Keita Morimoto’s City Guide to Tokyo
Keita Morimoto’s City Guide to TokyoKeita Morimoto
Location plays a central role in Keita Morimoto's vivid paintings.
The visual artist was born in Osaka, Japan, in 1990 and attended a Canadian high school in Toronto. Living abroad for 15 years, the Canadian city became a place of inspiration for Keita, who studied North American and European art history during his stay. Later, in 2021, he moved to Japan which breathed new life into his practice.
The country is the subject of his rich paintings that blur the fine line between fantasy and modern life. His paintings focus on night time scenes in Tokyo in particular, accentuating its highlights – such as the people, shop windows and vending machines – in warm light. In this way, there's a touch of the Baroque movement and Rembrandt's use of light and shade in Keita's painterly visions of Japan. In adopting a hyperrealist approach but enhancing the light and colours, the paintings feel realistic – as though the characters have stepped off the streets of Japan – and yet cinematic and effervescent all at once; the works giving the feel of one looking into an uncanny multiverse.
As Tokyo is the main subject of Keita's art, we asked him to create a guide to the city. Where are the places within his romanticised visions of modern life in Tokyo? For his guide, Keita highlights the quieter areas in the 24-hour region. He recommends steering away from tourist areas and opting, instead, for more immersive exploration through Tokyo's many neighbourhoods via its stations. Here are the spots to unwind and experience some downtime in amidst the bustling atmosphere of Tokyo.
In this Guide
“Meguro River in Nakameguro is a nice place for seeing cherry blossoms but if you hate extremely crowded places, head to Ueno Park.”More Info
“A two hour train ride from Tokyo, Hakone is famous for its hot springs and views of Mount Fuji. Stays usually cost $200-$300 per person all inclusive. For an affordable hotel, try Tenseien. Higher end options are Hakone Kowakien Ten-yu or Hoshino Resorts KAI Hakone. Hike to see Mount Fuji Otome Pass. Hakone Yumoto, Pola Museum, Hakone Open-Air Museum are all fun areas to explore.”More Info
“When I want to unwind I usually go to a cafe in the Asakusa area to grab a cup of coffee and research.”More Info
“Dollar sushi is a Tokyo fast-food staple. It’s cheap, quick and delicious.”More Info
“I worked at Sushiro, which is a dollar sushi place. It was a fun experience learning how food was made in those fast food chains. I'd say sea urchin, red shrimp and scallops are the best dishes there.”More Info
“In Harajuku, Gallery Target, Nanzuka are good venues. But I still have to recommend my own gallery in Roppongi, Kotaro Nukaga.”More Info
“You have to try monjayaki. Pour the batter, sauce and bonito flakes onto your hot plate. Wait for it to crisp up on the bottom but eat it while it’s still kind of gooey on top. I recommend the Mentaiko mochi cheese monja (monjayaki with seasoned pollock roe, rice cake and cheese fillings) and kimchi pork monja.”More Info
“Rather than a portal to a specific place, it's almost like it's like they’re these mysterious windows that people are attracted to. Using light to attract people is a huge part of life here, both religious and commercial use of light. These vending machines are so interesting because they are literally everywhere, every corner. Landlords can get a percentage of the sales if you have one in front of your house. They have always struck me as these strange portals, almost like black holes, that I am drawn to in my day to day. Whatever you want, pretty much anything, you can get one in the machines.”More Info