History of Kaigado Gallery


The Very First Story of Kaigado

In 1948, Kaigado Gallery was born in Aoyama, Tokyo, where the vestiges of the post-war era still linger. The first store of Kaigado, which has continued for more than seventy years to the present day, is the two-story shop at the entrance of the tree-lined avenue leading to Aoyama’s iconic building, Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery.

At the time, there were many customers of the U.S. Occupation Forces, and the sight of many black cars lined the tree-lined streets was impressive. In addition to selling Japanese paintings, we received many requests from foreign customers to frame their artworks that they had brought from their home countries, so we had an atelier in the back of the store with a framers’ studio and took many orders for framing.

New developments since the time of the Tokyo Olympics

When it first opened, the shop dealt only in Japanese paintings such as Ukiyo-e and contemporary woodblock prints, but a major turning point came in 1965, when the Tokyo Olympics were held.

The road in front of the shop (today’s Aoyama Dori) was expanded to accommodate the Olympics and the shop was reborn in a new building. This building was designed and constructed by the famous architect Yutaka Murata.

Around the time we expanded our shop, we began to purchase and handle works by foreign top-class artists such as Picasso and Chagall from art dealers and publishers in Europe. At the same time, we have deepened our friendships with leading Japanese artists such as Ikuo Hirayama and Eien Iwahashi, and we have frequently held exhibitions, making our foundation as a gallery even stronger since this period.

The Tokyo Olympics gave us the opportunity to expand the range of works by both domestic and international artists, and as one of Japan’s leading art galleries, we had the opportunity to open shops in the Hotel Okura, the Hotel New Otani, and the Imperial Hotel’s three main hotels from 1960 to 1970.

At the time of its opening, the Imperial Hotel Arcade, where the current store is located, was designed to provide foreign guests with the opportunity to enjoy Japan’s best culture and traditional art without leaving the hotel. It is fortunate that it has not changed that we are able to introduce Japanese artists to a lot of guest from abroad since the first open.

Entry into Interior Art Business

With the changing times, the nature of art and the needs of customers have diversified, and since around 2000, we have been engaged in the art coordination business for space design in hotels, offices, hospitals and commercial facilities, in addition to the sale of paintings for home enjoyment, and have achieved more than 500 projects to date. Please click here to see some of our past installations. This page introduces some of our past installations.

Prospects for the future

For us, the dawning of “Reiwa” era is a turning point in our outlook for the future. It is our wish that more and more people will feel familiar with art, and we continue to seek to fulfill our unwavering commitment to expand opportunities for many talented artists and serve as a bridge between art and clients.

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