Also known as TOP, the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum is the largest museum in Tokyo dedicated solely to photography. It is also the city’s only publicly funded photography museum. The Tokyo Photographic Art Museum has a swelling permanent collection of over 30,000 pieces, and three galleries that regularly feature fresh exhibitions.
The Emon Gallery is a must-see for photography lovers in Tokyo. It’s small, but committed to curating photography exhibits of fine photographic art. Emon Gallery hosts talks by artists and industry professionals, and hopefuls eagerly anticipate their annual Emon Award photography competition each year.
Paper Pool is a gallery, café, and bar in the hip Yutenji neighborhood of Meguro. Entrance to the small gallery is free, since it shares space with the dining area. Paper Pool is a great place for up-and-comers to showcase their work as the gallery is easily booked for artists’ exhibitions. The on-site photography darkroom is also available for rental for a small hourly fee, with supplies extra.
Photo Gallery International (or PGI for short) has hosted exhibitions by prominent domestic and international photographers, like Ansel Adams’s black-and-white landscapes and Kikuji Kawada’s iconic images of postwar Japan. This sleek and modern private gallery includes a shop that sells photography books and framing supplies.
Rat Hole Gallery in stylish, upscale Aoyama is small but worth a visit. The exhibitions here are usually on photography, but occasionally contemporary art exhibits find a home here, too. Rat Hole Gallery is tucked into a basement along the back streets of Omotesando – perhaps the inspiration for its unique name.
Totem Pole Photo Gallery is in Yotsuya, not far from Shinjuku Gyoen. This modest gallery mainly exhibits works by its artist members, but the gallery is available for rental and all photography styles are welcome.
Gallery 916 is a spacious private gallery built into a former warehouse by Tokyo Bay. The bright white and modern space, with just a hint of the building’s former purpose remaining, allows patrons to focus fully on the photography being exhibited. Alongside the main gallery is the smaller Gallery 916 Small, a smaller, more modest gallery for emerging artists.