Roppongi is a famous clubbing and party area for Japan’s youth and foreigners living in Tokyo. This area is also famous for its art museums. What would happen if you mix these two things? It’s the “Roppongi Art Night” – an art event that takes place one a year. Roppongi turns into a huge art museum until the sun rises again!
The event is called “Art Night” but that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy this event only at night. There are art installations and sculptures of international artists displayed everywhere in the area. Just by strolling around you can see a lot of art for free.
The main stages are located at Roppongi Hills, Tokyo Midtown and at The National Art Center Tokyo. This forms a big triangle. When I took a closer look at the program staff handed me at the exit of the Roppongi Metro station I was surprised by the scale of the event. There are a lot of different stages and events starting at Friday afternoon and ending at 6 am on Sunday. Wow!
At art night events in Germany, you usually get free admission to all museums throughout the city. Also, closing hours change o that you can stay longer and have more time to look around. At Roppongi Art Night the admission of the art museums isn’t free. Art performances and installations are what you should look out for.
The first area my friends and I went is Roppongi Hills. It was right before dawn and the main event at Roppongi was about to start. At the Roppongi arena (– where I did my architecture stroll –) was a stage by the super famous theater director Hideki Noda.
The show started with big band music by the „Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra“. Then, Japanese drums (wadaiko) joined the performance and after that the stage turned into a big mixture of different types of dances: lion dance, modern dance, Noh, traditional (and very scary) mask dance, smooth Brazilian dance…and so on.
All came together in a story about breaking out and discovering a new world on the other side of the earth. It’s the first time for me to see such a great mixed-culture performance. The fascinating show went on for one hour and ended in a big finale. It was one of the shortest hours of my life.
Next, we headed to Tokyo Midtown. On our way, we saw an art installation made out of many pipes winding around each other. When you placed your ear against one of the openings of the pipes you could hear strange sounds and music. I tried to use the pipe as a telephone and said “Hi!”. Right after that, I could hear someone say “Hi!” out of the pipe. I asked, “How are you?” – the voice said “Very fine!”. But the strange thing was: there was nobody talking to the pipe but me! I was kind of happy about the conversation, but it got creepy…
Later, my friend told me about a woman standing right in front of me hidden by the pipes talking to the pipe. A mystery solved! Such a relieve…
At Tokyo Midtown we missed the “Sushi Performance” I really wanted to see…but still, we had a lot of fun. There was a design contest going on and we voted for the entries we liked most. At the Tokyo Midtown Grass Square, there was an installation by “Rhizomatiks Architecture” called “Curtain Wall” with high-tech brain sensors.
The war a square with lots of curtains that would react to your brainwaves! We played a zombie version of hide and seek and had a great time at that installation. Since it was getting pretty late, we decided to go home.
But they had free shuttle buses going to different areas of Tokyo for those who want to stay until late at night. Great!!!
If you love art as much as I do, you’ll have to come to Tokyo in fall. Roppongi Art Night is one of the best art events here in Tokyo, so you shouldn’t miss it! It’s a must see!
Roppongi Art Night 2016