SFMOMA’s Travel Program is sponsored by United Airlines, the museum’s official partner in extraordinary experiences.

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Thursday, March 28, 2019



In coordination with SFMOMA partner United Airlines, please find our two suggested routes below for arriving to Tokyo, depending on your dates. Tokyo has two international airports with nonstop flights from San Francisco – Narita and Haneda – 90 and 30 minutes from the city proper, respectively. As a reminder, individual airport transfer upon landing in Tokyo will be provided.

Should you wish to arrive ahead of the itinerary (departure of March 26 or earlier), we recommend the following United route with Polaris business service (and new Polaris seat), from SFO to Tokyo’s Narita airport, 90 minutes from the city center. SFO features a United Polaris Lounge and NRT has a newly renovated United Club for your enjoyment

  • Flight no. UA 837, SFO > NRT, 3:30pm ETA 

Should you wish to arrive the day the itinerary begins (departure of March 27), we recommend the United route with Polaris business service, from SFO to Tokyo’s Haneda airport. SFO also features a United Polaris Lounge.

  • Flight no. UA 875, SFO > HND, 2:45pm ETA

**Note that if you arriving on March 28, in order to be on time for the start of our itinerary, please make sure you land at Haneda by 3pm, or Narita by 2pm.

Once you have booked your flights, please make sure to send us your flight itinerary.

Members will be met at the airport on arrival by a driver for individual transfer to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel (30 minutes from Haneda, 75 minutes from Narita).

Welcome Dinner

At the art deco Teien Art Museum and a private dinner at its garden restaurant, with catering from Chef Daisuke Shimazaki of Sushi Yuu.


Friday, March 29, 2019


A short morning walk around the moat of the Imperial Palace, arriving at Tokyo’s premier modern art museum. A light Japanese lunch at a beautiful restaurant in Ginza and a short gallery walk. A visit to the Lieko Shiga exhibition at the photography museum with the artist.

Dinner by the wonderful Chef Shinobu Namae at his Michelin-awarded restaurant, L’Effervescence.

  • National Museum of Modern Art

  • Ginza galleries & lunch

  • Lieko Shiga at Tokyo Photographic Art Museum

  • Dinner at L’Effervescence

Spotlight: National Museum of Modern Art  

A visit to Japan’s first national museum will feature a special guided tour of its rich permanent collection currently on display. The collection, which spans from traditional Japanese Nihon-ga paintings to contemporary works of art, is housed in the original 1952 building built by architect Kunio Maekawa, located along the scenic Imperial Palace moat.

Saturday, March 30, 2019
Tokyo - Odawara


A day trip to Hiroshi Sugimoto’s Odawara Art Foundation, Enoura Observatory, located west of Tokyo. Two options for the afternoon: diving into teamLab’s digital museum, Borderless, or a guided walk around the newly reopened Museum of Contemporary Art. An evening reception at the guesthouse and private museum of collector Takeo Obayashi.   

  • Hiroshi Sugimoto’s Enoura Art Foundation

  • Museum of Contemporary Art OR teamLab Borderless (optional)

  • Takeo Obayashi collection

Spotlight: Obayashi Collection

Art collector Takeo Obayashi shows works at his private museum in a residential neighbourhood in central Tokyo. A long-term supporter of SFMOMA, Obayashi’s museum, which doubles as a guest house, is designed by Tadao Ando and incorporates in its structure works by Antony Gormley, Tokujin Yoshioka and Olafur Eliasson, among others.


Sunday, March 31, 2019


A full day exploring the cultural neighbourhoods of west Tokyo, around Shibuya and Omotesando, exploring the architecture and museums, and later a private afternoon visit to the Kusama Museum. Brunch at the iconic New York Grill, and a casual sake-tasting dinner in the buzzing Shibuya area.

  • Nezu Museum and garden, special tour by architect Kengo Kuma

  • Architecture walk around Omotesando Boulevard and stroll among the fascinating backstreets

  • Kusama Museum private visit

  • Free time for shopping

  • Casual “izakaya” sake-tasting dinner and night stroll in Shibuya

Spotlight: Nezu Museum

Koichi Nezu's family, who made their fortune during Japan’s first industrial era more than a century ago, have been prominent collectors of East Asian art and antiquities, from Japan, Korea, and China. The museum that houses them stands on the site of the family’s old home amid a beautiful Japanese garden, and was redesigned several years ago by architect Kengo Kuma.


Monday, April 01, 2019
Tokyo - Kamakura


A day-trip to Kamakura, a former capital city by the ocean and home to beautiful temples and houses. Visit the intimate studio of Japan-based Korean artist Lee Ufan, and a private Zen temple for a tea ceremony. Lunch hosted by a conservator of ancient Japanese farmhouses.    

