Frozen Land

The exhibition Frozen Land showcases the beauty of cold northern nature with snowy landscapes and frosted trees. The photographs on display share the theme of Nordic winter landscapes, and embody the moment at which they were taken and the atmosphere in nature. 

The photographs in this exhibition were taken in the course of several winters in various parts of Finland, but mainly in the Koillismaa region and the Finnish lake district. When taking the photographs, the temperature was often almost minus 30 degrees Celsius – or even colder. That not only put the photographer but also the camera to a test. Photographing nature requires being at the right place at the right time. For example, in order to be formed, steam fog requires a sufficiently large difference between the air and water temperature. If you’re lucky, there are a few such days in a winter. Then again, a severe winter storm may shake the crown snow loads off the trees.

Our winters are changing. Climate change will be reflected in the Nordic nature in a smaller amount of snow and ice. Will we be able to keep these fabulous, magical winters?

Frozen Land

Hours: 11:00–18:00 (until 15:00 on the last day of the exhibition)
ars gallery, 5-13-1 Jingumae Shibuya-ku Tokyo 150-0001
Gallery closed on Mondays
Free entrance

Maarit Kristiina Vepsäläinen is a 46-year-old photographer born in Savo, Finland, with a further and specialist qualification in photography. As a photographer, she is characterised by her desire to capture moments in nature that can never again be experienced in the exact same way. She wants her photographs to feature either interesting light – or the intentional absence of it. She is also interested in the element of depth. Depth allows the photographs to become something more than just surfaces, something that immerses the viewer in the depicted atmosphere.

“I started my career as a photographer with travel photography 20 years ago, but I’ve been carrying around a camera ever since I was a child. In 2011, I got my first digital Canon SLR camera and began to actively develop my photographic self-expression by attending various photography courses across Finland and, of course, by taking more photos!

I like taking pictures in my home region of Savo as well as in the Koillismaa region, Kuusamo and various parts of the North. Nordic nature is unique, partly even pristine, and beautiful in all seasons. In good weather and lighting conditions, the best place to take photos is often the local nature. In such favourable conditions, I usually take photos in the Rautalampi and Konnevesi regions, in the Finnish lake district.

Nature is a great source of resources and wellbeing. When I’m in nature, I find myself seeking places that exude peace and serenity, places where I can really be present in the moment. I hope that my photographs help the viewer forget the everyday hustle and bustle for a moment and take in the natural atmosphere and calm down in its embrace.”

Photos: Maarit Kristiina Vepsäläinen


Elastic Alliances -exhibition

The past few years have taken our necessity to adapt to a whole new level. What is considered normal has been stretched as much in the everyday as in artists’ creative processes. Despite economic and social distress, artists have kept on with their work, and collaboration between creatives has kept on happening.

The exhibition presents fragments of eight individual art projects that have been created collaboratively in exceptional circumstances during 2021. Each project has its individual processes and collaborative models, where the goal has been to come together, work together, and create something together. Through the exhibition, the viewer sees glimpses of long-lasting processes.

The artists and artist collectives in the exhibition are Milena Oksanen & Diego Machado, Anni Puolakka & Ellie Hunter, Pehmee kollektiivi, Minna Pöllänen & Bang Geul Han, Post Theatre Collective, Johanna Rotko/BIOART LAB, Jaana Pirskanen & Half A Map ja The Veerkracht Collective curated by Jani Kaila.

The projects tell us stories of cycles of life, listening to the everyday, coming up with new ways of working together, and of resilience in a challenging situation. Above all, the projects show us how artists have adapted to the current situation by carrying on with what is important to them, building up on existing alliances, supporting each other, and finding new resources in a situation that has seemed hopeless.

Elastic Alliances exhibition
8 April – 22 May 2022
The gallery is open daily from 10 to 20, free entrance.
Gallery Hanaholmen, Espoo, Finland

In conjunction with the exhibition, a seminar focusing on new forms of artistic collaboration will be arranged at Hanasaari Auditorium. Join us for the half-day seminar on Thursday the 28th of April at 1-6pm.


The projects in the exhibition have been created as part of Together Alone 2.0, a project organized collaboratively by The Finnish Academic and Cultural Institutes. In the spring of 2020, the Institute network announced an open call for new art projects under the title of Together Alone. The open call sought artistic proposals related to the state of emergency, radical change and resilience. Together Alone 2.0 was launched in 2021 as a continuation of the project. Read more about the project and the artists:

There are 17 Finnish Cultural and Academic Institutes around the world. They advance international mobility, visibility and collaboration of Finnish professionals in the arts, culture and research. The institutes co-operate through a Helsinki-based association, the Finnish Cultural and Academic Institutes (SKTI). Find out more:

The exhibition Elastic Alliances is arranged with the support of the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation, The Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland (Svenska kulturfonden) and the Finnish Cultural and Academic Institutes.

Quite Japanese – Yet So Finnish: Kaija + Heikki Siren – curator’s talk

The curator of the exhibition Frans Autio will give a curator’s talk and tell more about the exhibition on Thursday March 17th at 6pm (in English, interpreted in Japanese) via Zoom.

Registration open until March 16th.

Frans Autio. Photo: Rolf Autio.

Frans Autio is doctoral researcher in Doctoral programme in history and cultural heritage, at University of Helsinki, Finland. In his doctoral thesis, he is examining Japanese industrial car design, focusing on the transition of its future expectations during 1960s and 1970s.

Autio is specialized on modern Japanese design and architecture, modern architecture theories, and history of the future. He was assistant editor of Kaikki ja ei mitään: arkkitehdit Kaija + Heikki Siren [Everything and nothing: Architects Kaija + Heikki Siren] (2020), in which his article, ‘Ajattoman puuarkkitehtuuriperinteen äärellä Suomessa ja Japanissa’ [Approaching the heritage of timeless wooden architecture in Finland and Japan] was published.

In summer 2018 Autio spent three months in Japan, working on his master’s thesis in collaboration with Chiba University.

Quite Japanese – Yet So Finnish: Kaija + Heikki Siren

Hours: 11:00–18:00 (until 15:00 on the last day of the exhibition)
ars gallery, 5-13-1 Jingumae Shibuya-ku Tokyo 150-0001
Gallery closed on Mondays
Free entrance

Exhibition is produced by the Museum of Finnish Architecture and curated by Frans Autio.

Header photo: Museum of Finnish Architecture

International Women’s Day 2022 Celebration

The Finnish Institute in Japan wishes every girl and woman a hopeful International Women’s Day and encourages everybody to #BreakTheBias.

Imagine a diverse, equitable and inclusive world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination.

Together we can force women’s equality…because we can #BreakTheBias.

Come and meet us Tuesday March 8th at 9AM-10AM in front of the National Azabu Supermarket in Hiroo! We will give a small, inspirational gift to 200 first passers-by. Hope to see you! 

Tuesday 8 March 2022, 9:00-10:00 (JST). 

National Azabu Supermarket, 〒106-0047, 4-5-2 Minami Azabu,Minato-Ku,Tokyo.

Quite Japanese – Yet So Finnish: Kaija + Heikki Siren

The exhibition examines Kaija and Heikki Siren’s long-term relationship with Japan, and features their wooden architecture in both Finland and Japan. 

The Finnish architect couple Kaija Siren (née Tuominen, 1920–2001) and Heikki Siren (1918–2013) designed and realised several projects for Japan, a country much admired by numerous Finnish architects. The extensive collection of articles on the Sirens’ architecture published in August 1965 in Kindai Kenchiku, a Japanese magazine specialised in modern architecture, provided the initial impetus in furthering their relationship with Japan, leading to a warm understanding between the Sirens and the Japanese public. For the Sirens, Japanese architecture meant the same as the Sirens’ architecture meant for the Japanese: simple and beautiful architecture that takes its environment into account, and skillfully combines interior and exterior spaces. Over the next six decades, the Sirens’ work continued to be featured in Japanese architecture magazines.

The Sirens first design in Japan, the Karuizawa Golf Club’s restaurant, was completed in 1974 and second, the Onuma Golf Club, in 1976. Today, several holiday villages consisting of standard cottages designed by the Sirens can be found in Japan. The sites designed by the architect couple in Japan emphasize wooden log materials and a refined relationship between a building and its surrounding environment.

Curator’s talk
The curator of the exhibition Frans Autio will give a curator’s talk and tell more about the exhibition on Thursday March 17th at 6pm (in English, interpreted in Japanese) via Zoom.
Requires registration, more information here.

Quite Japanese – Yet So Finnish: Kaija + Heikki Siren

Hours: 11:00–18:00 (until 15:00 on the last day of the exhibition)
ars gallery, 5-13-1 Jingumae Shibuya-ku Tokyo 150-0001
Gallery closed on Mondays
Free entrance

Exhibition is produced by the Museum of Finnish Architecture and curated by Frans Autio.

Photo: Museum of Finnish Architecture

Åland 100 Knitting Competition Winners

The winners of the hugely popular Åland 100 Knitting competition have now been selected, thank you so much to everyone who participated! All of the entries were excellent, so the decision was really hard to make, but in the end Ms. Megumi Shibata was chosen as the winner with her lovely Åland-coloured cardigan! Prizes will also go to Ms. Yuko Hachiya, Ms. Mieko Toba and Ms. Yuka Suzuki, as well as an honorary prize to Ms. Kazumi Sunada with her lovely sweater for dogs. Congratulations!

The jury consisted of Ms. Tiina Björklund, Project Leader of Åland 100, Ms. Linda Permanto, Head of Marketing and Communication at Novita Oy, as well as Dr. Anna-Maria Wiljanen, Director of the Finnish Institute in Japan.

Photo: Megumi Shibata

Photo: Yuko Hachiya

Photo: Mieko Toba

Photo: Yuka Suzuki

Photo: Kazumi Sunada

Miila Westin: Mythical

Have you heard of Rongoteus or Ägräs?

