Art Factory Jonan island (Tokyo, Japan)

A warehouse district in the south part of Tokyo. After passing through a maze of carbon paper blocks, find a space paved with more than 10,000 bricks, and meditate in a quiet, empty space.

This is art museum, or rather, a gallery or as the name suggests Factory, located in Ota-ku, south part of Tokyo. It takes about 30 minutes by bus from Omori Station on the Keihin Tohoku Line. It locates on an artificial island in the warehouse district called Jonan-island. Get off at “Jonan 2-chome” and there is a building nearby. From the outside, it looks like a neat office building, but it was originally a warehouse of Toyoko-Inn.

Once inside, a series of works by “Kimiyo Mishima” are on display as part of the permanent exhibition. I knew “Kimiyo Mishima” from seeing the large trash can object in front of the Toyoko Inn on Tennozu Isle in Tokyo. This permanent exhibition had quite an impact. She was born in 1932, so she is 91 years old at the time of writing this article.

When entered the building, there is a reception and a permanent exhibition area on the left. Kimiyo Mishima’s theme is resources such as discarded newspapers, cardboard, empty bottles, and cans. Installation in the first room is quite impactful. I step forward into the room, and found in a maze-like space where blocks of newspaper printed on carbon paper piled up. It is fun to walk around and feel the artist’s enthusiasm.

When the maze-like passage ends, a vast space appears. The floor of the space, reminiscent of an elementary and junior high school gymnasium, covered with bricks imprinted with newspaper articles. The number of bricks is over 10,000. Looking at the articles imprinted on the bricks, I can understand her interest, environmental issues, political issues, etc.

I visited this place twice and there was no one there both times. I am alone in this vast space. It is such a luxurious space. At art festivals in local areas, I often see a large-scale works in closed school gymnasiums or unused warehouse spaces, but not in Tokyo. In this viewpoint, this space is extremely valuable.

This place has a spiral staircase to go up to catwalk. Along the catwalk, there are photographs by Picasso in collaboration with photographer and poet.

There is an Ukiyoe exhibition on the third floor of the building, and studios where artists create their works are on the fourth floor. When I visited at the second time, this studio opens to the public, and there were about 10 separate spaces where several artists were working.

Jonan island, where this museum locates, has Haneda Airport across the sea, and visitor can see airplane taking off and landing at the airport from the rooftop of the building. The surrounding area is a warehouse district, and very few people, especially on weekends. As mentioned at the beginning, there are very few visitors, probably due to the inconvenience which is far from the railway station.

Visiting are by reservation only. When arrived at the building and enter, a staff member will hand me a piece of paper with information about the exhibition location and the work. Since there were not many visitors, I was able to ask the staff about various things about this museum.

This is a rare place with a different atmosphere from the art museums in central Tokyo. I think you can experience something out of the ordinary. Kimiyo Mishima’s permanent exhibition is quite impressive. Please visit.

Visited in 2022, 2023.

Basic Information

■ Name:Art Factory Jonan Island
■ Address : 2 Chome-4-10 Jonanjima, Ota City, Tokyo, Japan
​■ Homepage: