PhotoSpaces

Canon Gallery S

Canon Gallery S, Tokyo

List of photo exhibition venues and camera museums in Japan according to prefecture in alphabetical order. These galleries and museums are dedicated mainly to photography or they hold a photo exhibition on a regular basis. Most do not have information in English. Prefecture names are linked to Google Maps. Also read the PhotoSpaces FAQ.

Updated: Nov. 10, 2017

AICHI PREFECTURE

  • Canon Gallery Nagoya キヤノンギャラリー名古屋 Map – Near Fushimi Station, Exit 10.
  • Sony Store Nagoya ソニーストア名古屋
  • Nikon Plaza Nagoya ニコンプラザ名古屋 Map
  • Fujifilm Photo Salon Nagoya 富士フイルムフォトサロン名古屋 Map
  • Nagoya City Art Museum (Nagoya-shi Bijutsukan) 名古屋市美術館 – Opened in 1988, the museum is within Shirakawa Park. Mainly collects and shows paintings and prints. The photography collection centers on works by Nagoya photographers (members of the Nagoya Avant-Garde group from the late 1930s) and photographs of Mexico during the 1920s and ’30s. Holds photo exhibitions on occasion.Near three subway stations: Fushimi Station on the Higashiyama Line, get out Exit 5 and walk south for 8 minutes. Osu-kannon Station on the Tsurumai Line, get out Exit 1 and walk north for 7 minutes. Or Yabacho Station on the Meijo Line, get out Exit 4 exit and walk west for 10 minutes. Phone: (052) 212-0001
    地下鉄東山線・鶴舞線「伏見」下車、5番出口から南へ徒歩8分
    地下鉄鶴舞線「大須観音」下車、1番出口から北へ徒歩7分
    地下鉄名城線「矢場町」下車、4番出口から西へ徒歩10分
  • Wakita Gallery ワキタギャラリー – Located in a camera shop called Photo City Wakita. Near Kamimaetsu Station (Meijo or Tsurumai subway line) Exit 10. Phone: (052) 251-5226

AKITA PREFECTURE

AOMORI PREFECTURE

FUKUOKA PREFECTURE

FUKUSHIMA PREFECTURE

  • Coal Pit コールピット
  • Fukushima City Museum of Photography (Hana no Shashinkan) (Fukushima-shi Shashin Bijutsukan) 花の写真館(福島市写真美術館) Map – Dedicated to flower photos. The permanent exhibition centers on Shotaro Akiyama’s donated works. Akiyama was one of Japan’s most famous photographers. He helped make nearby Hanamiyama park famous. A photo gallery for public use is also provided. 20-min. walk from JR Fukushima Station or catch a bus and get off at Hoken Fukushi Center. Phone: (024) 534-9777
  • Suehiro Classic Camera Museum 末廣クラシックカメラ博物館 – The museum is in a sake warehouse. Over 600 cameras are on display. Admission 300 yen. From Aizu-Wakamatsu Station, take a local bus to Otonamachi and walk 2 min. Phone: (0242) 27-0002

GIFU PREFECTURE

HIROSHIMA PREFECTURE

  • Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum 広島県立美術館
  • Kure Municipal Museum of Art (Kure Shiritsu Bijutsukan) 呉市立美術館 Map – Opened in 1982 to commemorate the 80th anniversary of Kure’s founding as a city. (“Kure” is pronounced KOO-ray.) The museum is in a park on a hill affording a great view of the harbor. There are also remnants of old military facilities in the same park. The photography collection was started in 1997, and it includes works by TOMATSU Shomei, NARAHARA Ikko, KIMURA Ihee, UEDA Shoji, HAGA Hideo (ocean-related festivals), and MIDORIKAWA Yoichi (Seto Inland Sea). The theme centers on the ocean and how people live with the ocean. 10 min. walk from JR Kure Station (30 min. from JR Hiroshima Station via the JR Kure Line). Phone: (0823) 25-2007

HOKKAIDO PREFECTURE

  • Canon Gallery Sapporo キヤノンギャラリー札幌 Map
  • Nikon Sapporo Service Center ニコン 札幌サービスセンター Map
  • Fujifilm Photo Salon Sapporo 富士フイルムフォトサロン札幌 Map
  • Photo Plaza 910 フォトプラザ910”(クドウ)フォトギャラリー Map
  • Higashikawa Bunka Gallery 東川町文化ギャラリー Map – Opened in 1989 and operated by Higashikawa-cho town that declared itself a “photo town” with an annual photo festival. The gallery is one of the main venues for the festival. Exhibits photos, sculptures, pictures and literary arts. It has over 1,200 photographs by famous Japanese photographers and overseas photographers who received the town’s photo awards in the past. They include UEDA Shoji, ISHIUCHI Miyako, HOSOE Eikoh, KON MIchiko, NARAHARA Ikko, ARAKI Nobuyoshi, SUGIMOTO Hiroshi, and HATAKEYAMA Naoya. The facility also has rental galleries.Fly to Asahikawa Airport (1 hour and 35 minutes from Tokyo Haneda airport) or take a train from Sapporo (1 hour and 20 minutes via limited express). From Asahikawa Airport, take a taxi (10 min.). From Asahikawa Station, take a bus to Higashikawa (40 min.). Phone: (0166) 82-4700
  • Kushiro Art Museum (English website) 北海道立釧路芸術館 – Opened in 1998, this large museum keeps a significant collection of photographs by well-known photographers such as SUGIMOTO Hiroshi, MORIYAMA Daido, FUKASE Masahisa, KAWADA Kikuji, TAHARA Keiichi, Kushiro native NAGAKURA Hiromi, and even Ansel Adams. 5-min. walk from JR Kushiro Station (walk south). Phone: (0154) 23-2381

