The impressive curtain wall entirely made out of glass that resembles one massive wave in motion is the beautiful front of the National Art Center, designed by star architect Kisho Kurokawa. The theme of the museum is "museum inside a forest", and following this, around 50 different species of plants grow on site, creating a stunning scenery that changes with the seasons. The inside of the museum is brightly lit with natural light, creating a relaxing, calm atmosphere. Especially noteworthy are the two huge cones that tower over visitors in the atrium-style lobby of the museum - the entire building undoubtedly is a piece of art in itself.
ミケランジェロ・ブオナローティ、サン･ロレンツォ聖堂新聖具室、 フィレンツェ、1520-1534年 ©Associazione Culturale Metamorfosi
The vast exhibition space inside the museum encompasses a total of 14,000 square meters and, as such, the nation's largest. Due to the fact that there's no permanent exhibition, the National Art Center's uniqueness is the fact that different special exhibitions and even works from the general public can be held at the same time. The current exhibition called "Venetian Renaissance Paintings from the Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice" is open until the 10th of October 2016, showcasing around 2,000 select paintings from grand masters of the Italian Renaissance in collaboration with the Gallerie dell’Accademi in Venice. One of the highlights is Titian's "Annunciation," the altarpiece that he created in the last year of his life.
Entry: 1,600 yen
Hours: 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 a.m. (Fridays, August 6th, 13th, 20th: until 8:00 p.m.)
Entry until 30 minutes before closing.
Holidays: Tuesdays (open on August 16th)
Three cafés are located inside the museum, along with one restaurant. This restaurant is "Brasserie Paul Bocuse Le Musee" on the third floor and the first restaurant that master of French cuisine Paul Bocuse opened in Japan. Authentic, delicious French food can be enjoyed n this three-star restaurant, awareded by Michelin. The menu also features special dishes that are centered around the special exhibitions being held and, to make the museum experience perfect, the restaurant is located on one of the two inverted cones, appearing like the place is floating in the air. During noon, the tables are bathed in sunlight while at night, the illuminated skyline of Roppongi spreads in front of one's eyes - Tokyo Tower included.
The museum shop "Souvenir from Tokyo," located inside the National Art Center, has a large selection of domestic and international goods chosen to embody the Tokyo perspective, without limiting itself to a specific brand or genre. While part of the shop is also in the lobby of the museum's first floor, the highlight clearly is the basement. From art-related books, crafts, fashion and accessories to daily necessities and snacks, the basement is filled with a colorful assortment of original goods. The many things on sale all tell a tale of creativity and intellectual curiosity and therefore represent the core of Tokyo like no other shop could - this is the perfect place to find a souvenir. A special recommendation are the special edition sweets that were made as a collaboration between the museum and the long-established traditional store Kikunoya in Ginza. Especially popular is "fukiyose," a beautiful, colorful assortment of different candies that do not only taste amazing but are also a feast for the eyes.
*This information is from the time of this article's publication.