Roppongi is home to hundreds of art galleries, but finding them and visiting them can be both difficult and exhaustive. One of the less well known cluster of art galleries for the aesthetically hungry is the Piramide building, very close to Roppongi Hills. The building itself is peculiar enough to interest modern architecture fans but there are also many tiny galleries housed inside the building, making it a convenient place to see a lot of contemporary art in one tiny place. I might be biased, but it seems that most of the galleries are focused on photographic art, but there are paintings and sculptures and even sometimes installations on show. You can find a lists of galleries, addresses as well as restaurants and other businesses in the building here, under ピラミデ.
If you are in Tokyo until the 15th, you might want to go and have a look at the 18th Japan Media Arts Festival at the National Art Center in Roppongi. The festival showcases international entries in various Media Arts such as robotics, cinema, interactive media, manga, anime etc. I saw a few interesting exhibitions, including (in order of the photos) 3RD (a “VR” helmet with a cellphone), a mysterious but photogenic moving machine, the “handiii” prosthetic hands, the latest Crayon Shinchan movie (Serious Battle! Robot Dad Strikes Again!), a letter with the hand drawings of Tezuka Osamu and Walt Disney (Walt had bigger hands) and a very interesting looking manga, Goshiki no fine (The Five Colored Boat about a group of traveling Circus Freaks). The entrance is free and easy to find on the second floor of the National Art Center.
If you are into the manga, anime and now proper movie, Patlabor, you should most definitely head over to Roppongi Hills as soon as possible to check out the scale 1:1 Mobile Police mecha suit they have on show right now. I walked past it yesterday and took these photos. It is really quite cool. I was a big fan of this manga many years ago, when it was still set in the future. These days a manga set in 1998-2002 does not feel quite as SF.
The movie this prop is promoting has an official site here, and it looks pretty cool. The reason it is in Roppongi is most likely due to the Tokyo Movie Festival taking place last week.
The large Tokyo Midtown complex has some nice Nebuta decorations going on right now, by all means pop in and have a look if you have the time! Nebuta is a famous festival from Japan’s northern Aomori prefecture and is famous for its large colorful and lit paper sculptures. Neighboring Akita prefecture is also represented in the interesting traditional take on pole dancing. In this case it is not ladies balancing on poles, but rather large poles balancing on men!
Tokyo Midtown is one of the most upscale shopping complexes in Tokyo and they often have interesting exhibitions and decorations going on. The Nebuta festival is one of my favorites and there is even a mini version in western Tokyo’s Tachikawa City that I have blogged about earlier.