WATARI-UM Art Museum
Contemporary Art Museum in Shibuya, Tokyo
The Watari Museum of Contemporary Art (ワタリウム美術館) or just WATARI-UM is an art museum located in Shibuya, Tokyo. It is one of the major institutions in the contemporary visual arts field and also exhibits the works of graffiti and landscape artists.
It is located in the beautiful Aoyama neighborhood near Harajuku. The popular cherry blossom viewing spot Aoyama Cemetery is just a short walk away as well as Omotesando.
The museum is usually closed on Mondays and around New Year. Every Wednesday the museum has longer opening hours until 21:00. The general admission fee is ¥1,000.
- One of the most popular museums in Shibuya
- One of the major contemporary art institutions in Japan and Asia
- Can be combined with a nice stroll through Harajuku
- Near Aoyama Cemetery, a popular cherry blossom viewing spot in Tokyo
The WATARI-UM Art Museum was designed by Swiss architect Mario Botta and opened in September of 1990. Its nickname WATARI-UM is a combination of the founder’s family name “Watari” and the last syllable of “museum”.
Cute, isn’t it (｡⌒◡⌒｡)?
The museum exhibits artworks of Japanese and international artists. In the past exhibitions of for example Mike Kelley, Nam June Paik, John Lurie, and Barry McGee were held.
Together with the Mori Art Museum in Roppongi and the famous 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa, it is one of the major museums focusing on contemporary visual arts.
3 – 4 exhibitions are held each year showing Japanese and international artists – famous ones and newcomers alike. Past exhibitions included works by Yoko Ono, Mike Kelley, Nam June Paik, and Keith Haring for example. Sometimes they also invite graffiti and landscape artists that make use of the surrounding streets as well.
Plan Your Visit
After indulging in the beauty of the contemporary artworks on 3 different floors you can enjoy a cup of tea or coffee at the cafe on the basement floor. Or, you can check out their celebrated art bookstore. It’s one of the best in Tokyo! Also before going home take a look at the art postcards they are selling in the museum shop on the first floor.
|Name||Watarium Art Museum|
|Address||3 Chome-7-6 Jingumae, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0001|
|Japanese Address||〒150-0001 東京都渋谷区神宮前3-7-6|
|Open||11:00 – 19:00
Wednesday until 21:00
|Closed||Mondays (except public holidays)
New Year Holiday from December 31 – January 01
|Contact||Tel: +81 3-3402-3001
Fax: +81 3-3405-7714
E-mail: [email protected]
General Admission: Adults ¥1,000, Students (under 25) ¥800
Pair Discount: 2 Adults ¥1,600, 2 Students ¥1,200
Green Pass: ¥1,500
The Watarium Art Museum is located in Aoyama, Shibuya City. It’s nearby Aoyama Cemetery, a famous cherry blossom spot, and just around the corner from Harajuku.
The nearest station is Gaienmae. It’s a 7-minute walk (550 m) to the museum from here. The Ginza Line stops here.
The closest JR station is Harajuku Station. From here it’s a 14-minute walk (1.1km) to the museum. You can get to Harajuku Station with the JR Yamanote Line (covered by the Japan Rail Pass).
Alternatively, it’s just a 22-minute walk (1.7km) from Shibuya (Station).
Tokyo Metro Ginza Line
Get on the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line (銀座線) and take Exit 3 at Gaienmae Station (外苑前駅). Go across the street and past the BMW Square until you come to a crossroad with a traffic light. Here you have to turn right, but go across the street and walk past the docomo shop. Now just go straight down the street and you’ll see the Watarium Art Museum on your left.
From Gaienmae Station it’s a 7-minute walk (0.5km).
JR Yamanote Line
Take the JR Yamanote Line (山手線) and get off at Harajuku Station (原宿駅). Take Takeshita Exit (竹下口), go across the street and straight down Takeshita Street. Go all the way to the end and across the street. Go past Spaghetti Goemon and further straight. After BILLIONAIRE BOYS CLUB the street will curve to the left. Keep following the street and go further straight past Ruhani BellyDance Arts until you’ll see a NATURAL LAWSON on your left. Take a right at the main road and the Watarium Museum will be on your right.
From Harajuku Station, it’s a 15-minute walk (1.1km).
Take the Ginza Line (銀座線) towards Asakusa (浅草行).
Get off at Gaienmae Station (外苑前駅).
11 min (7-min walk) and costs ¥170.
Take the Hanzomon Line (半蔵門線) towards Oshiage (押上行).
Get off at Omote-Sando Station (表参道駅).
13 min (11-min walk) and costs ¥170.
Take the JR Yamanote Line (山手線) towards Ikebukuro (池袋方面).
Get off at Harajuku Station (原宿駅).
18 min (15-min walk) and costs ¥140.
Links and Resources
Last visited: Rebel Without a Cause (Aug 2018)