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A Gallery Tour In Ginza - See Contemporary Art And Ukiyo-e For Free!

A Gallery Tour In Ginza - See Contemporary Art And Ukiyo-e For Free!

Tokyo 2017.06.14 Bookmark

Ginza is a known shopping and dining area, but were you aware that it is also home to scores of great art galleries too? In this article, we take a look at five amazing galleries where you can see Japanese art, and even purchase works to take home!

Translated by Shinji Takaramura

Written by OsawaKimie

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When you think about visiting galleries or museums, many people tend to think of going to Ueno or Roppongi, where there are many museums. But did you know that Ginza boasts a large number of art galleries too?

Ginza used to be known as an area where persons of culture gathered. There are a number of galleries where you can view not only traditional Japanese-style paintings, but graphic art and installations, for free. And you can also purchase the works at them too. This article will introduce five must-see galleries for tourists visiting Japan.

1. Gallery Shukado

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Gallery Shukado handles a wide a variety of Japanese-style paintings and ukiyo-e (a colored woodblock print in the Edo period, from the early seventeenth century to the nineteenth century), from 400-year-old antiques to contemporary works.

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Japanese-style paintings, drawn in a traditional style using a paint brush, and ukiyo-e, which influenced the French art scene, are displayed. Customers from overseas visit the gallery, to appreciate the works of art up close.

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This is the gallery's catalogue, published four times a year. The details of the works are translated into English, and the order system on the back page is also written in English.

2. Shibata Etsuko Gallery

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Shibata Etsuko Gallery, celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, mainly deals Japanese-style paintings, botanical arts, and contemporary paintings. The owner, Ms. Shibata Etsuko, has created a gallery with a warm atmosphere, to welcome the customers. Those who aren't familiar with art, or not used to visiting galleries, shouldn't hesitate to take a look at this gallery.

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Shibata Etsuko Gallery handles traditional works of art, along with contemporary computer art. It resembles the Japanese art scene, which transforms with the times.

3. Gallery Echo-Ann

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Gallery Echo-Ann is located in a very unique place. It's on the rooftop of a building in Ginza, and handles the work of various Japanese artists.

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The gallery was empty on the day of the visit, as it was between exhibitions. So we spent some time on the terrace, which turns into a cafe during exhibitions.

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This gallery is also known as a little-known place where you can watch over the Ginza area.

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It's like a hideout, as the gallery's entrance is located in a narrow alley between buildings.

4. POLA Museum Annex

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Those who are interested in contemporary art should visit the POLA Museum Annex. This gallery is run by POLA, a Japanese cosmetic company.

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This installation named "Crystal Universe" was displayed from August 22 to September 27, 2015, was done by teamLab, a group of artists famous for utilizing modern technology in their work. 60 thousand LEDs created a beautiful passage of light in the gallery.

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This is an exhibition by Su Blackwell, an artist residing in London.

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The theme of this exhibition, displayed from April 29 to June 14, 2015, was "book sculptures", using fairy tale and folklore books as a material for sculptures.

POLA Museum Annex hopes to send a message from Ginza, about art in the future. It hosts a wide variety of exhibitions, from installations using the cutting-edge technology, to displays of fashion, especially clothing and accessories.

5. Okuno Building

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Okuno Building was built in 1932, as one of the first one-room apartment buildings in Japan. There are no residents at the moment, but it holds about 20 galleries, and is famously known as the place to visit in the Ginza art scene.

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All the visitors marvel at this manually-operated elevator. The Okuno building is said to be the first Japanese apartment building with an elevator. There are many detailed designs that you are sure to want to take photographs of.

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There are small galleries on every floor, displaying paintings, sculptures, and even clothing.

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Room 306 has an especially interesting history. It is currently used as an exhibition space, but Ms. Suda Yoshiko ran a beauty salon in this room for 55 years right after the building was built.

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Ms. Suda lived in Room 306 after the salon was closed, and there are still images of those days.

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After Ms. Suda passed away, "Ginza Okuno Building Room-306 Project" started in order to preserve the memory of the life spent in this room, from the beginning of a war to its end. Exhibitions are held on a regular basis in room 306.

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The Okuno Building itself is a work of art, along with the other works displayed in the galleries. It is worth the time to visit the building.

There are many galleries in the Ginza area, besides the ones introduced in this article. While appreciating the works of art, visitors can chat with the gallery owner, or with the other visitors. This kind of experience makes visiting a gallery worthwhile.

If you have the chance to visit Ginza, be sure to take a look at the art galleries, as well.

Information

Gallery Shukado
Address: Tokyo, Chuo, Ginza 6-4-8
Gallery Hours: Weekdays 10:00-18:00, Sundays and Holidays 11:00-18:00
There are no regular closed days.
Wi-Fi: Not Available
Credit Cards: Accepted
Languages: Japanese and English
Nearest Station: Ginza Station, Tokyo Metro Marunouchi, Ginza and Hibiya Lines
Access: 10 minute walk from Exit C2
Phone: +81-3-3569-3620
Website: Ukiyoe Gallery Shukado

Shibata Etsuko Gallery
Address: Tokyo, Chuo, Ginza 1-5-1
Gallery Hours: Weekdays 12:00-19:00, Sundays and Holidays 12:00-18:00
There are no regular closed days.
Wi-Fi: Not available
Credit Cards: Accepted
Languages: Japanese
Nearest Station: Ginza-itchome Station, Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line
Access: 5 minute walk from Exit 3
Phone: +81-3-3563-1660
Website: Shibata Etsuko Gallery (Japanese)

Gallery Echo-Ann
Address: Tokyo, Chuo, Ginza 3-3-12
Gallery Hours: Weekdays 11:30-19:00, Sundays and Holidays 12:00-17:00
There are no regular closed days.
Wi-Fi: Not available
Credit Cards: Accepted
Languages: Japanese
Nearest Station: Ginza Station, Tokyo Metro Marunouchi, Ginza and Hibiya Lines
Access: 1 minute walk from Exit C8
Telephone: +81-50-3452-8627
Website: Gallery Echo-Ann (Japanese)

POLA Museum Annex
Address: Tokyo, Chuo, Ginza 1-7−7
Gallery Hours: 11:00-20:00 (last entry 19:00)
The museum will be open throughout each exhibition.
Wi-Fi: Not available
Credit Cards: Not accepted
Languages: Japanese
Nearest Station: Ginza Station, Tokyo Metro Marunouchi, Ginza and Hibiya Lines
Access: 6 minute walk from Exit A9
Phone: +81-3-5777-8600
Website: POLA MUSEUM ANNEX (Japanese)

Ginza Okuno Building Room-306 Project
Address: Tokyo, Chuo, Ginza 1-9-8
Gallery Hours: 13:00-19:00
The museum will be open throughout each exhibition.
Wi-Fi: Not available
Credit Cards: Not accepted
Languages: Japanese
Nearest Station: Ginza-itchome Station, Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line
Access: 5 minute walk from Exit 10
Website: Ginza Okuno Building Room-306 Project

The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting.

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