Sitting in the middle of Roppongi’s Midtown Garden, 21_21 Design Sight is a sleek, futuristic gallery and the home of new and groundbreaking design-centric exhibits.

Co-founded by legendary fashion designer Issey Miyake and designed by architectural icon Tadao Ando, the exterior of this stylish Roppongi gallery is impressive. Still, it’s just a prelude of what to expect inside the gallery.

21_21 Design Sight is a dedication to the world of design. Co-directed by graphic designer Taku Satoh, product designer Naoto Fukazawa, and fashion designer Issey Miyake, it’s run by three of the country’s biggest names in design, but accessible for even the most amateur of design fans.

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The main motivation behind 21_21 Design Sight

The purpose of the space and its rotating exhibits is to shine a new, inquisitive light on the design consideration and detail behind everyday items and events. Their key motivations are to promote understanding and interest in design for both experts and the general public. The gallery has a reputation for picking something seeming ordinary, then zooming in on it, the people behind it, and the craftsmanship of it, shifting viewers’ perspectives and allowing them to see the beauty in its creation.

Throughout the year they hold rotating exhibitions devoted to the theme of “everyday life” as well as educational programs like talks and workshops.

21_21 Design Sight Gallery
Photo by Lucy Dayman

Galleries 1, 2 and 3

Galleries 1 and 2: The gallery interior follows the cool minimalistic aesthetic of the outside, as the stairs from the admission booth lead you down into the underground depths of the main galleries 1 and 2. Inside, you’ll find exhibits that consist of both displays and audiovisual material too, it’s all dependent on what’s being shown.

21_21 Design Sight Gallery
Photo by Lucy Dayman

While it can feel a little imposing at first, the scattered sofa chairs and table of art books open for exploration invite you to relax and feel more at home. These conjoined spaces are typically home to 21_21 Design Sight’s main paid exhibits. Their layout guides visitors through the displays, but also allows you to backtrack.

21_21 Design Sight Gallery
Photo by Lucy Dayman

Gallery 3 is a smaller space that hosts mainly collaboration-style exhibitions with both domestic and international corporations. As part of these exhibits, there are occasionally design-centric pieces for sale, making it a great place to pick up a unique gift.

What else is nearby 21_21 Design Sight?

You can easily turn a visit to 21_21 Design Sight into a Roppongi art adventure, with other big-name galleries, like The National Art Center Tokyo and Mori Art Museum, in relative walking distance. There’s also shopping and entertainment complex Roppongi Midtown, which regularly hosts free public seasonal events, including Christmas illuminations, and cherry blossom celebrations in spring, as well as paid events like the Midtown Ice Rink that kicks off just after Christmas.

Other things to know

Language: Most signage is bilingual Japanese and English. And while the staff all speak Japanese, many will also be able to assist you with inquiries about the gallery in English.

Accessibility: The gallery is wheelchair accessible and suitable for those with mobility challenges. It has automatic doors, a wheelchair ramp, wheelchair-accessible elevator and bathrooms, and loan chairs too.

Cheapo tip

You can nab a ¥100 discount if you’ve visited the current exhibition at the Suntory Museum of Art, show your ticket stub at entry. Also, holders of a Tokyo Midtown Card get ¥100 off admission.