IBARAKI PREFECTURE

  • Art Tower Mito (English website) – Contemporary Art Gallery in Ibaraki’s capital city of Mito. Be sure to go up the tower for great views of the city.

KAGOSHIMA PREFECTURE

  • Shoko Shuseikan 尚古集成館 – Shimadzu family museum that opened in 1923. It has artifacts and materials tracing the history of the family. The Shimadzu (Shimazu) family was a samurai clan in Satsuma (present-day Kagoshima in southern Kyushu). In the mid-19th century, the clan was headed by Lord SHIMAZU Nariakira who acquired a daguerreotype camera from UENO Shunnojo-Tsunetari and experimented with it.In 1857, local scientist ICHIKI Shiro took a portrait of Lord SHIMAZU Nariakira, and this portrait is thought to be the oldest surviving daguerreotype taken by a Japanese photographer. It was discovered in 1975 by the Shimazu family in a warehouse. In 1999, the daguerreotype was designated as an “Important Cultural Property” by the Japanese government. It was the first photograph in Japan to be so designated. It is preserved at the Shuseikan.In 1858, Lord SHIMAZU is thought to have taken a collodian photograph of three women, titled “Three Princesses.” The image is also kept at the Shuseikan. After Nariakira, the next and last head of the Satsuma clan was Tadayoshi. He was also a shutterbug and his photos are preserved at the museum. From JR Nishi Kagoshima Station, 35 min. by Kagoshima City View bus. Get off at Sengan-en (Iso Teien). From Kagoshima Airport, 40 min. by taxi. Phone: (099) 247-1511

KANAGAWA PREFECTURE

  • Yokohama Museum of Art (English website) 横浜美術館 Map – This large-scale museum (designed by Kenzo Tange) is one of the pavilions left over from the YES Expo held in 1989. It features a number of facilities such as an Art Library, Lecture Hall, Citizen’s Workshop room, observation deck, museum shop, and restaurant. There are several gallery spaces, one of which is dedicated to photography.The Yokohama Art Museum actively pursues to expand its photography collection. It especially seeks photos showing the history of photography in Japan and the world. Early portraiture, pictorialism, and modern works. Works by early photographers such as Talbot as well as contemporary photographers such as Robert Mapplethorpe, Diane Arbus, and Robert Capa as well. Works by Japanese photographers like Domon Ken and Kimura Ihei can also be viewed. Admission is 500 yen.The excellent Art Library, which has many photography-related books, is open to the public for free. See the Web site for English directions and map. Ten-minute walk from Sakuragi-cho Station (JR Negishi Line or Keihin Tohoku Line, municipal subway, Tokyu Toyoko Line). Phone: (045) 221-0300
  • Yokohama Archives of History (Yokohama Kaiko Shiryokan) 横浜開港資料館 – Established in June 1981, this museum includes a large collection of picture postcards and 19th century vintage photos of Yokohama and Kanagawa. The exhibition floor shows how Yokohama was opened up to the West. The building used to be the British Consulate. Exhibitions center on the history of Yokohama’s opening to overseas trade. The reading room is excellent for Yokohama photography research. 12-min. walk from Kannai Station on the JR Keihin Tohoku Line. You can also get off at Sakuragi-cho Station and take bus No. 8, 11, 20, or 58. Get off at Kencho-mae. The Archives is right across from the Kanagawa Prefectural Office (Kencho). Phone: (045) 201-2100
  • Earth Plaza あーすぷらざ (神奈川県立地球市民かながわプラザ)
  • Minato Mirai Gallery みなとみらいギャラリー【クイーンズスクエア横浜 クイーンモール2F】
  • Yokohama Civic Art Gallery Azamino 横浜市民ギャラリーあざみ野
  • mewe HASHIMOTO ミウィ橋本 5Fインナーガーデン – Venue for Photo City Sagamihara.
  • Kawasaki City Museum (Kawasaki-shi Shimin Museum) 川崎市市民ミュージアム –
    Opened in Nov. 1988, this large, imposing museum is somewhat out of the way, but well worth a visit. A few minutes by bus (for Shimin Museum) from Musashi Kosugi Station (JR Nanbu Line or Toyoko Line). It is within a large park called Todoriki Ryoku-chi. The 3-story museum’s collection includes photographs, posters, woodblock prints, videos, folk crafts, and historical artifacts like Jomon and Yayoi Period pottery dug up in Kawasaki.The museum’s collection includes photos taken in post-war Japan by 100 renown Japanese photographers such as Ueda Shoji, Akiyama Shotaro, Jumonji Bishin, and Araki Nobuyoshi. It also has a large collection of photographs by Hamaya Hiroshi. The museum holds photo exhibits in its dedicated photo gallery and major photo exhibits in a larger space. This museum was one of Japan’s first to dedicate museum space to photographs. Admission is 500 yen for the regular exhibits. Admission is free for the library and non-exhibition areas.The museum complex also has a darkroom, studio, workshop, video viewing space, and library. The library has a large collection of photo-related books. Most of the books are in closed stacks. You will have to check the library’s card catalog (all in Japanese) to find what you want to see, then fill out a short form. No materials can be taken out. Phone: (044) 754-4500

