The National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto Opens Meiji Era Exhibition
14.September.2021 | SPOT
A special exhibition titled ‘Japanese Landscapes Discovered: Views from and for the Outside World,’ showcasing a private collection of Meiji era paintings, is now on display at the National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto until October 31, 2021.
Inside the Exhibit
Inside the Exhibit
This exhibition is designed to take visitors on a journey through the Meiji period (1868-1912), the beginning of Japan’s modern era, through oil and watercolor paintings of the time, and through the landscapes and customs depicted in these pieces of art. During this time, many foreign painters visited Japan, and were inspired to paint the country’s beautiful landscapes and unfamiliar customs, bringing these creations back to their countries of origin. Japanese artists studied these unfamiliar painting techniques, and made their own culturally-inspired paintings, often selling them to foreign visitors as souvenirs.
Many works on display in this exhibition have never been shown publicly, with many being brought back to Japan from locations abroad. These include long-lost oil paintings by Kuroda Seiki and a massive newly-discovered work by Tamura Soryu. Other Japanese artists inspired by Western-style on display include Hiroshi Yoshida, Jirokichi Kasagi, Shotaro Koyama, and Ioki Bunsai.
Also on display are works by foreign artists who visited Japan during this period, including British news painter Charles Wirgman, French news painter Georges Bigot, and British landscape painters Alfred Parsons, Alfred East, and John Varley Jr. These three men in particular triggered a watercolor boom in Japan during the late Meiji period. Vibrant female painters such as British watercolorist Ella du Cane, a lover of Japanese gardens, also make an appearance.
Be sure to see these incredible depictions of Japan before they’re gone.
Japanese Landscapes Discovered: Views from and for the Outside World
Running: September 7 – October 31, 2021
Hours: 9:30-19:00 (Until 20:00 on Friday and Saturday)
Closed: Mondays, and on September 21. *The museum will be open September 20.
Tickets/Official Site: https://www.momak.go.jp/
*Admission is open until 30 minutes before closing.
*To prevent the spread of COVID-19, hours are subject to change. Please check hours before visiting.
NAKED’s Projection Mapping Show at Tokyo Tower Illuminates the City at Night
26.May.2022 | SPOT
Digital art collective NAKED has announced a new projection mapping show taking place at Tokyo Tower starting May 24! Welcome summer with the ‘Tokyo Tower City Light Fantasia ~Summer Landscape 2022~ event on the second floor of the 150-meter-high main deck of the classic landmark.
In 2019, the company introduced the ‘Tokyo Tower City Light Fantasia ~Cool Japanese Summer~ event, which has now been upgraded to a new version. Guests will now be treated to a colorful show highlighting the transition of the seasons in Japan from the rainy season to early summer to midsummer, filled with hydrangeas, sunflowers, and fireworks. Colorful flowers bloom in the rain giving way to a bright summer day complete with the sound of cicadas and bright white clouds in the sky. After the sun sets over the sunflower fields, fireworks light up the Tokyo sky.
The ‘Tokyo Tower City Light Fantasia’ nightscape event was planned, directed, and produced by NAKED, and began in 2014. By combining the night view from the observatory with projection mapping, guests can experience something one-of-a-kind.
Following the original launch of the event, it has traveled to towers and observatories around Japan including Abeno Harukas and the Nagoya TV Tower, playing off the particular characteristics of each locale.
This event isn’t the only thing going on at Tokyo Tower this summer. Guests can also enjoy the DANDELION PROJECT by NAKED and Ryotaro Muramatsu in the northwest section of the second floor of Tokyo Tower’s main deck. The project is based on the concept of world peace and harmony and was unveiled at Miyashita Park, Tokyo Tower, Gardens by the Bay in Singapore, and Nijo Castle in Kyoto in 2020. The networked art project invites guests to send their wishes for world peace on digital dandelion fluff to other locations where DANDELIONs are planted around the world, and these messages are delivered in real-time.
Come enjoy this incredible night view while you can!
CITY LIGHT FANTASIA ~Eternal Lights in TOKYO~
Venue: Tokyo Tower Main Deck (Height: 150m) 2F Facing North
Running: May 24 – September 4, 2022
May 24 – June 5, 19:00 – Close
June 6 – July 18, 19:30 – Close
July 19 – August 21, 19:00 – Close
August 22 – September 4, 18:30 – Close
Fee: The event is included in the price of observation deck admission.
