Tokyo University of the Arts (commonly called “Geidai” in Japanese) was established in 1949 when two schools, Tokyo Fine Arts School and Tokyo Music School, were brought together. Both of these original schools were first founded in 1887. The University Art Museum was opened in 1999 to house and display the collection of art and musical materials that had been growing since the original two schools were founded. The collection today has around 29,000 items which include many modern Japanese masterpieces and works by former teachers and students.
Unusually, this museum has no permanent exhibition and so it is only open when a special exhibition is being held. However, exhibitions are held on a regular basis and intervals between them are not so long. Among the artworks in the museum’s collection are 22 National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties. Your best chance to see these treasures is during the “Geidai Collection” exhibition which displays items from the core of the collection. This exhibition is held at irregular intervals once or twice a year.
As well as four floors of exhibition rooms, this museum also has a souvenir shop, an art supplies store, and a café. The café serves light meals such as curry, sandwiches, and a range of desserts. Beer, tea, coffee, and soft drinks are also available.
About one minute’s walk from the museum is a gallery and store called Geidai Art Plaza. This gallery exhibits and sells the works of current students, teachers and graduates of the university and also has some souvenir goods and stationary. Geidai Art Plaza is open from 10.00 to 18.00 and closed on Mondays.
The University Art Museum’s opening hours and admission fees are different for each exhibition. To find out more about the upcoming exhibition schedule, please check the University Art Museum website.
The University Art Museum is located on the west side of Ueno Park, so a visit to this museum can be easily combined with an exploration of the many museums inside the park. The University Art Museum is a 10 minute walk from the Park Exit of JR Ueno Station, 15 minutes from Keisei Ueno Station, and 15 minutes from Ueno Subway Station on the Tokyo Metro Ginza and Hibiya lines. It is also 12 minutes from Nezu Station on the Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line. Here is a map showing the museum’s location. Geidai Art Plaza is located here.
Article and original photos by Michael Lambe. All rights reserved.