing for one year on April 1 for renewal (renovations). But this month entrance is half of normal price (Y150).
Yokohama Doll Museum 231-0023 18, Yamashita-cho, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi
Tel 045-671-9361 Fax 045-671-9022
Hours 10:00-18:00 (closes at 18:30)

By Pato on Monday, October 10, 2005 - 7:03 pm:

YOKOHAMA 2005: International Triennale of Contemporary Art
Going until 18 December! English) Really great!

By Yelena Gluzman on Wednesday, March 1, 2006 - 3:07 pm:

There is a great exhibit at the Meguro
Museum of Art by artist Tomoyasu Murata.
He creates people and things from clay
and other materials, and the show has a
huge room with an entire tiny world he
made, including a ferris wheel, a merry-
go-round with fat pigs, tiny houses and
cars, windows and flower pots, robots and
hidden televisions.

My 2.5 year old son loved it and looked at
everything endlessly. The only bad thing is
that there is no touching, and most of the
displays and objects are at toddler height,
so you may want to prepare your child for
that as best you can.

Still there is also a small tatami room
(filled with more stuff to look at) where
you and your kid can sit and draw your
own world. When we went, the artist
himself was in there, drawing, and he was
very kind and gave my son a small
notebook to draw in.

Admission is 600yen for adults, free for
little ones. After you see the exhibit, you
can go to the excellent Childrens Hall
next door (past the swimming pools) or
play at the small outdoor playground.

A great daytrip.

Till March 31, 10am-6pm, closed

To get there: Go to Meguro Station. Walk
along Meguro Dori *downhill* (if you pass
Dennys or a Tokyu supermarket you are
going in the wrong direction!). Walk along
this street till you get to the river. Turn
right on the far side of the river, and you
will see the signs for the Mego Museum,
with a big poster of a sad clay man. A 10
to 15 minute walk from the station.
(If you are pushing a stroller, look for the
elevators at Meguro Station, and a ramp
past Bagel&Bagel to get you to the street.)

By Bethan Hutton on Thursday, March 2, 2006 - 9:53 am:

Transportation Museum closing down!

Any of you out there with kids keen on trains and so on - I have just discovered that the Transportation Museum in Akihabara is closing down on May 14th. I think some of the exhibits are being moved to a new train museum which will open in Saitama next year, but it looks like there will no longer be a museum on that site.

So, if you haven't been yet, or have a mini-trainspotter who would like one last go on the train simulators, you have until May 14th.

By Cornelia on Monday, May 7, 2007 - 11:54 am:

Views of Water: from Monet and Taikan to the Present 2007.4.21 - 7.1
Yokohama Museum of Art
just a short walk from the Landmark Tower complex at Sakuragicho station
The permanent exhibit offers a few things worth seeing as well! The tapestries by P.S. Naik-Satam are marvelous.

By Cornelia on Monday, May 7, 2007 - 2:40 pm:

TOKYO: Chagall and Ecole de Paris Collection (permanent) and Andrew Wyeth (finishes October 2) tel 03-5771-1900
Near Gaienmae station exit #4. All three floors for Y1000.
Contains at least two REALLY outstanding works by Chagall, a neat biographical video (Japanese only), and then... a wonderful sampling of a few others from the same period including early Picasso, Modigliani, etc.
And then on the second floor the superb temporary exhibit of works by Andrew Wyeth (USA), stark but highly textured tempura paintings, almost photo-realistic, deeply appreciative of rural life near the sea, reflective and meditative.

By Cornelia on Sunday, May 20, 2007 - 6:28 pm:

The Adventure in Search of Soil Creatures! (Ants, worms, moles, etc.)
Special Temporary Exhibit: 2007.3.17 - 2007.6.17
Ibaraki Nature Museum
Bando City, Ibaraki-ken
In addition there are comprehensive exhibits (primarily Japanese language explanation)
[ 1 ]
"Birth of the Universe" (video)
Mechanism showing effects of a vacuum
Various meteorites (originals)
[ 2 ]
Planet Earth: 4.6 Billion Years Old (animated)
Diorama of life in the Cretaceous period of the Mesozoic era
The ocean in the Paleozoic era
[ 3 ]
Diorama of life in the forest
Life in the Four Seasons (cinema)
Diorama showing soll-dweling organisms
[ 4 ]
The micro-world inside the human body
Mechanical (robot that moves like a living thing)
Devices that give you the five senses of animals and insects
[ 5 ]
Natural environments around the world (film)
Grobal climate monitor
A small, almost hermetically sealed ecosystem

and more...

