The Hara Museum of Contemporary Art is a rare example of Japanese early modern architecture. Designed by Jin Watanabe and built in 1938, this former private residence of the Hara family was converted into a contemporary art museum in 1979.
With its broad staircase and elegant wooden floors, the interior of the museum still retains the air of a stylish family home. Tucked away throughout the building are intriguing, permanently installed works by artists such as Tatsuo Miyajima, Yasumasa Morimura, Nam June Paik and Yoshitomo Nara. The museum’s collection consists of about 850 works and covers the entire range of post-1950 art movements across several continents. The Hara Museum’s exhibition schedule is a litany of major artists, and yet it also holds annual exhibitions of work by young, up-and-coming artists.
A glass-walled, light-filled café faces onto the former residence’s back garden. With its outdoor seating in summer, this is one of Tokyo’s very few quiet spots of green where you can escape for an afternoon.
Lines: Yamanote, Keikyu, Tokaido, Keihin-Tohoku, Yokosuka
Access: 15 minute walk from Takanawa exit
Entry: Adults ¥1000, university students ¥700, high school students and younger ¥500
Free for museum members and students through high school every Saturday during school terms.
Hours: 11AM – 5PM; 11AM – 8PM on Wednesdays (except when the Wednesday is a national holiday). Closed on Mondays. Open on national holidays but closed the following day.
Address: 4-7-25, Kita-Shinagawa, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo
The Shinagawa area is a business district with a port-town history. To truly experience this mix, head to the eastern side of the station. Meanwhile, on the Hara Museum side, if you’re on a budget, Shintatsu Ramen provides cheap noodles and donburi. On the other end of the noodle spectrum is Matsuzake, located just a couple of blocks from Hara. Here you’ll find not only first-rate soba, but also a chance to try zako (which are basically cheap, little fish). If you’ve skipped the noodles, 7025 Franklin Avenue—the oddly named, highly regarded hamburger shop — will happily serve you some of the best burgers in Tokyo.