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“Small and specialised”

Ota Memorial Museum of Art
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Tokyo Private Custom Full-Day Walking Tour
Ranked #20 of 190 things to do in Shibuya
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: This small museum houses a collection of woodblock prints from noted artist Ota Seizo.
New Zealand
Level Contributor
258 reviews
135 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 224 helpful votes
“Small and specialised”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 15, 2013

This museum displays only Japanese prints, so there is a good collection if this is something you are interested in. I enjoyed looking at the exhibition, as some of the prints were quite humorous, and others were very beautiful.

The building is modern and very tranquil, despite being so close to the Omotesando shopping area. There is a gift shop which has some very good quality Japanese items, which are great souvenirs.

The museum is somewhat expensive (Y1000) but the works displayed in it are distinctively Japanese. It's a good place to see a different form of art.

Visited June 2013
1 Thank Selsy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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118 reviews from our community

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Shiki, Japan
Level Contributor
136 reviews
77 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 189 helpful votes
“A nice small exhibition, but for 1000 yen. Slightly badly maintained website.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 17, 2013

A friend recommended this museum to us. We were looking for somewhere that exhibits ukiyoe and hopefully somewhere that exhibits the artist Hokusai's work. This turned out to be a great place to go.

It's less than 5 minutes walk from Harajuku station. Quite Japanese in that we had to take off our shoes at the entrance and walk around in their slippers.

We got to see lots of works by Hokusai as that was what was on exhibition at the time. It was great to see the wood block prints. I'm not someone who is interested in art so much, but the pictures are so interesting and imaginative that it was easy to enjoy the exhibition. I especially enjoyed the depictions of supernatural creatures - pretty grotesque cartoon-like art.

There were 3 rooms to go round. It probably didn't take us more than 75 minutes. My one gripe would be that the admission fee of 1000 yen seems a bit steep in comparison to much larger museums in Ueno, but I suppose the chance to see original Hokusai works makes it worth it.

It's great for foreigners like me because all of the information was also given in English.

The museum's website, which I checked on a number of computers, was always a little confusing. The English page displayed a 'scrambled' calendar that was difficult to understand and read - fairly unhelpful.

However, I enjoyed visiting this museum and possibly I'll pop in again as they regularly change the exhibition.

Visited May 2013
1 Thank Mr.Ashwell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
81 reviews
44 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
“Lovely little museum located in trendy Harajuku”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 30, 2013

As a fan of ukiyo-e, I had to visit this place! I stopped by after the end of the New Year's holiday, so the prints on display were New Year's themed. ("The Great Wave" by Hokusai was on display!) There are not that many prints on display at once, but this allows you to spend more time examining each piece instead of feeling like you have to rush through the museum to see everything. Moreover, I like that the collection on display changes every few months so that there is always something new to see. Sometimes in Japan, museums don't offer much explanation of the piece you are looking at in English (only Japanese). But at this museum. the English explanations of each work were quite informative. Overall, the museum's facilities felt modern and well-maintained. They take very good care of their artwork so that it will be in good conditions for future generations.

The small, understated museum building is located in the heart of trendy Harajuku near many train and subway lines, making it very easily accessible. There are lockers for storage, which are free! You do need 100 yen for the deposit, but this is returned to you when you come to collect your stuff. After visiting the museum, you can get a bite to eat at one of the nearby trendy restaurants or cafés, or perhaps go shopping.

Visited January 2013
Thank Lisa B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
45 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Small but worth a look”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 15, 2013

If you're interested in Ukiyo-e, this museum is a must see. The depth of their collection — which changes constantly — is impressive.

One quirk is that the museum requires you to change into slippers before you enter, so make sure you are wearing socks (or have a pair with you if you are wearing sandals).

Visited March 2013
Thank ChristopherDillon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
La Mesa, CA.
Level Contributor
162 reviews
102 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 208 helpful votes
“Fantastic Museum for Ukiyo-e”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 26, 2013

With about 12,000 prints in the permanent collection and a strict policy of leaving prints on exhibit exposed to light for no more than 30 days, less 3 days each month to take down and rehang the next exhibit it will be many years before you can see all of the collection. On occasion they will have exhibits of materials borrowed from other Ukiyo-e museums abroad and in a few rather rare instances from museums in Japan.

This is a small private museum, in Harajuku about 100 meters down Omote Sando from the Yamanote Line and then to the left on a small street about 20 meters from the main avenue. It is a little hard to find but well worth the effort. For those who like Ukiyo-e (traditional Japanese woodblock prints) this is clearly the finest spot in Tokyo. All the "masters" are there as well as print artists who were talented but whose names are only known to experts in the field.

I live part time in Tokyo and have probably been to this museum 50 or 60 times and can honestly say that I have never failed to find something new and interesting. Granted some exhibits I have found more interesting than other, but such is life. The quality of their prints is excellent.

Do check their schedule as they are normally closed from about the 27th of the month until the 1st of the next month to rehang exhibits. And they close for about a week for the New Year's Holiday also closed on Mondays, which is fairly typical for most Japanese Museums.

There is a small gift shop on the basement level which sells tenugui (Japanese hand towels) which make for a great gift to bring back to the folks at home that will not take up a lot of weight or space in your luggage. They are mostly priced in the 1,200 - 1,500 yen range so not dreadfully expensive and characteristic of Edo period Japan.

Visited October 2012
Thank Ted C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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