KOCHI PREFECTURE

KYOTO PREFECTURE

MIE PREFECTURE

  • Ise Washi Gallery 伊勢和紙ギャラリー【大豐和紙工業内】
  • Toba Sea-Folk Museum 海の博物館 – Award-winning history museum showing how the local people worked and interacted with the sea. Many photos of ama women divers. From JR or Kintetsu Toba Station, take a bus (25 min. ride) and get off at Umi no Hakubutsukan-mae. Walk 7 min. Phone: (0599) 32-6006

MIYAGI PREFECTURE

MIYAZAKI PREFECTURE

  • Miyazaki Prefectural Art Museum 宮崎県立美術館 – Rental gallery, called Kenmin Gallery, offered for a low weekly rate. Application screening required. Located within a culture park (Bunka Koen). From Miyazaki Station, take a bus headed for Bunka Koen.

NAGANO PREFECTURE

  • Aono Kyosuke Photo Art Gallery 青野恭典フォトアートギャラリー【かんてんぱぱホール内】Map
  • Yukio Tabuchi Memorial Museum (Tabuchi Yukio Kinenkan) 田淵行男記念館 Map – Opened in 1990 by the town of Toyoshina-machi and dedicated to the late TABUCHI Yukio, a mountaineer photographer and researcher of mountain butterflies. Mountain photos and mountain butterfly exhibitions. Admission charged. From Matsumoto Station take the JR Oito Line to Hakuyacho Station and walk 20-min. Phone: (0263) 72-9964

NAGASAKI PREFECTURE

  • Nagasaki Museum of History and Culture (Nagasaki Rekishi Bunka Hakubutsukan) 長崎歴史文化博物館 – The museum’s collection centers on historical materials and artifacts related to Nagasaki’s trade relations with the Dutch and the Chinese during the Edo Period as well as Nagasaki’s art works. The photography collection centers on vintage photos and camera equipment, especially by UENO Hikoma, a native of Nagasaki and one of Japan’s pioneering photographers in the 19th century. For the sake of preservation, the vintage photos are not normally exhibited. From Nagasaki Station, take the streetcar and get off at Sakura-machi and walk for 7 min. Phone: (095) 818-8366
  • Nagasaki Prefectural Nagasaki Library (Nagasaki-kenritsu Nagasaki Toshokan)
    長崎県立長崎図書館 – The library preserves many historical photos of Nagasaki taken by UENO Hikoma, one of Japan’s pioneer photographers during the early Meiji Period. Photos may be viewed on request by going to the Kyodo-ka section on the 4th floor. From Nagasaki Station, take a bus and get off at Sakura-machi Koen-mae or Shiyakusho-mae. Or take the streetcar and get off at Sakura-machi or Kokaido-mae. Walk 5 min. Phone: (095) 826-5257

NARA PREFECTURE

  • Irie Taikichi Memorial Museum of Photography 入江泰吉記念 奈良市写真美術館 Map – Western Japan’s largest museum dedicated to photography opened in April 1992. Designed by KUROKAWA Kisho (who later won the 1991 Japan Art Academy Award), the museum was built upon the donation of IRIE Taikichi’s photographs (80,000 shots) taken during his lifetime. Originally named Nara City Museum of Photography. About 40 photos are displayed at one time. Exhibit themes change four times a year. Exhibits by local Nara photographers are also held. English captions provided. Admission charged. From JR or Kintetsu Nara Station, take the Shinai junkan (No. 1) bus and get off at Wari-ishicho (12 min.). 15-min. walk from this bus stop. Follow the signs. It is west of the Shin Yakujishi Temple. Phone: (0742) 22-9811

OKINAWA PREFECTURE

OSAKA PREFECTURE

SAITAMA PREFECTURE

  • Shirasagi Memorial Museum of Natural History シラサギ記念自然史博物館 – The museum’s collection includes 150 white heron photographs by the late TANAKA Tokutaro who started a movement to protect the birds in Noda, Urawa city (now called Saitama city) where they were once abundant. About 50 photos taken during the late 1950s and 1960s are always on display from the collection. The museum’s theme is environmental protection. From Omiya Station, take the bus for Naka Noda Hikikaeshiba and get off at Noda Shogakko. The museum in within the grounds of the Urawa Gakuin High School. Phone: (048) 878-0500