Official Site: https://naked.co.jp
Rhythm Game BlackStar ~Theater Starless~ Gets Collaborative Event at Toei Kyoto Studio Park
Toei Kyoto Studio Park will be holding a special collaboration with the rhythm game BlackStar ~Theater Starless~ for a limited time, from June 4 until July 10, 2022.
The Theater Starless Uzumaki Branch will be open inside the park during the event period. 26 themed cast members will even be greeting guests!
A stamp rally will be taking place along the Keifuku Randen Tram Line and during the event, a special train featuring a newly-drawn illustration of the five main characters and 26 mini-characters will be running through the streets of Kyoto!
Limited tickets will be sold for a number of collaborative events being held in the park, so be sure to grab yours while you can!
BlackStar ~Theater Starless~ in Uzumaki
Running: June 4 – July 10, 2022
Venues: Toei Kyoto Studio Park, Arashiyama Station, etc.
Official Site: https://blackstar-uzumasa.jp/
Official Twitter: @Blackstar_uzms
Kyoto Sweets Shop Otabe Rereleases Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Snacks with New Designs
Otabe, one of the most popular sweets souvenir shops in Kyoto, Otabe, is known for its delicious matcha and mini-desserts. Starting May 12, the company has released nine uniquely packaged sweets inspired by Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. The limited-edition packaging will feature popular characters from the series. Previously, the company released matcha cakes for the crossover–this time, fans can enjoy choco-an flavor!
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Choco-an
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Matcha
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Otabe (with Original Sticker)
Original Sticker: 15 varieties, 1 given at random
Focusing on the hashira from the series, fans will want to be on the lookout for their favorite character. These sweets can be bought at select stations in the Kyoto and Osaka area, major Kyoto tourist attractions, and online. In addition, matcha flavored treats will also be on sale featuring Tanjiro Kamado, Nezuko Kamado, Zenitsu Agatsuma, Hashibira Inosuke, Kagaya Ubuyashiki, and Muzan Kibutsuji.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Choco-an
Release Date: May 12, 2022
Price: ¥432 (Tax Included)
Where to Buy: Train station in Kyoto & Osaka area, Major Kyoto tourist attractions, online.
Limited Edition Sake Released Alongside NFT Art to Share the Value of Japanese Spirits with the World
Two incredible new Junmai Daiginjo bottles, the highest-quality sake, have been released in limited quantities. Hitou ASCENDING and Touka ILLUMINATING were made by sustainable means and incorporate NFT art to share the process of sake creation with the world.
While sake companies keep traditional Japanese production methods alive, some are seeking to solve problems in the sake industry by turning to current technology, like the blockchain and NFTs. In this age of convenience and automation, this particular sake maker is aiming to show the true value and authenticity of Japanese craftsmanship to the rest of the world.
Certain types of sake can only be made and enjoyed at certain times of the year, as they are not suitable for storage at room temperature and can only be consumed for a brief period to get the best taste. Many sake fans around the world might not be aware of this, so the new NFT collaboration aims to educate!
The bottles contain unique ukiyo-e NFT art prints of a dragon and phoenix on the bottle, respectively. Those who purchase a bottle will also find the year of production and bottle number etched onto the glass with lacquer. Be sure to keep the bottle even after the delicious sake is gone!
Rice / Tobe Rice
In Tokamachi, Niigata Prefecture, farmers have been cultivating this unique brand of Koshihikari rice without the help of pesticides or fertilizers for over two decades. The rice is called the best in all of Japan, and one-third of its yield is used to make sake.
Water / Pure Groundwater
The Japan Median Tectonic Line, also known as the ‘Dragon’s Vein,’ is a massive fault line that is home to numerous sacred sites, including Suwa Grand Shrine, Toyokawa Inari Shrine, Tenkawa Benzaiten Shrine, Ise Grand Shrine, and the Koyasan Mountain. The groundwater found here is some of the purest found in Japan and flows from the Bungui Pass in Ina, Nagano Prefecture. The pass has been featured in many publications as one of the most famous power spots in Japan.
Brewing / Ono Brewery
While dealing with some of the harshest winter weather in Japan, the brewery has continued to create sake the old-fashioned way–with human hands. For the creation of these two bottles, the brewers took on the challenge of making a very small amount of sake, something they had never done before. Based on the concept of “making the most of the environment,” the rice was prepared in a special room with no air conditioning under the watchful eye of the master brewer.
Bottle Art/ Ukiyo-e Artist, Shun
The art displayed on the bottle is printed in a unique way, allowing it to be put on display separately. The Japanese-style art is perfect for the collaboration and was inspired by one specific hope: that a new path will open to those who work hard after the many difficulties and troubles caused by the pandemic.