  • Lee Ufan studio visit

  • Private tea ceremony at Chojuji Temple

  • Lunch at the Takishita House

  • Group visit to the famous Kamakura ‘daibutsu’ (Big Buddha)

  • Free dinner back in Tokyo

Spotlight: Takishita House

Yoshihiro Takishita has made saving and preserving old Japanese farmhouses, or ‘kominka’, and the carpentry skills used in their construction his life’s work. His own home, transplanted several decades ago from deep in the mountains to a hilltop in Kamakura and lovingly restored, is perhaps the finest example in Japan of his mission of conservation.  


Tuesday, April 02, 2019


A visit to the studio of Takashi Murakami to meet the artist. Free afternoon in Tokyo. After lunch, a visit to the Mori Art Museum for its ‘Roppongi Crossing’ exhibition of emerging artists. A special exhibition of the photographs of Naoya Hatakeyama at Taka Ishii Gallery. Evening cocktails and heavy hors d’oeuvres hosted by the Contemporary Art Foundation.

  • Takashi Murakami Kaikai Kiki studio visit

  • Mori Art Museum’s emerging artist show

  • Naoya Hatakeyama photography at Taka Ishii Gallery

  • Contemporary Art Foundation evening reception and gallery hopping

*Large suitcases to be sent overnight by luggage transfer to Naoshima, to arrive by lunchtime on the following day.  

Spotlight: Kaikai Kiki

Located about 45 minutes outside of Tokyo is artist Takashi Murakami’s factory-like studio, where he mostly produces large-scale paintings with his dedicated team of assistants. This will be a rare opportunity to meet with the artist in his private, creative space.  


Wednesday, April 03, 2019


Travel on the Shinkansen (a.k.a. 'Bullet Train') 3 hours west of Tokyo to the Art Islands. Take a private boat to Teshima island – including lunch overlooking the Inland Sea and a visit to the ethereal Teshima Art Museum – and then the main island, Naoshima in time for sunset and dinner. Stay overnight in rooms connected to or nearby the Benesse House Museum.

  • Morning transfer by Shinkansen and coach to the Art Islands

  • Boat (30 min) to Teshima island, museum and other artworks

  • Boat (20 min) to Naoshima island

  • Check into rooms at Benesse House Museum

  • Japanese dinner inside the museum

Spotlight: Teshima Art Museum

The product of a collaboration between two visionaries, artist Rei Naito and architect Ryue Nishizawa, the Teshima Art Museum is a beautifully understated and poignant structure on Teshima island. Its concrete shell is pierced by two large oval openings through which the light, sky, trees and wind are drawn inside, creating space without limits.   


Thursday, April 04, 2019


A structured morning on Naoshima island visiting two museums designed by Tadao Ando (Chichu Museum, Lee Ufan Museum) and the outdoor artworks. Enjoy a free afternoon among the ‘Art House Projects’ – artworks and installations in several former homes and other buildings in Honmura village. Private experience of the James Turrell artwork at the Chichu Museum and a special final group dinner.

  • Chichu Museum

  • Lee Ufan Museum

  • Free time to visit Art House Projects and outdoor artworks

  • James Turrell Open Sky Night Program

  • Final dinner

Spotlight: Art House Projects

Naoshima’s Art House Projects are a selection of site-specific installations by contemporary artists in buildings including former houses, a shrine, and even an old dental clinic, spread around Honmura village. Strolling among them also offers a fascinating glimpse of rural life.   


Friday, April 05, 2019
Onward Travel

Onward Travel

Group departs Naoshima by coach to Okayama station. Onward travel on a case-by-case basis. Most guests will board the same Shinkansen train heading to Tokyo and get off as needed at Osaka (for Kansai International Airport, KIX), Kyoto, or Tokyo.


If you are departing on April 5 from Naoshima back to San Francisco, we recommend flying the following nonstop United routes with Polaris business service, from either Osaka or Tokyo airports. As a reminder, individual airport transfer is provided.

 Osaka’s Kansai airport is a 3-4 hour journey from Naoshima by boat, bus, and train.

  • Flight no. UA 34, KIX > SFO, 4:50pm ETD

Tokyo’s Haneda airport is a 6 hour journey from Naoshima by boat, bus, and train.

  • Flight no. UA 876, HND > SFO, 3:45pm ETD

Tokyo’s Narita airport is a 7 hour journey from Naoshima by boat, bus, and train.

  • Flight no. UA 838, NRT > SFO, 5:00pm ETD

**Note that if you are departing from either of the Tokyo airports on April 5, please make sure your flight departs by 3:30pm or later, given transportation time.


Please note that this program is subject to change.