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Art Space Tokyo: An intimate guide to the Tokyo art world

Nakaochiai Gallery

in Nakaochiai

access and details

Station: Nakai
Lines: Oedo, Seibu Shinjuku
Access: 10 minute walk from exit A2 (Oedo)

Entry: Free

In The Neighborhood

A visit to the Nakaochiai area is a great chance to experience a bit of small town Tokyo. Pickings look sparse from the map but all the more reason to meander. For a refreshingly at home Thai experience, try Sawadi{1}, close to the station. Just a bit further down the road is Aspen Coffee,{2} excellent for an afternoon stop off. For those ready for something a little stronger, stop by the strangely named Rarara Bar{3} for a cocktail or two. And if you're itching for a bit of exercise, Saeki Park,{5} while something of a hike, offers six hundred square meters of greenery and the preserved artist studio of Western-style painter, Yozo Saeki.

About the Space


Nakaochiai Gallery

Space Background

Located in a serene residential neighborhood on the outskirts of the Yamanote line in northwestern Tokyo, Nakaochiai Gallery occupies a renovated Japanese house. Having passed through former incarnations as a garage, a store selling kakigori (shaved ice) and a Japanese sweets shop, the house was turned into a gallery in 2004. Since its latest transformation, it has been showcasing the work of young, innovative artists from Japan and abroad. The gallery also boasts a diverse range of programs and activities, including children's workshops and projects that explore the potential of the Internet.

With the garage door open, Nakaochiai Gallery's exhibitions are laid out for the whole neighborhood to see. It is not unusual to share your viewing experience with curious locals who have ventured in to make their way around the eye-catching installations as they chat with the gallery's director, curator and artists.

It is this willingness to engage with the local community that gives Nakaochiai Gallery its distinctive character within the Tokyo art world. Unlike galleries in other fashion-driven, commercial parts of the city, where a strong sense of community is often difficult to foster amongst so much urban chaos, the connection between this gallery and the community that surrounds it is both intimate and genuine.