Friday, September 28, 2007

46. Museum Review: Suntory Museum of Art (Roppongi)

Recently moved to its new location in Tokyo Midtown, the Suntory Museum of Art has been around since 1961. It's theme has always been based on 'Art in Life'. Their collection of over 3000 pieces includes lacquer ware, ceramics, paintings, glass, textiles, metal works, and more. Everything is 'connected to Japanese life', including their famous collection of hairdressing articles.

The museum entrance is located on Midtown's 3rd floor. Once tickets have been purchased, visitors are sent up an elevator to the 4th floor. The exhibition rooms have black walls, high ceilings, wood floors, black benches, and dim lighting. Leading down to the 3rd floor is a beautiful wood and glass staircase which is back lit by light seeping through a wall of vertical wood boards. The ceiling in this room are two stories high. I was impressed with the design and 'feel' of the museum.

(Sept. 1 to Oct. 21) The exhibition that I saw was called 'Biombo', the name for Japanese folding screens in Spanish and Portuguese. Some of the screens exhibited had been gifts to foreign governments, others came from private collections. They were some of the most magnificent and unique screens that I had ever seen. I cannot recommend this exhibition strongly enough!

Future exhibitions:

(Nov. 3 to Dec. 16) National Treasure: Choju-Jinbutsu-Giga Emaki (frolicking animals and figures), four famous screens from Kosanji Monastery in Kyoto and related articles.

(Dec. 23 to Jan. 14) 'Wa-mode' - the elegant costumes of Japanese women

(Jan. 26 to Mar. 9) Works of Toulouse-Lautrec, a leading Parisian artist from the late 1800's.

The museum was larger than I expected, and the exhibit was superb. I would definitely recommend the museum for those who visit Tokyo Midtown.

On the 3rd floor, beside the ticket desk, is a small museum shop and also a cafe. The cafe is run by 'Fumuro-ya', an establishment from Kanazawa that dates back to 1865. They specialize in 'Kaga-fu' (Kaga style wheat-gluten cakes) which were originally a meat substitute for Buddhist priests.

Address: Tokyo Midtown Gardenside 9-7-4 Akasaka, Minato-ku 107-8643

Hours of Operation: Sundays, Mondays, and National Holidays 10:00 - 18:00
Wednesday to Saturday 10:00-20:00
Closed on Tuesdays, New Year's Day, and during exhibition preparation periods. If Tuesday is a national holiday, it is closed the following day.

Admission varies by exhibition. Free admission for junior high students and younger.

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