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Mingeikan, Komaba

A must for anyone interested in Japanese crafts, the Mingeikan was founded by Soetsu Yanagi (father of designer Sori Yanagi) in 1936. Yanagi was the leading light of the mingei (folk craft) movement that celebrated the art of everyday crafts such as ceramics, glass, basket-weaving and textiles. 

The Mingeikan sits on a quiet street in Komaba, housed in a building designed by Yanagi, with a modern wing attached. Inside, the display cases show mingei works from Japan and abroad. It’s a treat to remove your shoes at the door and walk across the wooden timbers. Mingei has come into vogue in recent years as a younger generation begins to value its craft heritage. Yanagi’s home, which was completed a year before the museum, is across the road and open a few days a month. 

4-3-33 Komaba, Meguro-ku 
+81 (0)3 3467 4527 
mingeikan.or.jp
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Nezu Museum, Aoyama

The privately run Nezu Museum opened in 1941 in the home of industrialist and art collector Kaichiro Nezu and now occupies a 2009 building on the same site, designed by architect Kengo Kuma. Its collection of Japanese and Chinese art is outstanding and the new building has brought a fresh audience to what was once a well-kept secret. The rebuild is impressively discreet: a bamboo corridor leads to a space with a low sloping roof and picture windows. 

Highlights of the collection include Ogata Korin’s famous 18th-century folding screens that are decorated with irises and shown every spring for just one month. The large garden, dotted with stone lanterns and traditional wooden tea houses, draws kimono-clad tea practitioners from all over Japan. 

6-5-1 Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku 
+81 (0)3 3400 2536 
nezu-muse.or.jp
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Asakura Sculpture Museum, Yanaka

Sculptor Fumio Asakura’s home and studio in Yanaka is a delight. He moved there in 1907 then spent years extending the house. There are two wings and a leafy Japanese garden; you can tour the property and discover his sculptural work. 

7-18-10 Yanaka, Taito-ku 
+81 (0)3 3821 4549 

Images: Kohei Take

Go back: Tokyo

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