Comfort Hotel Tokyo Higashi Nihombashi
1-10-11 Nihombashi Bakurocho
Phone: (81) 3 5645 3311
Fax: (81) 3 5645 3302
Arts & Museums
Housed in a room which is tastefully furnished in 18th century European style, is a collection of buttons made of various materials: pearls, ivory, gold and silver. After buttons became prevalent in the 13th Century, wealth and rank could be determined by the material from which one's buttons were crafted. Indeed, by law, commoners were restricted to the use of wooden and bone buttons only. A short informative video is available for viewing at the museum.
This gallery's owner, Yoshiji Mikami is extremely uncompromising in what he expects from his artists - and he expects complete and utter sincerity. There is less pressure on his artists to do well commercially although many of them tend to go on to be relatively successful anyway. By promoting and hosting exhibitions from new, local artists as well as international ones, Zenshi is doing its bit to support the next generation of artists.
Japanese culture is well-known for its off-the-beaten-approach to music, literature and art - two story gallery Parabolica-bis does nothing to challenge this assumption. Rather, it champions the weird and wonderful, with towering installations that cast ominous shadows on the walls; distorted nursery rhyme characters - it's all here and its guaranteed to fascinate. The building is a little hard to find but once you do, it's unmistakable - keep a look out for the specially designed round windows.
Kodak Photo Salon is one of the finest photo galleries in the city. The place hosts some amazing photo exhibits by renowned and upcoming photographers. You will get to check out the works done in different latest technologies right from digital to reel developed pictures. If you are fond of photography, Kodak Photo Salon is a definite must or you.
Both history and architecture buffs will appreciate the very contemporary building balanced on its landmark, gigantic pillars. Set in a stadium-sized expanse, a model of Nihonbashi (Japan's premier bridge) separates feudal Tokyo (Edo) from modern Tokyo (since 1868). In the permanent exhibition area, you will find original documents. Nostalgic aspects of everyday life are depicted to scale without the restriction of display cases. Ongoing enactments of various folk arts and crafts bring Japan's rich cultural traditions to life. Do not miss the models of the Edo Castle and the Kabuki Theater. See the website for visitor information and the event calendar.
Buddhism and art have been inextricably linked through the ages - monk Akiyoshi Taniguchi brought it to the next level with Kurenboh, which he calls a 'meditation gallery'. It is a small building next to the Chohouin Buddhist temple - in fact it's so small that only two visitors are permitted to view at a time. The art is mostly photographs from Taniguchi's own collection and each year there are two or three exhibitions of specially commissioned art. Visiting this gallery is by appointment only; check out the website for more details. Opening hours vary by event.
The Mitsui Memorial Museum houses priceless paintings and other works of art that have been wonderfully preserved by the Mitsui family. One can get a deep insight into Japanese culture over the centuries. Check website for details of upcoming events.
After touring the visitors' gallery of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, drop by the small museum. Woodblock prints, stock certificates, graphs, directives (from the Allied Occupation's General Headquarters in 1949) outlining guidelines for trading and various other historical documents are in the collection.
This two-floor building is dedicated to the memory of an early Edo writer of travel sketches, Matsuo Basho (1644-1694). He was also a poet who was pivotal in bringing haiku to the level of art. The detailed maps of his walks are particularly noteworthy. He produced excellent haiku as a result of his five-month trip through northern Honshu, then the least developed area in Japan. For serious enthusiasts there is a special room for haiku works-in-progress and recitations. A garden and a glimpse of the Sumida River add to the special ambiance.
Various travel modes are displayed, including steam locomotives, bicycles, and even a mock-up of a Japan Air Lines passenger cabin. Children will enjoy the experience of being a "conductor" on Japan Railways' Yamanote circle route. Horse-drawn carriages, coal-powered taxis and steel-wheeled cycles are just a few of the treats in store here. Many displays are "hands on" items. On the fourth floor, snacks can be eaten in a train dining-car.
The use of tortoise-shell to make elaborate hair ornaments reached a zenith during Tokyo's Edo Period (pre-1868). This precious material has also been incorporated into some of the items in the Shoso-in treasures, a collection which is exhibited in the city of Nara each autumn. Displays at this Yokoami museum include craftsmen's tools which have been used to produce a variety of accessories such as brooches and necklaces.
Historically worn outdoors and crafted in leather, "tabi" are traditional pieces of Japanese footwear. Cotton tabi have been made for indoor use and worn with formal Japanese dress since the Tokugawa Era. Usually men wear black and women wear white. Amongst other exhibits in this small specialty museum are tabi of sumo wrestlers including a pair belonging to the American champion, Konishiki.