Bottle Making / Maruyoshi Kosaka Wood & Urushi Works
The circular label symbolizes the moon (water) and the sun (fire), each representing a world where different values are not only accepted but welcomed. Hand-painted and made with pure platinum and gold leaf by the talented craftsman at Maruyoshi Kosaka Wood & Urushi Works in Shiojiri, Nagano, these advanced painting techniques are sure to impress.
Each Bottle Features the Brewing Year, Number Printed in Lacquer
Marked with a unique serial number, all proceeds from the sales of these special sakes will be used to maintain and promote sustainable agriculture, support sake brewers, and bring traditional Japanese craftsmanship to the world.
Junmai Daiginjo – ‘Hitou ASCENDING,’ ‘Touka ILLUMINATING’
Official Site: https://hitoutouka.com/
Hydrangea Parfait Featuring Local Matcha Available at Itohkyuemon in Kyoto
Located in Uji, Kyoto, matcha shop Itohkyuemon was founded in the late Edo period. Three cozy locations have just launched a Hydrangea Parfait, perfect for spring.
The shop’s main location is headquartered in Uji, which is also home to Mimuroto Temple, known for its hydrangeas. The flowery location attracts thousands of tourists during the rainy season.
The Hydrangea Parfait has been offered since 2013, now celebrating its 10th year. The popular seasonal treat features matcha hydrangea mashed sweet potatoes, hydrangea-colored jelly, leaf-shaped matcha cookies, and blueberries. Those ordering a parfait will also receive a hydrangea coaster as a gift, so why not enjoy the rainy season with something sweet to lift your spirits?
Itohkyuemon Hydrangea Parfait
Release Date: May 13, 2022
Participating Locations: Uji store, JR Uji Stationfront store, Shijo-dori store
EMOCAL, a Project to Support Japanese Regions, Releases Music Using Local Sound Samples
The EMOCAL project aims to support small-town areas of Japan. As a new initiative in the project, specific soundscapes only found in certain areas of the country have been combined with music to create some unique tracks. A selection of musical artists have collaborated with the project to bring these songs to life!
EMOCAL was created by ZOWA’s original label, CatchyStuck. The project supports local regions and communities by using ASMR soundscape videos recorded in each region to convey their particular charms to all of Japan. The sounds recorded in each place are considered to be very valuable and are intended to serve two purposes: to bring tourism back after the pandemic and to provide fans of ASMR a way to experience these areas from afar.
Check out each of these unique ambient tracks created by four up-and-coming musicians! Each song is available on viviON’s ASMR platform ZOWA and on Spotify.
Ube, Yamaguchi Prefecture / Ikkyuu x Hige Driver, I Love Ikkyuu
Beard Driver created this ambient track with sounds recorded inside of Ikkyuu, a ramen shop.
Odawara, Kanagawa Prefecture / Miyuki no Hama x Powerless, Seiren
Powerless created this track, inspired by the sounds of waves crashing at Miyuki no Hama, a seaside recreation area 20 minutes from Odawara Station.
Shizuoka, Shizuoka Prefecture / Wasabi Field x baker, On the silent hill
Utogi in Shizuoka city is surrounded by incredible nature. Known as the birthplace of wasabi cultivation, baker used sounds recorded in the area to create this ambient track.
Ibusuki, Kagoshima Prefecture / Cape Tara x SeA0, Akushu
Cape Tara is a popular spot featuring an 800-meter-long sandbar at low tide. The sounds captured here were used by artist SeA0, and this track is sure to make you miss the water.
Official Site: https://catchystuck.jp/ambient/
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu Collaborates with Shelter Nanyo Hall in Yamagata for LOCAL POWER JAPAN Project
Last month, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu performed on the Gobi Stage at Coachella, one of the largest music festivals in the United States. The singer has now returned to Japan for the second half of her ‘Kyary Pamyu Pamyu 10th ANNIVERSARY JAPAN TOUR 2022 CANDY WAVE,’ seeing the singer performing 30 shows across Japan. The tour will conclude with a solo performance at Budokan in October.
In conjunction with the nationwide tour, the LOCAL POWER JAPAN Project was launched to energize Japan through the appeal of regional towns and cities and has been attracting major attention. Kyary’s newest collaboration in Yamagata has been announced ahead of her concert there on May 13!