SHIMANE PREFECTURE

  • Shimane Art Museum (Shimane Kenritsu Bijutsukan) 島根県立美術館 – Splendid museum opened in 1999 along the shore of Lake Shinji, famous for sunsets. The museum collects and exhibits oil paintings (centering on water themes), Japanese prints, wooden sculpture, art from Shimane, and Western and Japanese photography. The photo collection centers on vintage prints by overseas artists. It has photos by Japanese photographers like FUKUHARA Shinzo, SHIOTANI Teiko (whose family donated several hundred prints to the museum), SUGIMOTO Hiroshi, NARAHARA Ikko, and MORIYAMA Daido. A 15 minute walk from JR Matsue Station. Or take the Lakeline bus from JR Matsue Station and get off at the Shimane Art Museum stop. Phone: (0852) 55-4700
  • Shisei Kuwabara Photographics Museum 桑原史成写真美術館 – Opened in 1997, photo gallery dedicated to exhibiting Tsuwano native KUWABARA Shisei’s documentary photographs. Kuwabara is best known for his photos of Minamata mercury-poisoning victims. His photos of Korea, Vietnam, and Russia are also exhibited. The gallery has about 570 of Kuwabara’s photos in its collection and holds four exhibitions a year. The gallery was formerly called Tsuwano Documentary Photograph Gallery (Tsuwano Gendai Photo Gallery) up to March 2004. Admission charged. One min. walk from JR Tsuwano Station (Yamaguchi Line). Phone: (0856) 72-3171

SHIZUOKA PREFECTURE

  • IZU PHOTO MUSEUM
  • Shimooka Renjo Photo Museum (Shimooka Renjo Shashin Kinenkan)
    下岡蓮杖写真記念館 – Museum dedicated to SHIMOOKA Renjo, a Shimoda native and pioneering Japanese photographer during the late 19th century. His various documents and materials, vintage photos, and vintage cameras are displayed. Near Izukyu Shimoda Station. Take the Shimoda Ropeway up to Nesugata Hill.

TOKYO PREFECTURE

Nikon Museum

Nikon Museum

Tokyo has Japan’s highest concentration of photography museums, galleries, and exhibitions. Only one museum is dedicated mainly to photography, while a few other art museums have a significant photography department. Photography galleries are mainly private galleries representing photographers and camera makers’ photo galleries such as by Canon and Nikon. Then there are other spaces large and small which exhibit photography on occasion.

  • Tokyo Photographic Art Museum (formerly Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography) – Japan’s largest photography museum  in Yebisu Garden Place near Ebisu Station in Tokyo. Note that due to major renovations, the museum of is closed until fall 2016. It will reopen with a new name in English and new URL. The name in Japanese remains the same.

Fine-art photo galleries selling photography in Tokyo include:

Private and camera makers’ photo galleries in Tokyo include:

  • Canon Gallery Ginza – Photo gallery near Higashi Ginza Station. Exhibits works by photographers who passed the screening for a show. Gallery is part of Canon’s camera showroom and service center.
  • Canon Gallery S – Photo gallery near Shinagawa Station’s Konan exit. Exhibits works by prominent Japanese photographers. Map
  • Nikon Salon – Photo gallery in Ginza and Shinjuku.
  • Nikon Museum – New museum opened in Oct. 2015 on the second floor of Nikon’s head office in Shinagawa, Tokyo. It is to mark the 100th anniversary of Nikon’s foundation in 2017. The swank museum has 580 m² of exhibition space to show all their products, including a showcase of 450 Nikon cameras dating back to 1948. Other exhibits show Nikon’s other products such as steppers, microscopes, and binoculars. Very comprehensive exhibits on Nikon’s history and technologies. There is also a museum shop selling Nikon merchandise like postcards and tote bags.
  • Konica Minolta Plaza – Photo gallery near Shinjuku Station’s East Exit. Although the camera maker has been absorbed by Sony, this gallery still exists.
  • Monochrome Gallery RAIN – Fine-art photo gallery near Ikejiri Ohashi Station (Den’en Toshi Line, one stop from Shibuya). Run by a family headed by a fine-art photographer. They curate exhibitions (not a rental gallery) and represent artists. Open only on weekends.
  • Pentax Forum – Photo gallery near Shinjuku Station’s West Exit.
  • epSITE Epson Imaging Gallery – Gallery near Shinjuku Station’s West Exit.
  • photographers gallery – Photo gallery in Shinjuku.
  • Place M – Photo gallery run by Daido Moriyama and others.
  • Photobook Diner Megutama 写真集 食堂
    Address: 3-2-7-1F Higashi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
    Phone/Fax: 03-6805-1838
    Hours: Weekdays- 11:30~23:00 (last order 22:00)
    Weekends /Holidays- 12:00~22:00(last order 21:00), Closed: Mondays (if Monday is a holiday, we will close on Tuesday).
    Eatery near Ebisu Station with 5,000 photobooks for customers to browse freely. From the collection of Iizawa Kohtaro, a well-known photo critic.
  • JCII Camera Museum (English website) 日本カメラ博物館 Map – Operated by the JCII (Japan Camera and Optical Instruments Inspection and Testing Institute), this museum which opened in 1989 has a collection of over 4,000 cameras made in Japan and overseas. The permanent exhibition shows historical cameras. Special exhibitions are also held. Admission charged. The museum also has an excellent collection of vintage Japanese photographs. Booklets for past special exhibits are available. In the building next door, you can also visit the JCII Photo Salon and library. Near Hanzomon Station (Hanzomon subway line) Exit 4 (Diamond Hotel). After exiting the hotel, go to the right. Then turn right into the first road. Walk a little more and you will see JCII Photo Salon and later the museum on the right in an adjacent building. Phone: (03) 3263-7110

