When the shogunate fell, Nijo-jo Castle was opened to the public. The palace buildings, once meant to safeguard the shogun, are now a communal cultural center of Kyoto that both preserves Japanese artistic traditions and encourages the development of new ones.
Gearing up for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics and 2025 Osaka-Kansai Expo, the imperial castle is set to be the site of an exciting three-day art event this September. Featuring 31 galleries from Japan and abroad, artKYOTO 2019 International Art Fair is where new meets old — new artworks on old imperial grounds, exhibitions mingling ancient and contemporary pieces, joining antique and technical creations.
While a UNESCO World Heritage site is not your run-of-the-mill gallery space, exhibitors take full advantage of their stately surroundings. Dealers set up shop in a former lookout stand; visitors can view works and performances in historical buildings and surrounding palatial gardens.
The lineup of galleries and art dealers spans regions, countries and millennia. Artists hail from Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo and Europe. Dealers boast Buddhist masterpieces from the Heian Period, unmistakable Edo ukiyo-e pieces, postwar Japanese art and even modern masters like Picasso and van Gogh. Alongside these antiques are the works of up-and-coming contemporary creators like illustrator and Instagram star Mr Doodle (over 2.45 million followers), who will perform live. There is something for everyone: a vast, beautiful venue boasts Meiji metalworks and surrealist paintings from just this year. Even houses and architectural models are up for sale.
Kyoto is a paradox, an ancient city that thrums with creative energy. The organizers of artKYOTO collaborate with the International Council of Museums and ART BATTLE Kyoto, a live art tournament, to further enliven the ages-old castle. On Monday, September 9, the fair will close at 4pm.
Visit the artKYOTO website for more information on galleries, artworks and events.
September 7 – 9
11am – 8pm
¥3,000 (Discounts for students and advance)
Nijo-jo Castle (Former Imperial Villa)
541 Nijo-jo-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto