A new way of cherry blossom viewing!? Cherry blossoms are in full bloom at The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo!

The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo (MOMAT) is surrounded by several popular areas for cherry blossom viewing (hanami), such as the Imperial Palace, Chidori-ga-fuchi, and Kitanomaru Garden. This spring, MOMAT is holding its own annual spring event called “Spring Festival in The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo”. Various masterworks depicting cherry blossoms and spring landscapes allow you to compare the different art techniques and enjoy the coming of spring at the same time. So how about hanami at MOMAT this year?

National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo (MOMAT)

Spring awakening

The “Spring Festival in The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo” which is held every spring takes place inside the entire museum building. This year, the events are held from March 23rd to April 11th. So you’ll need to hurry!

The descriptions are written in multiple languages. Explanations are in Japanese, English, Korean, and Simplified Chinese.

One of the highlights of the ongoing exhibition “MOMAT Collection” (March 23–May 16) is the exhibition of masterpieces depicting spring landscapes and beautiful flowers. These artworks include paintings, folding screens, kimonos, and picture scrolls. Flowers are blooming everywhere in the museum!

KAMAGA, Toshiko: Kimono “Field in Spring” (1992)

Since the Japanese artists use various expression methods and some unexpected techniques to express their vision of spring, comparing the works is a lot of fun.

KIKUCHI, Hobun: “Fine Rain on Mt. Yoshino” (1914)
This folding screen doesn’t show a sunny spring day, but instead soft rain. The thin vertical lines are an expression of rain.
Look closely at the petals of the cherry blossoms. Parts of the picture are three-dimensional. The thick paint expresses raindrops on the petals!

Inside the exhibition, there is an entire room dedicated to works with only spring motifs! You’ll find works of a teacher and his student exhibited next to each other, works of artists who have recently been re-evaluated, and a fascinating picture scroll with paintings of more than 40 kinds of cherry blossoms. Everyone, spring has sprung!

So long! ATOMI, Gyokushi: “Scroll of Cherry Blossoms” (1934)

From which side should you start when looking at a folding screen? From the right, or the left? Well, there is no rule. But depending on which side you start from, you might get a completely different impression of the picture. Cherry trees in full bloom are shown on the left side of this screen. Their petals are carried to the right by the wind and scattered everywhere. KAWAI, Gyokudo: “Parting Spring” (1916) Important Cultural Property
Cherry blossom petals on the roof of the boat and between the rocks… It’s a picture of the cherry blossom season coming to end.
You can sit on the tatami benches in the middle of the room and see the works from a distance. This folding screen depicting cherry blossoms at night expressed using pop colors is cute! FUNADA, Gyokuju: “Flowers (Image of Evening)” (1938)
The round silver moon is peeking from behind the tree.

Don’t miss the other highlights!

The MOMAT Collection offers even more to see. This spring, it has already been 10 years since the Great East Japan Earthquake (March 11, 2011) struck the Tohoku region in northeastern Honshu. The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo is exhibiting Tohoku-related artworks that have previously already been exhibited in various special exhibitions after the earthquake. The light blue captions are descriptions that were used when the works were exhibited in the past. The old captions allow you to look back on the situation at that time.

Blue commentary captions
This Tohoku-themed photographic work is a newcomer to the MOMAT. It is a series of photographs of half-dead half-alive trees that became this way due to the tsunami. HATAKEYAMA, Naoya: “Untitled (tsunami trees)” series (2018-2019)

Furthermore, some rather strange artworks associated with the ongoing special exhibition “Ayashii: Decadent and Grotesque Images of Beauty in Modern Japanese Art” (March 23–May 16) are exhibited in the MOMAT Collection.

The theme of this painting is spring, but if you look closely, the motif is really strange! Do you see the child? NAKAZAWA, Hiromitsu: “Girls in the Moonlight” (1926)

Real cherry blossoms!

You can also see real cherry blossoms at MOMAT. From “A Room With A View” inside the museum, you have a nice view over the different cherry trees blooming in the surrounding area. Also, in the front yard of the museum, traditional benches invite visitors and people passing by to sit down and enjoy the nearby cherry trees.

At the museum shop, you can purchase original spring items such as masking tape, postcards, and ticket files with a cherry blossom motif.

Spring Festival in The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

Date: March 23 (Tuesday) – April 11 (Sunday), 2021

Collection Exhibition: MOMAT Collection

Date: March 23 (Tuesday) – May 16 (Sunday), 2021
* Same-day tickets are sold at the venue, but we recommend buying an advance ticket to avoid lines forming at the entrance.

Special Exhibition: Ayashii: Decadent and Grotesque Images of Beauty in Modern Japanese Art

Date: March 23 (Tuesday) – May 16 (Sunday), 2021
Closed: Closed on Mondays (except March 29 and May 3, 2021) and May 6, 2021

The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo (MOMAT)

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