The exterior of the Suntory Museum of Art (Photo: Rs1421 / CC BY-SA 3.0)

Suntory Museum of Art

A Kengo Kuma designed building that houses various treasures

The exterior of the Suntory Museum of Art (Photo: Rs1421 / CC BY-SA 3.0)
Kim   - 2 min read

Sometimes, a museum's exterior is just as beautiful as the items on display inside it. That's certainly the case for Tokyo's Suntory Museum of Art, which was designed by renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma.

His inspiration when working on plans for the museum was to merge Japanese tradition with contemporary values, and that vision came together in an incredibly sleek fashion. The exterior of the building consists of white ceramic panels which were purposely chosen to represent the pottery and porcelain pieces that are part of the museum's collection. Inside, wood and washi paper accents give off a beautiful warmth that Kuma's works are known for.

The museum's collection is in the realm of around 3000 pieces including traditional lacquerware, ceramics, textiles, and paintings, and of those, one has been designated as a National Treasure and another 15 as Important Cultural Properties. Part of what makes the museum so interesting is that they don't have a permanent exhibition space for their items — the focus is placed on different themed exhibitions that run for a limited time each year. If you want to explore what's on before you visit, be sure to check out their website which has current and upcoming events listed.

The venue is also home to a shop selling a variety of beautiful items that draw inspiration from the museum's collection, and the Kaga-fu Fumuro-ya cafe.

Getting there

The Suntory Museum of Art has direct access from Roppongi Station, served by the Toei Oedo Line and the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line. Alternatively, the museum is a 3 minute walk from Nogizaka Station's Exit 3, served by the Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line.

For those who plan to drive to the museum, please note that there is no dedicated parking lot. Museum patrons are advised to park in the nearby Tokyo Midtown Lot, and access details can be found here.


Kim @kim.b