Yoshitomo Nara: The Beginning Place

10/14, 2023(Sat) ━ 2/25, 2024(Sun)

Exhibition Ended
Yoshitomo Nara: The Beginning Place

Yoshitomo Nara: The Beginning Place

Movie: Hidekazu Sato

Aomori Museum of Art’s second solo exhibition by Nara Yoshitomo (1959-), an internationally acclaimed artist from Hirosaki City, Aomori Prefecture. Held ten years after his first solo exhibition, which attracted about 80,000 visitors, this exhibition will reflect on Nara’s activities in the past 12 years since the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, as well as presenting some of his notable works from as far back as his student days. It will invite visitors into overlapping layers of Nara’s paintings and take them through an exhibition space that weaves between the past and the present, continuing outside the museum to the landscape of his hometown.

This unique exhibition will be held exclusively by our museum, which has been collecting Nara Yoshitomo’s works since the 1990s and boasts the world’s largest collection of them.



ArtworkⒸYoshitomo Nara PhotoⒸRyoichi Kawajiri



Oct. 14, 2023 – Feb. 25, 2024


Every 2nd and 4th Monday of month (except national holidays, when closed following Tuesday instead) and Dec. 25, 2023 – Jan. 1st, 2024

Opening hours:

9:30 – 17:00 (Last admission 16:30)
*On Sat 21st October, Sat 18th November, Sat 9th December and Sat 20th January (2024), the museum will be open until 20:00 for night at the museum events (last admission 19:30)


Yoshitomo Nara Exhibition 2023 Executive Committee(Aomori Museum of Art,The To-o Nippo Press Co.,Ltd., Aomori Broadcating Corporation, Aomori Television Broadcasting Co., Ltd., Asahi Broadcasting Aomori Co., Ltd., Aomori Prefectural Organization for Tourism and Globalization)

Planning Cooperation

The Yoshitomo Nara Foundation,General Incoporated Foundation



Academic Cooperation

KURAYA Mika(Yokohama Museum of Art)


Aomori Cable Television,Aomori Fm Broadcasting,THE DAILY TOHOKU SHIMBUN,THE MUTSU SHIMPO,The Aomori Prefectural Board of Education,The Aomori City Board of Education



Admission(Advance tickets, web tickets, group rates)
Adults -1,500yen(1,300yen)
Students(high school students and college students) -1,000yen(800yen)
Children(Junior high school students and under) -Free

*Web tickets are subject to an additional system usage fee of 165 yen.

*Visitors with disabilities Free



Apple Crate Premium Ticket (sold out)

Price: 3,000 yen (tax included)

This ticket is made by reusing scrap wood from an actual apple box. Please note that the texture of the original wood, stains on the board, chalk and nail marks, and knots in the wood from the time of use have been preserved.

For more information, please click here.

Exhibition Structure

Exhibition Layout

1. House
We will explore the significance of the “house” motif that often appears in Nara’s art by tracing the evolution of his early works.

Yoshitomo Nara, Merry-Go-Round, 1987, acrylic on canvas, 130.3 x 130.3 cm, private collection



※The two exhibits in this section will be replaced as follows.
【Oct. 14, 2023 – Dec. 24, 2023】
Dream Time, 1988, Acrylic and colored pencil on canvas, 116.7×90.9cm, Collection of Toyota Municipal Museum of Art
Drawings, 1988, Acrylic, colored pencil, pencil, pen and rubber stamp on paper, Each 21×14.5cm, Collection of Toyota Municipal Museum of Art
【Jan. 2, 2024 – Feb. 25, 2024】
Romantic Catastrophe, 1988, Acrylic and colored pencil on canvas, 116.7×90.9cm, Private Collection(entrusted to  Toyota Municipal Museum of Art)
Untitled, 1988, Acrylic and colored pencil on paper, 85×99cm, Private Collection(entrusted to  Toyota Municipal Museum of Art)

2. Layers of Time and Space

Through his recent paintings and drawings, we will highlight the importance of layers in Nara’s work.

Yoshitomo Nara, Hazy Humid Day, 2021, acrylic on canvas, 220 x 195 cm, courtesy of the artist

3. Journey

We will introduce a range of expressions—including photography and pottery—born from Nara’s recent travels to seek out the origins of his sensibilities.

Yoshitomo Nara, SAKHALIN, 2014, photograph, courtesy of the artist


We will consider the relationship between music and his anti-war themes as well as the power of Nara’s works as they permeate society.

Yoshitomo Nara,No Nukes, 1998, acrylic and  colored pencils on paper,36×22.5cm,private collection(NAGASE Masayuki)

5. The Small Community of Rock Cafe “33 1/3”
By recreating the rock cafe Nara frequented during high school, we will reflect on the place where Nara’s creative process began.

