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Tokyo Museum of Photography | © Hoary/WikiCommons
Tokyo Museum of Photography | © Hoary/WikiCommons

The Best Photography Museums and Galleries in Tokyo

Picture of Alicia Joy
Tokyo Writer
Updated: 7 September 2017

As an artistic medium, photography is one of the most accessible and approachable forms of expression. Make your way through the photography museums and galleries in Tokyo.

Tokyo Photographic Art Museum

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.

1-13-3 Mita, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, Japan

Emon Gallery

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.

5-11-12 Minami-Azabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan

Paper Pool

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.

2-16-10 Yutenji, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, Japan

Photo Gallery International

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.

2-3-4 Higashi-Azabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan

Rat Hole Gallery

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.

5-5-3 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan

Totem Pole Photo Gallery

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.

4-22 Yotsuya, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, Japan

This weekend is your last chance to see "Resonance", an excellent photo exhibition by Giovanni Pascarella at Totem Pole Photo Gallery. Gio's work, all medium format film, is just the right mix of reality and the uncanny- there's a tinge of darkness that's hard to explain yet is never overbearing or gimmicky. Really solid stuff and highly recommended. (Open 12-7) 日曜日まで、トーテムポールフォトギャラリーで、イタリア出身のジョバンニ パスカレッラ氏が素晴らしい写真展を開いてます。彼が中判カメラで撮ったスナップは日常のクラサや不思議なコトを写ってます。おすすめの写真展です。#中判カメラ #フィルム写真 #写真展

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Gallery 916

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.

1-14-24 Kaigan, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan