Botticelli is putting on an exhibition. Well, not the painter himself–he’s long dead and still buried at the feet of Simonetta Vespucci (reputed to be the inspiration for titular subject of the Birth of Venus ) in Florence. But the traveling exposition of his works are on display at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum.
Mere steps from the Ueno Zoo, the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum is the perfect denouement from a day in the sun with the lions, tigers, and bears. The Special Exhibits require you to purchase tickets, but the Citizen’s Galleries are mostly free (some may require a small fee, such as the ikebana exhibition I saw during my visit).
After deciding to see the Old Master, I passed the giant silver ball and descended the escalator to the Inner Court and Museum entrance. Once inside, you’ll see the Museum Shop directly across and the information booth to your right (where English maps and pamphlets are available). And beyond that, the ticket counter and the Citizen’s Galleries await.
Beyond the Special Exhibitions, the Museum also has space for local art schools, calligraphy shows, and more obscure showings. These exhibitions are free to the public, so use the opportunity to take in the works of a local artist or practice your kanji-reading skills. Be sure to check the schedule on the Museum’s home page to see what’s on display. And who knows? You may run into a future Old Master exhibiting his or her works.
Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum Information
Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum (English website)
– Location: Ueno Park (click on the pin for directions via Google maps)
– Daily: 9:30 – 17:30 (last admission 17:00)
– Fridays: 9:30 – 20:00 during Special Exhibitions (Last admission 19:30)
– Special Exhibitions and Thematic Exhibitions are closed Mondays (except national holidays, when it closes the following day instead). The Museum is closed every 1st and 3rd Monday of month (except national holidays, when it closes the following day instead)
– Estimated Price: Free! Entry fees apply for special exhibits. Museum Gift Shop, Cafe M, and Restaurant IVORY available.
–“Why Go?”: Free entry for Citizen’s Gallery and Public Exhibitions, low price for Special Exhibitions.