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SCAI THE BATHHOUSE: Yanaka’s art gallery of culture



2022.11.17 (Thu)

By Dan Lewis, long-term Japan resident & outdoor activity enthusiast.

Today we take you to Taito City’s SCAI THE BATHHOUSE, an art gallery in Yanaka, one of the few remaining neighborhoods where the atmosphere of the old shitamachi still lingers.

SCAI THE BATHHOUSE is a contemporary art gallery that showcases Japanese artists and their avant-garde works to the world, while simultaneously introducing overseas artists who were theretofore unknown in Japan.

In 1993, what was then a 200-year-old public bath named “Kashiwa-yu” was renovated into its present state as an art gallery. Now, instead of hot water, visitors soak in art, discovering new ways to relax in spaces formerly used for communal bathing.

A tiled roof with towering chimneys creates a graceful exterior, while inside, a more chic design awaits. Neutral space with white walls are accented with natural light pouring in from windows set near the high ceiling, creating a one-of-a-kind, contemporary art exhibition space.

The current exhibition, “Full House” is not about a widower who is raising his three little girls after the death of his wife, with help from his musician brother-in-law, and his best friend, but an exhibition derived from an encounter between the artist’s images of a dream house, and the venue itself. The first solo exhibition by Mitsuko Miwa, an artist based in Aichi Prefecture, it includes a checkered design, a pattern made with granite and marble slabs, and extends onto the floor, inviting viewers to step into the artwork. This art is described as a “paradox of perception” where the object of art is lost the more one focuses on it.

Come see SCAI THE BATHHOUSE, a modern gallery space and one of the leading contemporary art galleries in Japan. Towels are not needed.

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