A comprehensive English list of other galleries, museums, and exhibition spaces in Tokyo and Kanagawa (Yokohama, etc.) which may show photography exhibitions is provided by Tokyo Art Beat at the following Web page:

http://www.tokyoartbeat.com/venue/

They also have a list of exhibition spaces in the Kanto area outside Tokyo, such as in Saitama, Chiba, Ibaraki, and Tochigi:

http://www.tokyoartbeat.com/list/venue_area_other

This page lists current photo exhibitions in the Tokyo/Kanto area:

http://www.tokyoartbeat.com/list/event_type_print_photo_bypopular

TOTTORI PREFECTURE

  • Shiotani Teiko Photo Memorial Museum 塩谷定好写真記念館 Map – Shiotani’s family converted Teiko’s Japanese-style home into a beautiful museum showing Teiko’s pictorialist prints. The building is a National Registered Tangible Cultural Property in a rural town called Kotora between Tottori and Yonago cities. Closed Tue. About a 20-min. walk from JR Akasaki Station (San’in Main Line). Phone: (0858) 55-0120
  • Shoji Ueda Museum of Photography 植田正治写真美術館 Map – This chic-looking museum opened in Sept. 1995, housing the photographs of the honorable UEDA Shoji (1913-2000). He is most noted for his Tottori Sand Dune pictures where he places people like objects in the sand. He donated his photographs (about 12,000) to Kishimoto-cho, the town where the museum is located. The crescent-shaped museum itself is a work of art, and the architect, Shin Takamatsu, won an award for it. It’s one of Japan’s must-see photo museums. The museum faces Mt. Daisen, Tottori Prefecture’s most prominent mountain, and the museum is designed to give you a clear view of the mountain. The museum consists of four box-shaped buildings. Three of them are gallery spaces which show his photographs. The fourth building is a giant camera obscura with the world’s largest camera lens on the wall facing Mt. Daisen. When the lens is opened, you can see the outside scene (of Mt. Daisen) projected upside down on the opposite wall.To reach the museum via public transportation, you have to get to Yonago Station first. From there, you can take a local train to Kishimoto Station. The museum is a 5-min. taxi ride from Kishimoto Station. Museum is closed during winter from Dec. to Feb.Few train runs from Yonago, so check the train schedule ahead of time. There are also buses from Yonago Station. However, therre aren’t that many buses and it takes over an hour because it goes to other places before reaching the museum. If you are pressed for time, just take a taxi from Yonago Station to the museum. It will cost about 3,000 yen and 15 min. Phone: (0859) 39-8000
  • Yonago City Museum of Art (Yonago-shi Bijutsukan) 米子市美術館 Map – Opened in 1983. The museum’s collection includes paintings, pottery and photographs by local artists. The photo collection has about 650 fine-art prints by Tottori photographer UEDA Shoji, SHIOTANI Teiko, and members of the Yonago Shayukai photo club active in the 1920s and ’30s. Near JR Yonago Station (15-min. walk or 5-min. bus ride, get off at Shiyakusho-mae). Phone: (0859) 34-2424

TOYAMA PREFECTURE

  • Fukuoka Camera Museum ミュゼふくおかカメラ館 Map – Takaoka, Toyama. A classic camera museum. Holds photo exhibitions on occasion. The beautiful building was designed by Ando Tadao. Small admission charged. Near JR Fukuoka Station on the Hokuriku Line. Phone: (0766) 64-0550

WAKAYAMA PREFECTURE

  • The Museum of Modern Art, Wakayama (Wakayama Kenritsu Kindai Bijutsukan) 和歌山県立近代美術館 – Opened in 1970, this museum was Japan’s fifth public museum devoted to modern art. It later moved to the current building built in 1994. The museum’s collection centers on print artists. Its photo collection has about 200 prints by Japanese and overseas artists such as SUGIMOTO Hiroshi, MORIMURA Yasumasa, Ei Q, and Cindy Sherman. From JR Wakayama Station, take a bus and get off at Kencho-mae (10-min. ride). Or from Nankai Wakayama-shi Station, take the bus at Bus Stop No. 9 and get off at Kencho-mae (7-min. ride). The museum is across from wakayama Castle and the Wakayama Prefectural Office (Kencho). Phone: (073) 436-8690

YAMAGATA PREFECTURE

  • Ken Domon Museum of Photography 土門拳記念館 Map – In Sakata, a modern museum dedicated to Ken Domon, a legendary Japanese photographer. The museum has 70,000 works by Domon as well as works by past winners of the Domon Ken Photo Award. From Sakata Station (JR Uetsu Main Line), take the Run Run bus for a 16-min. ride. Or from Shonai Airport, take the limousine bus (takes 30 min.). The museum is within Iimoriyama Park. Phone: (0234) 31-0028

YAMAGUCHI PREFECTURE

Hayashi Tadahiko exhibition room at Shunan City Museum of Art and History.

  • Shunan City Museum of Art and History (Tokuyama-shi Bijutsu Hakubutsukan) 周南市美術博物館 – Opened in 1995 as a museum introducing the history of Tokuyama and art works by Japanese and overseas artists. The photography collection centers on 1,514 works of renown photographer HAYASHI Tadahiko (1918-1990) who was a native of Tokuyama. There is a very impressive HAYASHI Tadahiko Memorial Room (林忠彦記念室) exhibiting his works. He is best known for portraits of famous Japanese writers (especially SAKAGUCHI Ango sitting in a room full of trashed paper) and post-war photos of a war-ruined Tokyo. The exhibition room even has a replica of a bar in Tokyo’s Ginza that was a watering hole for many writers that Hayashi photographed after WWII. (Photos here) 5 min. by taxi from JR Tokuyama Station. Buses also available, get off at Dobutsuen Bunka Kaikan Iriguchi. On Wed., Fri., weekends, and national holidays, there’s a special bus running once an hour. Get off at Bijutsu Hakubutsukan-mae. Phone: (0834) 22-8800

YAMANASHI PREFECTURE

  • Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts 清里フォトアートミュージアム Map – Opened in July 1995 with Hosoe Eikoh as the museum’s director. For its annual “Young Portfolio” project, the museum selects, purchases, and exhibits photos taken by young photographers (under 35) or taken when the photographer was young (in their 20s). Works by many young overseas photographers are also selected for the museum’s collection.
    The museum’s basic philosophy is “having a feeling for life” whether its people or nature. Platinum prints (IZU Kenro, etc.) and works by famous overseas photographers (Robert Frank, William Klein, Edward Weston, etc.) are also in the museum’s large collection. Admission charged. At Kobuchizawa Station on the JR Chuo Main Line, transfer to the JR Koumi Line and get off at Kiyosato Station. 10 min. by car from Kiyosato Station. Phone: (0551) 48-5599
  • Kawaguchi-ko Museum of Art 河口湖美術館 Map – Public art museum opened in 1991 near the shore of Lake Kawaguchi, one of the Fuji Five Lakes at the foot of Mt. Fuji. The museum’s photography collection centers on the works of OKADA Koyo (1895-1972) who photographed Mt. Fuji. The museum also holds an annual Mt Fuji photo contest and 100 works are selected for an exhibition at the museum during Jan. to March. Admission charged. 10-min. bus ride from Kawaguchi-ko Station on the Fuji Kyuko Line. Take the bus at stop 2 or 4. Phone: (0555) 73-2829
  • Shiro Shirahata Photo Gallery 南アルプス山岳写真館・白籏史朗記念館 – Mountain climbers and photographers will enjoy the museum’s display of photos of Japan’s southern alps taken by the late SHIRAHATA Shiro, a noted mountaineer photographer. About 40 of his photos are displayed from a collection of 150. The museum opened in a new and much larger building in 1991. Admission includes entry to the nearby History and Folk Museum (Rekishi Minzoku Shiryokan). From Minobu Station (JR Minobu Line), take a bus (for Narada) and get off at the last stop. Phone: (0556) 48-2552

Vintage Japanese postcards

In the late 1990s, we had an English-speaking postcard collectors’ club in Tokyo called the Postcard and Paper Collectible Club of Japan founded by Jason P. Smith. It was active with regular meetings, but it soon became defunct after Jason moved away from Tokyo in the early 2000s.

I joined the club and hosted the club’s website called PostcardGuide Japan – A Guide to Postcard Collecting in Japan. The website had a mix of content created by myself and a few core members of the club. Here are links to the content we had. A few pages have been updated in early 2000s, while others are outdated but still might be interesting.

Video below is Japanese TV program “Nandemo Kanteidan” (なんでも鑑定団) which was broadcast in August 2000 with Jason Smith showing his pierrot postcards. They appraised the value of his cards.

Nikon Museum opens

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The new Nikon Museum has opened on the second floor of Nikon’s head office in Shinagawa, Tokyo. It is to mark the 100th anniversary of Nikon’s foundation in 2017.

The swank museum has 580 m2 of exhibition space to show all their products, including a showcase of 450 Nikon cameras dating back to 1948. Other exhibits show Nikon’s other products such as steppers, microscopes, and binoculars. Very comprehensive exhibits on Nikon’s history and technologies.

There is also a museum shop selling Nikon merchandise like postcards and tote bags.

For more details and a map, see the Nikon Museum web page:

http://www.nikon.com/news/2015/1001_museum_01.htm

Early Nikon cameras.

Early Nikon cameras.

Nikon's first camera.

Nikon’s first camera.

Nikon Museum's floor layout.

Nikon Museum’s floor layout.

Sayoko Yamaguchi exhibition at MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART TOKYO

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Excellent exhibition about super fashion model Sayoko Yamaguchi now at the MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART TOKYO in Kiba until June 28, 2015. Titled “Sayoko Yamaguchi,The Wearist Clothed in the Future.”

