The basic checklist for first-timers to Japan is predictable: Eat at a conveyer belt sushi joint, catch a peek of Mount Fuji, ride the shinkansen, cross Shibuya scramble. Over the past few years, one more item has found its place firmly on the list, scrawled in technicolor: take a selfie at teamLab.
The art collective founded in Japan operates site-specific works across Asia, and is expanding in Europe, the Middle East and the United States. TeamLab’s Planets museum in Tokyo’s Koto Ward, which had about a million overseas visitors over six months last year, was scheduled to close in 2024, but with overseas tourists to Japan returning to pre-COVID-19 numbers, the collective plans to keep it open until 2027. At the same time, teamLab reopens its Borderless museum this week at Azabudai Hills, after the Odaiba location closed in August 2022. These sprawling, maze-like facilities just 6 kilometers away from each other are good for tourism and good for business — but as teamLab popularity reaches a saturation point among the culture-loving public, it’s worth asking if the collective’s endless expansion is good for the experience itself.