The singer will be collaborating with Shelter Nanyo Hall in Nanyo, Yamagata, a small town of only around 30,000 people. The hall is the world’s largest wooden concert hall, made entirely from laminated local cedar. It uses the most advanced fire-resistant technology for wood in Japan and was certified as the world’s largest by Guinness World Records in December 2015. The multi-functional hall can seat over 1,400 people, and the property also features a Japanese-style tea room, meeting rooms, an open tree-growing space, and more.
“I want the local population to be incredibly proud of this magnificent wooden structure,” said Norihito Shimanuki, the hall’s director. “Through this concert hall, we’d like to promote Nanyo and Yamagata Prefecture both domestically and internationally.”
The collaboration logo for the newest partnership was inspired by the ‘KPP NANDA COLLECTION LIVE in HAWAII’ visual. The one-night-only concert was held in July 2014. Since the main focus of this team-up is ‘wood,’ the visual’s palm tree has been transformed into a cedar tree!
A collaborative T-shirt is also on sale featuring the new logo and the singer’s 10th-anniversary logo. The shirt is available on the LOCAL POWER JAPAN Project website for two weeks only starting May 12. Support Japanese businesses and pick one up while you can!
Shelter Nanyo Hall Yamagata (Nanyo City Cultural Hall) x Local Power Japan Project
Price: ¥3,300 (Tax Included)
Available: May 12 – May 25, 23:59
Where to Buy:
LOCAL POWER JAPAN Project Online Shop
Shelter Nanyo Hall (Nanyo City Cultural Hall): https://nanyoshi-bunkakaikan.jp
Tour Details: https://kpp10.jp/japantour2022/
Official Site: https://localpowerjapan.com
*Please allow two weeks to one month after order for product to ship. All items are made-to-order.
*A portion of shirt sales will be donated to local development and social programs.
Yunohana Onsen Resort Reveals Contemporary Art-Inspired Guest Rooms
Sumiya Kihoan, a cozy inn at Yunohana Onsen in Kameoka City in Kyoto, opened a unique new guest room on April 28, 2022. The room’s concept is “where guests can stay in the middle of contemporary art,” and was inspired by the works of internationally-acclaimed contemporary artist Yukinori Yanagi. The new room, created as part of the Art Room Project, has been named ‘Kofuu.’
The Icarus Corridor Connecting Heaven and Earth
Heavenly Bath Welcoming a Rainbow at Dusk
In-Ground Bath Featuring Oribe Glazed Ceramic
Concept Drawing of the Art Room Project by Yukinori Yanagi
The new room includes an open-air bath where guests can be transported into the world of Yanagi’s contemporary art while gazing at the gorgeous Kyoto landscape. Upon entering the inn, guests are greeted by a long corridor leading to the bedrooms, dining room, and two creative open-air baths. The space was created in collaboration with Yanagi and local artists and craftsmen, such as potter Ishii Naoto, obi craftsman Yamaguchi Genbei X, plasterer Kusumi Akira, and Japanese paper craftsman Hatano Wakaru. A delicious menu is prepared by chef Hosoi Kunihiko.
Ryokan Sumiya Kihoan
Address: Yunohana Onsen, Kameoka City, Kyoto
Room Details: https://hakutai.sumiya.ne.jp/artroom-kohoo/
Room Reservations: https://reserve.489ban.net/client/sumiya/0/plan/id/119287/stay?noSearch=1
Official Site: https://www.sumiya.ne.jp/
teamLab Opens 8th Annual Art Exhibition at Mifuneyama Rakuen in Saga Prefecture
From July 15 until November 6, 2022, the ‘teamLab: A Forest Where Gods Live’ exhibition at Mifuneyama Rakuen, an ancient forest at the Takeo Hot Springs in Saga Prefecture. The massive event is held each summer and fall and was named CNN World’s ‘Best Outdoor Art Exhibition to Visit’ in 2021 and one of the Top 10 Art Installations in the world by DesignboomMagazine in 2017.