Sayoko was Japan’s first world famous fashion model active on catwalks from the early 1970s to the 1980s. There has never been a Japanese fashion model like her ever. Her makeup, her image, her aura, and Japaneseness were in a class all by herself. I’m sure that without all that makeup, she was just a plain Jane Japanese woman. But somehow her spirit made her super special.

She was a great advocate of Japanese culture, making even the chawan cut (bob or bowl cut) look cool and fashionable. Sadly, she died in 2007 at age 57. The exhibition is very interesting with displays of her possessions (dressmaking sketches, etc.) from the 1970s, exquisite fashion photos of her (mostly by Noriaki Yokosuka), video clips of her on the catwalk, short films, Shiseido posters of her, and very impressive lifesize Sayoko mannequins. If you like high fashion, Japanese culture, and/or 1970s pop culture, this is a must-see. Read more about Sayoko here (photobook review).

Hours: 10 am – 6 pm, closed Mon.
Near Kiba Station on the Tozai subway line and Kiyosumi-shirakawa Station on the Hanzomon Line.

Adult: ¥1,200
University & College Student, Over 65yrs old: ¥900
High School & Junior High School Students: ¥600
Free for Elementary School & Under

http://www.mot-art-museum.jp/eng/

Selfie sticks catching on in Japan

Selfie sticks in Japan.

Selfie sticks in Japan.

Would you believe that the selfie stick (called jidoribo in Japanese 自撮り棒) was invented by a Japanese man about 30 years ago? The invention was registered in Japan and the US as “Telescopic extender for supporting compact camera” in 1985. However, the patent expired in 1993. The inventor got very little royalties. Too bad, he was ahead of his time. People at the time thought it would look too awkward or nerdy to be using such a contraption. So it never caught on and the inventor didn’t bother to renew the patents.

In Japan, most people I see using a selfie stick are foreign tourists. However, selfie sticks are getting popular among the Japanese as well. I see that camera shops in Tokyo have a large selection of selfie sticks designed for smartphones.

Be aware that some museums and zoos in Japan are starting to ban selfie sticks (along with tripods). Also, in train stations (like on the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line), selfie sticks are banned because you could get electrocuted if the stick gets too close (within 2 meters) of the power lines above the train cars. Your stick can get electrocuted even without physical contact with the power lines. Just get close enough, you or your smartphone might get fried.

Otherwise, use your common sense when you take out your selfie stick in Japan. Make sure you don’t hit or poke anyone. I guess fewer people will ask me to take their photos from now on.

CP+ 2015 Yokohama Camera Show

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Profoto/Hasselblad booth’s artificial leg fashion show on Feb. 14, 2015.

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Went to see Japan’s largest camera show that is CP+ 2015 in Yokohama on Feb. 14, 2015. Good weather, no snow, and lots of people.

First I attended a talk by special guest Martin Parr in a large conference room at 11 am. He showed slides of his collection of photos on plates and trays, photos of Margaret Thatcher (whom he hated) on various paraphernalia, and other things. Then he showed images from several of his photo books. He’s British and basically a street photographer (besides being the president of Magnum Photos). He is always pursuing different shooting themes. One favorite theme is the beach. Although he travels the world, much of his work focuses on his home country in the UK.
MartinParrCPplusAnother theme is boring and mundane scenes. He even went to a town called Boring, Oregon and made of photo book of it. Many names on signs were preceded by “Boring” so it made for some funny official signs like “Boring Town Office.”

He pointed out that photos of mundane scenes which nobody photographs (like one of a woman filling gas at a gas station) become interesting after time. I certainly agree with this, but you may have to reach certain age before you can realize and appreciate this.

He even made an “awful” photo book showing awful photos with awful book/graphic design printed on bad paper with printing mistakes. His photo book of “bad weather” photos was also opposite of what most people like to shoot (nice sunny days). He has a playful attitude and always pushing his own imagination as to what to pursue.

I really enjoyed his talk and slides, but was disappointed that he did not show his photos of Japan. He has about 100 photo books to his credit. However, compared to Araki Nobuyoshi and Moriyama Daido, he called himself an “amateur” since Araki has published several hundred photo books. Perhaps he didn’t want us to compare his “amateurish” street photos of Japan with Araki’s/Daido’s. Or perhaps he didn’t want to show clichéd photos we’ve already seen.

He admits that he takes lots of photos so he can chose the best ones. Most shots are not usable he said. Well, that goes for most of us.

Martin talked for an hour and the last 30 min. was a Q&A session. I was able to ask him what Japanese photographers should do to become more well-known outside Japan. His answer was, “Take great photographs.” He also advised that being able to speak English also helps. He cited Kawauchi Rinko as one of his favorite Japanese photographers. When he met her 10 years ago at Rencontres d’Arles festival, Arles, France in 2004, she didn’t know anyone in Europe and couldn’t speak English well. But now she has improved her English and has friends in Europe.

Another foreign person in the audience asked Martin about model releases for his street photos. Martin replied that he does not ask anyone for any model releases. “It’s not a problem in Europe or the US.” Martin was surprised to hear that it was stricter in Japan. However, I doubt that most street photographers in Japan actually obtain model releases. The chances of being sued for a street photo you publish in a book, etc., is so slim. As long it’s not for advertising or commercial purposes.

