Top 6 Best Art Museums in Japan

Japan is home to a variety of museums, exhibitions and art galleries from all fields, cultures and periods of time. Whether it be Italian Renaissance, Japanese ink painting, Chinese porcelain or European cubism, there’s a gallery dedicated to it in Japan. Below is a list of some of the finest art museums in the country in terms of quality, quantity and preservation of the works on display:

1. Adachi Museum of Art [Shimane Prefecture]

museums 1 adachiCredit: Wikimedia CommonsAdachi works as a museum of art and a Japanese garden all at once. The complex was founded in 1980 by Adachi Zenko, a collector who wanted to merge his two passions: gardening and art. The landscape that can be seen through the museum’s windows is supposed to inspire visitors while looking at the many paintings on display inside the building. The collection features numerous paintings by renowned Japanese artist Taikan Yokoyama, whom Adachi greatly admired.


Address: 320 Furukawacho, Yasugi, Shimane Prefecture 692-0064Access:By train and bus: take a train from Matsue Station to Yasugi Station. Once there, you can get a free shuttle bus to the museum.Recommended period: Anytime.Contact:Adachi Museum of ArtWithin Japan: 854-28-7111

2. Kubota Itchiku Art Museum [Yamanashi Prefecture]

museums 2 kubotaCredit: FlickrThe most unconventional addition to the list, it’s a modest and remote museum dedicated to Kubota Itchiku, a notable Japanese textile artist famous for reviving the art of Tsujigahana decorating and fabric dyeing in the 20th Century. The museum shows an exceptional collection of fine, silk kimonos, designed to resemble colorful landscapes. The museum is located next to Lake Kawaguchi, with stunning views of Mount Fuji. The gardens surrounding the building are also noteworthy.


Address: 2255 Kawaguchi, Minamitsuru-gun, Fujikawaguchiko-machi 401-0304, Yamanashi PrefectureAccess:By bus: take a bus from Kawaguchiko Station to Kubota Itchiku.Recommended period: Anytime.Contact:Kubota Itchiki Art MuseumWithin Japan: 555-76-8811

3. Mori Art Museum [Tokyo Prefecture]

museums 3 moriCredit: FlickrMori is a huge contemporary art gallery located on the 52nd floor of the Mori Tower—one of the tallest skyscrapers in Tokyo. The museum holds temporary exhibitions with works of modern and contemporary art created by artist from all over the world. At 250m high, the museum also offers a panoramic view of the city that is a living piece of art in itself. For an additional 500 yen, you can access the open air sky deck located on the rooftop, if weather permits.


Address: 6-10-1 Roppongi | 53F, Minato 106-6150, Tokyo PrefectureAccess:By subway: get off at Roppongi Station, on the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line (Roppongi Hills exit).Recommended period: Anytime.Contact:Mori Art MuseumWithin Japan: 3-5777-8600

4. Otsuka Museum of Art [Tokushima Prefecture]

museums 4 otsukaCredit: FlickrAs the largest exhibition center in Japan, Otsuka offers an impressive permanent collection of over a thousand life-sized ceramic reproductions of international works of art, such as the Sistine Chapel, Monet’s Water Lilies and the Guernica. The museum comprises pieces of almost 200 museums from 25 different Western countries. The Otsuka Museum of Art is located on a seaside park overviewing the Kii Channel, in the city of Naruto.


Address: Naruto Park, Naruto-cho, Naruto-shi, Tokushima 772-0053Access:By bus: take a bus at Naruto Station to Naruto Park, where the museum is located.Recommended period: Anytime.Contact:Otsuka Museum of ArtWithin Japan: 088-687-3737

5. Tokyo National Museum [Tokyo Prefecture]

museums 5 tokyoCredit: Wikimedia CommonsThe Tokyo National Museum is the biggest and most visited art museum in Japan, as well as the oldest Japanese national museum. Although it houses over 100,000 artistic and archaeological pieces from all over Asia, the museum focuses primarily on works from Japan, and it also serves a research and educational center. The complex is made up of eight different buildings conveniently located in Tokyo’s Ueno Park.


Address: 13-9 Uenokoen, Taito, Tokyo 110-8712Access:By subway: a 7-minute walk from Ueno Station. The museum is located inside Ueno Park.Recommended period: Anytime.Contact:Tokyo National MuseumWithin Japan: 3-3822-1111

6. 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art [Ishikawa Prefecture]

museums 6 21stCredit: Wikimedia CommonsKanazawa’s flagship circular and completely transparent museum is one of the most critically acclaimed internationally. Its most popular piece is an illusory swimming pool installation with a thin layer of suspended water that challenges our perception of reality. Admission to the gallery and its permanent exhibitions is free, and it includes unrestricted access to several public spaces, such as a library and a lecture hall.


Address: 1-2-1 Hirosaka, Kanazawa City, Ishikawa PrefectureAccess:By bus: take a bus from Kanazawa Station to Hirosaka, right next to the museum.Recommended period: Anytime.Contact:21st Century Museum of Contemporary ArtWithin Japan: 76-220-2800by Virginia Gonzalez