Yoshitomo Nara (right) and friends in front of Rock Cafe “33 1/3” (Hirosaki), 1977


Yoshitomo Nara’s playlist for the <Rock Café “33 1/3” and a Small Community> → (PDF File)

Related events

Opening Talk(It has ended.)

Saturday, October 14, 2023 14:00 – 16:00
Yoshitomo Nara — “Northward Bound”
Location: Theatre, Aomori Museum of Art
*Admission: Free
*Capacity: 150
*Registration required(Application period has ended.)

Walking Talk(It has ended.)

Sunday, December 17, 2023 14:00 – 16:00
Yoshitomo Nara — “Things Past & Things to Come”
Location: Mutsu Kasamaikan (Mutsu City)
*Admission: Free
*Capacity: 120
*Registration required

Lecture 1(It has ended.)

Saturday, December 16, 2023 13:30 – 15:00
Lecturer: GODA Masato (Philosophy researcher, Professor of literature, Meiji University)
Mr. Goda, who contributed an essay to the exhibition catalog that provides a fresh take on Yoshitomo Nara, will join us to discuss Nara’s worldview, among other topics.
Location: Theatre, Aomori Museum of Art
*Admission: Free
*Capacity: 150
*Registration not required

Lecture 2

Saturday, February 17, 2024 14:00 – 15:30
Lecturer: Yeewan KOON (Art historian, Professor and Chair of the Department of Art History at the University of Hong Kong)
The author of Yoshitomo Nara (Phaidon), a comprehensive discourse on Nara’s work, joins us to talk about the uniqueness of Nara’s creations, among other topics.
*The lecture will be conducted in English with Japanese interpretation provided
Location: Theatre, Aomori Museum of Art
*Admission: Free
*Capacity: 150
*Registration not required

Live Concert by MUGAMICHILL(It has ended.)

Sunday, October 22, 2023 17:30 – 19:50
Advance tickets: 5,000 yen (tax included)Day-of tickets: 5,500 yen (tax included)
Location: Theatre, Aomori Museum of Art
Ticket https://eplus.jp/sf/detail/3929160001
*For tickets and event information: KEEP THE BEAT Tel: 0172-26-6968

Dramatic Readings at the Aomori Museum of Art (Composed and directed by SHIMIZU Tsukasa)

A creative dramatic reading performance based on Yoshitomo Nara’s works, including the picture book The Lonesome Puppy (Magazine House)
Dates: Saturday, October 28, and Sunday, October 29, 2023 / Performance begins at 14:00
Location: Theatre, Aomori Museum of Art
*Admission: Adults – 1,300 yen / High school students and younger– 800 yen

Exhibition Catalog

The exhibition catalog features color images of the exhibition’s main works and photographs of the venue, essays by the exhibition’s curators and researchers, and a detailed chronology of the artist. The catalog includes English translations and is scheduled to be published in mid-December but will be available for advance purchase at the museum at the end of November.
Produced by: Yoshitomo Nara Foundation
Published by: Seigensha Art Publishing, Inc.
Binding and Design: SUYAMA Yuri

Exhibition Merchandise

In conjunction with the exhibition, new merchandise based on Yoshitomo Nara’s work will be available for purchase.

"Apple Crate Postcard"
Wooden postcards featuring Nara's artwork, made of planks from recycled apple crates.

Shitakawara-yaki “Aomori-Ken (Aomori Dog)”Shitakawara-yaki ""Miss Forest"""
Aomori Dog and Miss Forest from the museum’s permanent collection have been transformed into clay dolls using traditional Hirosaki shitakawara-yaki craftsmanship.

"Aomori-Ken (Aomori Dog) Snow Globe""Miss Forest Snow Globe"
These snow globes are inspired by Aomori Dog and Miss Forest from the museum’s permanent collection.

"miulabo Original Kokeshi Dolls ""Kitty"" and ""Bunny""Inspired by Yoshitomo Nara"
Original kokeshi dolls created by Aomori-based miulabo. Inspired by Nara's works and officially approved by Nara himself.

Other Information

Other museums in Aomori where you can enjoy Yoshitomo Nara's works

Hirosaki Museum of Contemporary Art(2-1 Yoshino-cho, Hirosaki-shi,Aomori)
A to Z Memorial Dog" (2007) is on permanent display near the entrance of the museum.

Towada Art Center(10-9 Nishi-Nibancho, Towada-shi, Aomori)
You can see "Yoroshiku Girl 2012" on the outdoor wall of the museum.


Yoshitomo Nara Exhibition 2023 Executive Committee office
E-mail bijutsukan@pref.aomori.lg.jp