Works on Display
Universe of Water Particles on a Sacred Rock, 2017
Drawing on the Water Surface Created by the Dance of Koi and Boats – Mifuneyama Rakuen Pond, 2015
Ever Blossoming Life Rock, 2017
Life is Continuous Light – Azalea Valley, 2017
Rock Wall Spatial Calligraphy, Continuous Life – Five Hundred Arhats, 2017
Split Rock and Enso, 2017
Resonating Forest – Cherry Blossoms and Maple, 2017
Megaliths in the Bath House Ruins, 2019
Graffiti Nature – Living in the Ruins of a Bathhouse, Red List, 2017-
Resonating Forest in the Ravine, 2019
Abstract and Concrete – Forest Entrance, 2018
Flowers Bloom in an Infinite Universe inside a Teacup, 2016
Forest and Spiral of Resonating Lamps in the Forest – One Stroke, Summer Forest, 2018
Mifuneyama is said to have risen from the Ariake Sea 3 million years ago. The 500,000 square meter Mifuneyama Rakuen Park was created in 1845, at the end of the Edo period. The park is home to megaliths, caves, and forests that have been slowly shaped over thousands of years. teamLab believes that the shapes and textures of these objects are important, serving as traces of ancient people and natural changes over time. The concept of the project is that non-material digital technology can turn nature into art without harming it.
The creative team will be holding a number of other high-profile exhibitions this year, including installations in Paris, Tallinn, Shanghai, and Geneva. Their sauna collaboration with TikTok for teamLab Reconnect in Roppongi made huge waves in 2021–guests would take alternating hot and cold baths to experience intense physical sensations while surrounded by digital art.
teamLab: A Forest Where Gods Live
Running: July 15 – November 6, 2022
Location: Mifuneyama Rakuen (4100 Takeo, Takeocho Oaza Takeo, Takeo City, Saga)
Official Site: https://www.teamlab.art/jp/e/mifuneyamarakuen/
Fendi and Harajuku Omotesando Keyaki-kai Collaborate on #FendiTsunaguOmotesando Art Project
Italian luxury fashion brand Fendi has teamed up with Harajuku Omotesando Keyaki-kai on a new street art project! ‘TSUNAGU – Omotesando Street Art Project’ was unveiled on April 29, 2022.
The project, which aims to improve the city’s scenery and share positive messages, is on display in Omotesando, a popular area with young people. The canvas is the formal site of the Oriental Bazaar, an iconic part of Omotesando for over four decades. Under the theme of ‘hope,’ three young artists will be displaying their artwork in a massive temporary enclosure on the site. Hopefully, Japan really will open tourism soon so that guests from around the world can enjoy these inspiring pieces!
The first piece of art was unveiled on April 29 and was drawn by Dai Tamura, a young Japanese artist who has attracted worldwide attention after becoming an illustrator for the NBA. The dynamic and powerful compositions vividly depict endangered animals and plants alongside delicate flowers to symbolize hope for the futures of these beautiful creatures.
Be sure to keep an eye out for the next installation coming soon!
TSUNAGU – Omotesando Street Art Project
Location: Oriental Bazaar Former Site
Address: 5-9-13 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Official Site: http://www.fendi.com
Kyoto’s Garden Museum Hiei Opens Limited-Time Collaboration Event with Violet Evergarden Anime Series
Kyoto’s Garden Museum Hiei has announced that it will host a collaboration event with Kyoto Animation’s Violet Evergarden anime franchise, entitled ‘A Story of Flowers and Letters,’ from May 3 to July 10, 2022.
The Garden Museum Hiei, an outdoor facility inspired by French Impressionism, sits near Mt. Hiei and is known for its incredible floral displays which change colors each season. “This scenery matches the image of the landscape depicted in the Violet Evergarden anime series, which led to the decision to hold this collaborative event,” the press release reads.
Visitors can enjoy collaboration visuals and standees that will only be available to see at the gardens. The event will also feature original merchandise, collaboration drinks, and a voice-recorded introduction to the facilities by Violet herself, voiced by Yui Ishikawa.
Violet Evergarden premiered in 2018. The main character, Violet, was trained to be a soldier and therefore has trouble expressing her emotions. In order to learn the meaning behind her commander’s final words, “I love you,” she embarks on a new path in life, writing letters on others’ behalf. A spin-off film was released in Japan in 2019, and a second film premiered in September 2020.
Violet Evergarden x Garden Museum Hiei ~A Story of Flowers and Letters~
Venue: Garden Museum Hiei
Running: May 3 – July 10, 2022
Popular illustrator and alcohol ink artist Jiji will release her first artbook in May!
This is the first collection of works by Jiji to be compiled and released. ‘Jiji ILLUSTRATION AND MAKING BOOK’ will include around 110 illustrations, including both past creations and new images made exclusively for the book’s release. The compiled illustrations were made in a variety of ways, including with alcohol ink, fountain pens, and by digital means.
Jiji ILLUSTRATION & MAKING BOOK
Release Date: May 2022
Price: ¥2,530 (Tax Included)