Art stroll at Marunouchi-Naka-Dori Street, one of Tokyo’s most charming promenades

Located between Tokyo Station and the Imperial Palace, Marunouchi-Naka-Dori Street is one of Tokyo’s most scenic promenades. Beautiful trees line the broad street on both sides with artworks arranged here and there.

The Marunouchi area around Tokyo Station used to be an exclusive business district. There were (and still are) a lot of financial institutions. On weekdays, the area was buzzing with businesspeople. But on weekends, it was a very quiet place. It was time for a change. Some companies and a museum came together and started various projects such as ‘Marunouchi Street Gallery’ and limited time events to bring more life to Marunouchi-Naka-Dori Street.

Marunouchi Street Gallery

Since 1972, the area management company and the foundation that runs the popular THE HAKONE OPEN-AIR MUSEUM (“Hakone Sculpture Museum” in Japanese) run an art project featuring art sculptures on both sides of Marunouchi-Naka-Dori Street. The project is called “Marunouchi Street Gallery”. Since the sculptures are replaced for other ones every few years, there is always something new to see. You can see the works of famous artists from around the world and take captivating photos just by walking down the street!

The animal sculptures created by Atsuhiko Misawa are a little bit scary but really cute at the same time.

There is also an art piece by Yayoi Kusama, who is famous for her colorful giant pumpkins! When you look closely, you’ll see that this sculpture actually also looks like a pumpkin.

Marunouchi Happ. Stand & Gallery

Walking down Marunouchi-Naka-Dori Street, you will see tables and chairs that anyone is allowed to use. This is really a rare thing in Tokyo – a town you could call “the city without benches”. In addition, there are plenty of cafes and restaurants with terrace seating. ‘Marunouchi Happ. Stand & Gallery’ is one of them. This small food stand has a tiny terrace.

Marunouchi Happ. Stand & Gallery

The cafe holds pop up events that change every month. For example, at the event held in July 2020, they had an exhibition about food loss, with some exhibits and books regarding the topic.

This free booklet introduces SDGs and the international food loss problem we are facing. Also, there were some delicious “food loss elimination recipe ideas” such as apple peel jam and celery leaf potage. Yummy!

Marunouchi Happ’s specialty is their dark roast coffee, especially roasted in the Shizuoka Prefecture for this cafe. What a wonderful way to spend your time, sipping on a delicious coffee while watching the art installations around you! And don’t forget to check for events!

Marunouchi Street Gallery (List of works):

Marunouchi Happ. Stand & Gallery
2-5-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Google Maps:
Nearest stations: Tokyo Station, Otemachi Station, Yurakucho Station, Hibiya Station, Nijubashi-mae station