©Photo by Nadila

Tokyo Art Scene: Art Villages in Shibuya

A Stroll Through Tokyo’s Busiest District

By Nadila
July 13, 2023
Art & Culture

Savvy Tokyo introduces three art spots in Shibuya for those looking to wind down in between shopping sprees or to get away from the bustling crowd.

There is a reason why Shibuya is always roaming with people. From the rows of bars that line up the back alleys to the towering department stores filled to the brim with clothing stores, there is always something for everyone in one of Tokyo’s busiest districts—including art enjoyers. We introduce three gallery spaces, including one art village located in the Shibuya area. 

Design Festa Gallery

© Photo by Nadila
The West entrance to Design Festa Gallery shows a bright pink exterior.

The birthplace of “kawaii culture,” Harajuku is an art and subculture center. Walk through Cat Street which connects the trendy neighborhood with Shibuya, and you will find a house colored in pink and decorated with a web-like sculpture made of pipes. The building, which houses a total of 21 exhibition rooms and 55 exhibition spaces, is Design Festa Gallery. Since its establishment in 1998, the institution has focused on providing platforms for independent artists to showcase and sell their work.

© Photo by Nadila
Interactive spaces in the gallery allow visitors to draw on umbrellas.

Exhibited works vary daily, so visitors can expect to find something new with each visit. The artists often stop by the exhibition spaces to share their stories and interact with visitors. Traversing along the building also makes for a fun art stroll, with murals covering the walls and exhibition rooms in each crook of the establishment. Inside the building is a restaurant and cafe for visitors to relax during a hot day. 

© Photo by Nadila
The walls of the East building are tattooed with drawings.

Parco Museum Tokyo

© Photo by Shibuya Parco website
Parco Museum Tokyo is located inside Parco Shibuya surrounded by stylish stores.

In Japan, department stores have become one of the popular destinations for shopping. Shibuya has a bundle to choose from, including the stylish Parco Shibuya, which reopened in late-2022. Floors are packed with various clothing stores ranging from luxury to street. The top floors are occupied by a cinema, a rooftop park and specialty stores, including the Pokemon Center. Parco’s art space is located on the fourth floor among the hip fashion and interior design stores, which frequently houses solo exhibitions by contemporary artists.

© Photo by Nadila
Kim Jungyoun’s “Keep Walking Series”. Parco Museum Tokyo often houses solo exhibitions of contemporary artists and illustrators, including South Korean artist Kim Jungyoun, who had his solo exhibition late June this year.

Much of the special exhibits held by Parco Museum Tokyo revolve around youth and pop culture, highlighting artists and illustrators closely related to anime & films, fashion and design. Upcoming events include a solo exhibition of animator Shu Yonezawa and an anniversary exhibition of musical artist Nissy.

© Photo by Nadila
A collection of Kim Jungyoun’s sketches and advertising works displayed in the gallery during the artist’s solo exhibition.

d47 Museum

© Photo by Hikarie Creative Space 8/ website
Located on the eighth floor of Shibuya Hikarie is the Creative Space, which contains several gallery and art spaces, including the d47 museum.

Walk out of Shibuya station and you will be greeted by a crowd of tall glass skyscrapers. Shibuya Hikarie is one of the large department stores in the area. With an abundance of shops, restaurants and a theater, Hikarie is brimming with people. On the 8th floor is the Creative Space, which includes several galleries, a restaurant, a bookstore and a creative lounge. Gallery spaces include “Cube 1, 2, 3”—which changes its exhibition every two weeks, “Bunkamura Gallery 8/”—an extension of Bunkamura, which is located around Shibuya, and “d47 Museum.”

© Photo by Nadila
The d47 Museum is known for displaying works on tables.

Unlike other galleries, the d47 museum displays its materials on square tables instead of wall or glass displays. The name “d47” is derived from the word “design” and the number 47 to signify the number of prefectures in Japan. There are 47 tables, each representing a prefecture. Based on the theme of their special exhibitions, each table will display a product or artwork representative of the prefecture. Sharing a space with the museum is the d47 shop, which sells handmade crafts and local products.

© Photo by Nadila
A model of a meal was displayed as part of a travel exhibition introducing Kanagawa Prefecture.

Shibuya is a melting pot of various subcultures. It is also a space where self-expression is encouraged and the arts are celebrated. When we talk about art in Tokyo, Shibuya is a place not to be missed. 

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