Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo

A fun and diverse world of modern art

Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo
Peter Sidell   - 3 min read

In a city with many enjoyable art museums, the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (MOT) is probably my favorite. From the outside it may not have the elegance of Ueno's museums or the chic of Roppongi's, but it's made special by the space there is and the way it's used.

Walking in through the stylish entrance brings you to the long, high-ceilinged lobby, which straight away creates a welcoming atmosphere of calm.

(Photo: Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo)

More than at any other museum in Tokyo, there's a feeling here that art is meant to be fun, to be actively enjoyed rather than just passively viewed.

Richard DEACON, Like A Snail B, 1987-96
Richard DEACON, Like A Snail B, 1987-96 (Photo: Kenta Hasegawa)

The spacious galleries allow for even more large-scale interactive fun.

Ay-O, Pastoral, 1956
Ay-O, Pastoral, 1956 (Photo: Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo)

Of course they also display more conventional works of art. Special exhibitions in the past have featured noted Japanese painters such as Atsuko Tanaka and surrealist Hiroshi Nakamura, and the permanent collection includes works by luminaries such as Andy Warhol, David Hockney and Mark Rothko. However, it being a museum of contemporary art, you might find anything from fashion and design via abstract digital animation to psychedelic video installations.

March 2019 Reopening

To commemorate their grand reopening at the end of March 2019, a new grand exhibition runs until June 16th, comprise two parts:

  • A Special Exhibition: Weavers of Worlds: A Century of Flux in Japanese Modern / Contemporary Art
  • MOT Collection: Weavers of Worlds: Pleased to meet you. New Acquisitions in recent years.
MORIMURA Yasumasa, Portrait ( Shonen1, 2, 3 ) , 1988
MORIMURA Yasumasa, Portrait ( Shonen1, 2, 3 ) , 1988 (Photo: Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo)

Once you're done enjoying the exhibitions, or as a break between them, you can browse an eclectic range of art and design goods in the Museum Shop NADiff, then admire your purchases over a snack or meal at the restaurant or café, while reflecting on a fun, unique art experience.

Getting there

Fifteen minute walk from Kiyosumi-shirakawa station (Hanzomon line, Oedo line).

More info

Find out more about Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo.

Peter Sidell

Peter Sidell @peter.sidell

I came to Japan from Manchester, England in 2003, and have travelled a lot since then, around Japan and in Asia. When I'm not working, I write satire and perform stand-up comedy in and around Tokyo. Check YouTube for a taste.