Art & architecture
Japan has a rich and world-renowned artistic tradition which encompasses sculpture, textiles, ink painting, calligraphy, ukiyo-e woodblock printing and much more.
Exquisite kimono, beautifully painted screens and images by famous artists such as Hokusai have become iconic symbols of the country, and there are a multitude of excellent museums where you can admire these creations - from the world's largest collection of ukiyo-e in Matsumoto to the superb Tokugawa Art Museum in Nagoya.
Contemporary art, meanwhile, enjoys an excellent standing in Japan and there are world-class galleries scattered throughout the country. Visit the Mori Art Museum at the top of a skyscraper in Tokyo; admire 1,300 works of art from the post-restoration era in Matsue; enjoy masterpieces by Moore and Rodin in a stunning natural setting at Hakone's Open-Air Museum; and visit Naoshima - a tiny island on the Seto Inland Sea that has become famous for its innovative approach to art.
Japanese architecture, meanwhile, is typified by wooden structures with sliding paper screens, tatami mats and curved roofs. Though at first glance Japanese and Chinese architecture may seem similar, the Japanese aesthetic is much simpler, cleaner and less ornate, as you will come to find as you explore the many temples, shrines, samurai residences, castles and traditional districts over the course of your trip.
The Miho Museum's combination of historical artefacts and innovative modern architecture make it a lovely day trip option for those visiting Kyoto.
Insider Experience: Tokyo architecture tour
Let our "Insider" show you the wealth of cutting-edge architecture Tokyo has to offer.
Adachi Museum of Art
20th century art surrounded by elaborate Japanese gardens
One of Japan's most eminent woodblock print artists made his home in Obuse.
Open-air sculpture park
Fantastic sculpture in a beautiful mountainous valley.
The magnificent, fully accessible 634 metre tower in the Asakusa area of Tokyo.
The pretty grounds surrounding Kumamoto Castle are a great picnic spot.
Museum of Contemporary Art
Explore 90 years of Japanese art in a landmark building
Tokugawa art in Nagoya
See the art treasures of the Tokugawa Shogun and beautiful gardens in Nagoya
Tadao Ando's architecture
Explore the wonderful art and architecture of Tadao Ando
Mori art museum
Fantastic views and innovative art at the Mori Art Museum.
21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art
A fabulous collection of Japanese and international art since 1980
Monet's Water Lilies
Five paintings from Claude Monet's Water Lilies series have found a wonderful home in an innovative gallery on Naoshima Island.
Setouchi Art Festival
The triennial Setouchi Art Festival is one of the biggest celebrations of contemporary art in Japan.
The "black crow" castle
Follow in the footsteps of samurai at Matsumoto Castle, one of the best preserved original castles in Japan.
Insider Experience: Tokyo art scene tour
If you are a lover of art, don't miss our "Insider" day tour of the Tokyo art scene.