Martin also mentioned that they want more diversity in male-dominated Magnum Photos. So they are looking for young Japanese photographers (especially female). So apply if you think you qualify.

Ice sculpture of eagles at the Canon booth. It melts within a day so they built a new ice sculpture for each day of the show.

Ice sculpture of eagles at the Canon booth. It melts within a day so they built a new ice sculpture for each day of the show.

Low-end quadcopters from DJI.

Low-end quadcopters from DJI.

As for the camera show, all the major Japanese players were there as usual. GoPro was missing, but Chinese quadcopter drone maker had a booth strewn with their quadcopters including one that was flying tethered above a stage. Their cheapest model can fly for about 25 min. They also had a large, expensive model that can carry a Canon 5D D-SLR camera aloft.

NHK was demonstrating 8K video which looked nice, but can’t really tell it apart from 4K. They should have a side-by-screen with 4K for comparison.

What stole the show in my mind was the Profoto/Hasselblad booth’s fashion show featuring young female amputees in a fashion/cosplay show for artificial legs. Very impressive. Hats off to the girls and the people who staged the show that was held only on the 14th.

3D capture of your face for a 3D printout. From Mutoh.

3D capture of your face for a 3D printout. From Mutoh.

3D printing of your face fitted on a body of your choice. Costs about ¥6,000.

3D printing of your face fitted on a body of your choice. Costs about ¥6,000.

Realistic 3D printed sculptures from Mutoh. Created from a full-length photo booth. Cost is about ¥100,000.

Realistic 3D printed sculptures from Mutoh. Created from a full-length photo booth. Cost is about ¥100,000.

The amputee fashion show was held twice only on Feb. 14, 2015.

The amputee fashion show was held twice only on Feb. 14, 2015.

This company knows how to attract attention.

This company knows how to attract attention.

Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography closed until autumn 2016

The Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography in Yebisu Garden Place near Ebisu Station in Tokyo is currently closed due to major renovations. It closed on September 24, 2014. It plans to reopen in September 2016. During the closure, works cannot be viewed or loaned out. The museum library also cannot be used.

Museum curators will still be employed and will be busy planning exhibitions, updating databases, doing research/PR, etc.  Website here

Shooting festivals in Japan

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Spring has many festivals (matsuri) all over Japan. I’ve always been a festival freak or matsuri maniac. So how do you shoot great pictures of matsuri? Here are 10 tips for shooting matsuri in Japan:

1. Do your homework. Study up on the matsuri and find out all the details: exact time, place, route (if it’s parade), etc. Unfortunately, most such information is in Japanese only. If there’s any English info, it’s usually only basic and not exact. (Producing detailed English information is laborious and most official tourist information sources don’t do it.) Online information and printed materials are often not enough for the serious photographer. I often end up calling the festival organizer to find out more details. Or I ask a knowledgeable person at the festival site. So Japanese ability can make a big difference in putting you at the right place at the right time during the matsuri (unless you’re a press photographer or with a knowledgeable guide).

2. Search for online images/videos of the matsuri. You can then get a good visual idea of the festival and identify key vantage points and the shots you want. Before the Internet, the first thing that stock/pro photographers would do when shooting something for the first time is to look at picture postcards at local tourist shops. That’s where they got ideas for shooting. Now it’s from online images. For obscure festivals, there are more matsuri images from Japanese sources. Search for the matsuri in Japanese in such cases.

3. Go early and case the place. Walk around and look for good spots for shooting. If necessary, claim your spot by placing a tripod, etc., where you want to shoot (especially at a parade). Note that there are many maniacal photographers in Japan and they will show up early at the best shooting spots.

4. Often times, you won’t get the best shots when you shoot a matsuri for the first time. But if you see it again, you will know what will happen and where. Armed with better knowledge and experience, you will be able to shoot better shots the second time around.

5. Most people in a festival would be happy to pose for you if you ask them. As long as they’re not busy at the moment.

6. Using a step ladder can be good or bad/dangerous, depending on how crowded it is. Don’t use a step ladder where there is a moving crowd of people. They can trip over the ladder and knock you down.

7. For crowded matsuri, best not to carry a large camera bag. People will bump into it, shaking you and your shot. People (especially kids) getting hit by your bag or camera may also get upset or hurt.

8. Besides bad weather, the festival photographer’s worst enemy is another photographer. And these days, almost everyone is another photographer with a camera phone in hand. Not to mention the hordes of amateur and elderly Japanese photographers. Expect some great shots to be ruined by a camera-wielding hand/arm/head/body in your shot.

9. When showing your matsuri photos to people and friends, you should explain what the matsuri is about. How it originated and the significance of the matsuri. Such basic details will increase the viewer’s interest in the photos much more. This might be hard if such information is in Japanese only and you cannot read Japanese.

10. JNTO has a good list of festivals in Tokyo and other parts of Japan, but the info is not that detailed. http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/pdf/newsletter.html

Good luck to you!

More matsuri photos here.

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