The National Art Center, Tokyo is Japan's first national art museum without a permanent collection. It is the largest exhibition space in Japan with 14,000 square meters, and a total floor space of 48,000 square meters. There are 12 exhibition rooms, and a library with over 50,000 publications. It is a facility especially designed for exhibitions organized by curators and exhibitions presented by artist associations.
It was designed by the famous Japanese architect, Kisho Kurokawa (who is currently running for governor of Tokyo). The curved front is based on "computer-rendered rhythmic images formed by mountains and the seashore." The idea was to balance nature and high technology. For example, glass lets in natural light, but an energy saving design cuts solar heat and UV rays.
Each exhibition is priced separately. I visited the exhibition, 'Paris du monde entier : Artistes étrangers à Paris 1900-2005'.
This exhibition introduced more than 200 works of art from the collections of the Centre Pompidou. The exhibit is said to "explore the significance of artists' activities associated with Paris in the history of modern and contemporary art". I thought it was an excellent exhibit. There were so many works that I was a little overwhelmed, but at least I felt as if I had gotten my moneys worth. This exhibition runs until May 7th.
Admission: Adults 1500 yen, University students 1000 yen, High school 800 yen, free for Jr. high and younger.
Even if you have no interest in art, go and visit the museum. Have a snack or coffee in one of the three cafes, or lunch in the restaurant. Currently there is a free exhibition on Kisho Kurokawa's architectural designs. Although it was all in Japanese, it was fascinating. You do not need to pay anything to enter the building itself, only to enter individual exhibition rooms.
The National Art Center, Tokyo
7-22-2 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-8558
Hours of Operation: Most of the exhibitions (and the cafes) are open from 10:00 - 18:00, with last admission at 17:30. Exhibitions organized by The National Art Center stay open until 20:00 on Fridays. The art library opens from 11:00 - 18:00 and the restaurant is open from 10:00 - 22:00. The facility is closed on Tuesdays (unless a national holiday, then closed the next day) and during the New Year's holidays.
Access: Chiyoda Line - Nogazaka Station, exit 6 is directly linked to the center.
Hibiya Line - Roppongi Station, 5 minute walk from exit 4A.
Toei Oedo Line - Roppongi Station, 4 minute walk from exit 7.