Don’t get too excited! Although the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography has over twenty thousand photographs in its collection, the down side is, only a small, limited number are actually on display. Put that knowledge aside though, it still warrants a look for throughout the year many traveling exhibitions pass through and in the basement you’ll find a special exhibition devoted to animation and cinematography.
The permanent collection is on the third floor. The theme of the work displayed changes from time to time, so for up to date details check with the museum. Whatever the theme however, you’re likely to come across some of Japan’s most famous photographers, Ueno Hikoma being one of them. In 1874 he took Japan’s first astronomical photograph and he was also first to open a commercial photography studio.
On the second floor, The Special Exhibition Gallery is the venue for traveling exhibitions.
In the Images and Technology Gallery the exhibition is devoted to animation and cinematography. More French in feel than Japanese, there’s no Sailor Moon, but what you will find are cameras and animation devices dating back to the early days of film making. The building also houses a library with an information retrieval system and there are holography and film editing suites available for hire.
Open: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm Saturday – Wednesday (Ticket office closes at 5:30)
10:00 am – 8:00 pm on Thursdays and Fridays (Ticket office closes at 7:30)
Adults: 500 yen
Ages 6 to 18: 250 yen
Under 6’s and over 65’s: Free, but please provide proof.
Special Exhibition: price varies.
For 300 yen a print, it’s possible to see any photograph from the entire permanent collection. Viewing is by appointment only. Inquire at the ticket counter.
Video editing and holography room: price ranges from 4,500 yen to 14, 000 yen. Inquire at the ticket counter.
How to get there
There are two main ways.
1. Take the JR Yamanote Line to JR Ebisu Station. Leave the station via the east exit, and walk along the “Sky Walker” to Ebisu Garden Place. To the right of Ebisu Garden Place there’s a concourse. Walk to the end of the concourse and you’ll find the museum next to the “Top of Yebisu” building.
2. Take the Hibiya Subway Line to Ebisu Subway Station, follow the signs to Ebisu Garden Place and then proceed as above.
Suggested amount of time needed (Excluding journey time)
The Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography Homepage:
www.syabi.com (Follow the links to the English site)
Tel: 03 3280 0031
Other places nearby
Shibuya, Harajuku and Shinjuku are only a few stops away from Ebisu on the JR Yamanote Line.