By Kurz on Thursday, April 3, 2008 - 1:23 pm:

Tokyo, Ueno Park: The National Museum of Western Art
7-7 Ueno-koen, Taito-ku, Tokyo 110-0007
March 4 - May 18, 2008
La "Venere di Urbino" (The Italian Rennaisance exhibit is named after a very famous nude, the "Venus of Urbino", painted in about 1538 by Titian)
Supplements reading of mythology (goddesses Aphrodite (Greek) or Venus (Latin) as well as other characters such as Cupid, the son of Venus).
Open until 17:30 every day except Mondays (or Tuesdays if Monday falls on a National Holiday such as April 28 and May 5), and until 20:00 on Fridays.
* Admission is free for visitors with disabilities and one accompanying "helper". Please bring the disability certificate. (A handicapped driver's licence from the USA is often accepted.)
* Admission is free for Junior High School Students and children under twelve.

By Sandy on Saturday, June 14, 2008 - 12:37 pm:

Tokyo: Fukagawa Edo Museum
VERY GOOD VALUE FOR WOW EFFECT! During your visit the sun will set and rise. They've done a terrific job here. (English) (Japanese)
Early 19th century Tokyo (called Edo at that time) riverside district. Good for rainy days because indoors.

Open: 9:30am - 5:00pm
Closed: The secound and fourth Monday of each Month.
28th December - January 5th (inclusive).
Adults: 300 yen, Under 15's: 50 yen
Tel: 03-3630-8625, Fax: 03-3820-4379
135-0021 s (Tokyo) ] (Koto-ku) (Shirakawa) 1-3-28
Suggested amount of time needed to see the exhibit: About 30 minutes. We stayed for an hour.
One way to get there: Monzen-Nakacho Station (Tokyo) can be reached by Tozai subway line, Oedo subway line, and various buses. As you leave the station walk along ETAI DORI until you get to the crossing with KIYOSUMI DORI. Look for the police box. There you can get a walking map to the museum in English which is very helpful.
Our way to get there: Get off at Kiyosumi-Shirakawa station of the OEDO subway line or the HANZOMEN subway and walk about 7 minutes. It's noted on the map inside the station at the B1 level.

By Kurz on Saturday, June 14, 2008 - 12:48 pm:

YOKOHAMA: Yokohama Triennale 2008
International Exhibit of Contemporary Art
13 September - 30 November 2008 (79 days)
Mark your calendars.
I've been to the first two Yokohama Triennales. The first one was excellent. The second one outshone the first one! I am planning on going to the third one at least twice. My daughter also loved it. Somehow, we will find the time. Plan a whole day and bring a lunch if you don't want to eat the usual Japanese offerings.

There is no better exhibit in Japan showing such a huge cross-section of contemporary artists from around the world. It is world-class.

By Hokuto on Saturday, June 14, 2008 - 1:00 pm:

Picayune post (sorry):

Sandy's message about the Fukagawa Edo Museum perpetuates the incorrect spelling on the website concerned ("Fukugawa"); the correct spelling is "Fukagawa"; I've informed the site owners of the mistake, but if you're looking for further information on the web, you might need to input the correct spelling.

*** (Thanks. Sandy's post has been corrected -- ADMIN)

By Kurz on Wednesday, October 12, 2011 - 12:38 am:
The National Museum of Western Art is showing a group of paintings and drawings primarily (or possibly all?) by Francisco de Goya, brought over to Japan from the Prado in Madrid.
October 22, 2011 - Jan 29, 2012
9:30 to 17:30 (Friday 20:00) (Closed Mondays except...) located in Ueno Park, Tokyo

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