Taiken Japan

Autumn Leaves 2016

The Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo

Photo: Machiko Sakai on Flickr

The Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo

Safinaz Yazed

If you’re anything like me, your trip to any major city would include at least one art museum where one can soak up the culture transcending time and people-watch without worrying about the weather.
But if the city happens to be Tokyo, be prepared for the Herculean task of choosing just ONE museum. According to this list on Wikipedia, there are over 120 museums in Tokyo alone. With a staggering number, how does one choose? I must confess; I am not a savvy art enthusiast. I have no method but simply trust the results of my Google search “best art museums in Tokyo” and chose what appealed most to me.
Its location in the eastern part of Tokyo puts it within short distances with other notable sightseeing spots in Tokyo such as The Imperial Palace, Tsukiji fish market, Ginza, Akihabara and Tokyo Sky Tree. Once you are out of the train station, you will be required to walk roughly 10 minutes, depending on your pace and sense of wonder.


Even without relying on a map or a phone it’s easy getting there with signposts on the streets immediately after the station directing you there.




The building is hard to miss; the architecture itself does justice to the name of being a museum amassing works of contemporary art created in Japan as well as overseas. There is a museum gift shop and two dining options – ‘content’ Restaurant and Café Hai. The former serves a Japanese Western fusion while the latter is heavy on Vietnamese cuisine influences among other Asian nuances.


As is customary to museums – there is the permanent collections (MOT Collection) and the temporary exhibitions.

Rocking Mammoth by Yanobe Kenji

Rocking Mammoth by Yanobe Kenji
Tickets to any temporary exhibition also include access to view the MOT Collection. We were fortunate enough to be able to view works from Kishio Suga, Gabriel Orozco, and Constellations; which featured Yusuke Asai and Nobuhiro Shimura.

Yusuke Asai

Yusuke Asai
Gabriel Orozco's My Hands Are My Heart
Gabriel Orozco's My Hands Are My Heart
1960s leading figures in new art movement such as Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol also had works exhibited here (Lichtenstein’s Girl with Hair Ribbon was still exhibited at our time of visit). But if the art you seek lies not in the physical world, the art library in the museum caters a broad range of books, up to 100,000 volumes of exhibition catalogs as well as periodicals, bound to quench the thirst of the most parched of enthusiasts.
Which brings me to my earlier paragraph; always make sure you get the name of your chosen museum word for word when finding your way. If you are relying on Google Maps or a tour guide, a slight misinformation can take you somewhere else completely, not that it wouldn’t be an adventure. And yes I am speaking from experience.
For opening times, admissions and more information on The Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, click here.