Wano Akari 2019


Japan has many unique traditions, festivals and arts, among which is the art of creating luminous objects such as flashlights. Good examples of such art are the huge compositions of lanterns at the Kanto Matsuri Festival in Akita, as well as the giant glowing platforms of the Nabuta Matsuri Festival in Aomori.

This year’s exhibition of luminous works of art called “Wano Akari” takes place at the Gajoen Hotel in the Tokyo Meguro district, more precisely in its ancient part called Hakudan Kaidan. The building is a multi-storey wooden house, each room of which is decorated with carvings and paintings, and decorated not only with walls, but also with the ceiling. The upper floor of the building has 99 stairs. I have never seen such a unique building before, and it is worth a visit even for the sake of it!

The theme of this year’s exhibition is “Colors of the Heart”, which means “Heart Colors”. Each room has a composition on one theme, such as “Japanese umbrellas”, “Glass art”, “Shadows” and others. It is possible to consider each thing and the whole composition for a very long time. I especially liked the openwork lamps, which create beautiful shadows, as well as rows of paper lanterns in the form of fish. Also very much liked the amusing little dolls, united in scenes with different flashlights and light sources.

Some exhibits, such as animal figurines, flashlights, lamps, as well as books and postcards, etc., can be purchased in a gift shop. The exhibition will last until September 1, 2019, so I recommend you to visit it in time.

Photos and videos are allowed, but without flash. At the entrance, visitors are offered to take off their shoes to preserve the ancient wooden floor and according to the Japanese tradition not to use street shoes in the house. You can leave your shoes in the hallway (under supervision) or take them with you in a bag, which you will be offered when buying a ticket. The cost of a 1600 yen entrance ticket may seem high, but the house and exhibition are worth it!

How to get there

Hotel Gajoen is located in the Tokyo Meguro area. From Meguro Station, West Exit, you have to turn left and walk down a steep street for about 5 minutes.

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