Miila Westin’s exhibition of Finnish mythical beings is part of her Master of Arts thesis in Aalto University. While researching the Finnish ancient religion the illustrator noticed how abundantly there were myths and stories which were not a part of the national epic of Karelia and Finland, The Kalevala. In her research, Westin considered whether the illustrations of myths need to informative, or whether the artists can interpret the subject freely. She came to a conclusion that new interpretations keep the ancient myths alive and remembered. Westin’s illustrations do not reflect how the Finnish mythical beings may have been imagined in ancient times, but instead how the illustrator herself wants to see them.

Miila Westin: Mythical

Opening hours: 11:00–18:00 (11:00-15:00 on the last day of the exhibition)
ars gallery, 5-13-1 Jingumae Shibuya-ku Tokyo 150-0001
Gallery closed on Mondays.
Free entrance.

Miila Westin (b. 1987) is a Finnish illustrator living and working in Helsinki, Finland. She works on various types of illustration projects ranging from character design and editorial illustrations to pattern design and books. She especially enjoys visualizing imaginary creatures and dreamy environments. Westin has illustrated Radio Popov, the winning book of The Finlandia Junior Price (2020). Westin is also a board member of The Finnish Illustrators Association.
Westin graduated as Master of Arts in Visual Narrative (Visual Communication Design) in 2020 from Aalto University of Arts and Design. The topic of her thesis was about the visualizations of Finnish mythical beings.

Miila Westin: Hiisi (2020)

Grandmother square blanket instructions

A special Knitting Club for combining the grandmother square blankets will be held on Monday December 13th at 13–14:30PM. The event will be held as a hybrid event on site at the Metsä Pavilion as well as online on Zoom! There are no strict rules about the size of the blanket, so you may make your blanket as big as you want.

If you are not able to join the event, you can also send your blanket directly to the Institute:

The Finnish Institute in Japan/Knitting club
3-5-39 Minami-Azabu
Minato-ku Tokyo 106-8561 Japan

Tips on how to connect the squares:


Finnish Design for Everyday Life – Tokyo Exhibition

– Patterns and Forms Inspired by Nature

The legacy of modernism is still strongly present in the day-to-day lives of Finns. The Finnish Design for Everyday Life – Patterns and Forms Inspired by Nature exhibition showcases this history, design and art of modernism from the 1930s to the 1970s. The exhibition sheds a light on the evolution of Finnish design into a well-known phenomena while also offering glimpses into the Helsinki of artists and designers, where Tove Jansson, amongst others, left her mark with her commissioned works and art pieces. The success stories of the Finnish art industry at the New York World’s Fair in 1939 and in the Milan Triennials in the 1950s also have their moments in the spotlight. The exhibition also presents the Finnish textile industry to the Japanese audience, showcasing the successful histories of Marimekko and the Finlayson and Tampella factories.

Nature is still very much present in the Finnish way of life and the day-to-day life. The exhibition studies how various flora and fauna, the different seasons and natural phenomena have inspired artists, photographers, architects and designers. Their experiences of nature manifest in their art, the unique items of the art industry as well as in industrial serial production. The diversity and organicity of nature are reflected on the pieces and works of the exhibition; the posters, photographs, glass and ceramics art, fashion photos and advertisements, textiles, furniture, dishes, paintings and drawings.

The exhibition contains about 300 art works and items from nearly 40 different Finnish artists and designers. In addition to Alvar Aalto, Ilmari Tapiovaara, Tapio Wirkkala, Timo Sarpaneva, Kaj Franck, Michael Schilkin and Birger Kaipiainen, the exhibition showcases a group of influential women designers, such as Aino Aalto, Dora Jung, Eva Taimi, Eva Anttila, Saara Hopea, Gunnel Nyman, Helena Tynell, Nanny Still, Uhra-Beata Simberg-Ehrström, Rut Bryk, Toini Muona, Kyllikki Salmenhaara and Marjatta Metsovaara, who all deserve international attention also during these modern times.

In addition to the collections of the HAM Helsinki Art Museum, items and works in the exhibition have been borrowed from the following collections: The Alvar Aalto Museum/Alvar Aalto Foundation, Design Museum, Helsinki City Museum, Kakkonen Collection, Moomin Characters Ltd, The Finnish Museum of Photography, Vapriikki and private collections.

The exhibition has been curated by HAM curator Heli Harni, with Harri Kalha, PhD, serving as an expert.

Finnish Design for Everyday Life – Patterns and Forms Inspired by Nature
Bunkamura, Tokyo
December 7th 2021 – January 30th 2022
For more information, please visit the museum’s website.

This exhibition has previously been shown in
Tottori Prefectural Museum, Tottori October 10th – November 15th 2020
Kitakyushu Municipal Museum of Art, Fukuoka June 26th – August 29th 2021
The Museum of Ceramic Art, Hyogo September 11th − November 28th 2021

Photo: Tsutomu Miura / Tottori Prefectural Museum

Hallå Tokyo!


The Finnish Institute in Japan will be hosting the annual Finnish-Swedish Week from Monday November 8th to Friday November 12th. This year’s events will discuss the Finnish-Swedish people in politics, entrepreneurship and entertainment outlining the impact of they have made both in Finland as well as internationally! The week will traditionally end with the ever so popular crayfish party! The events this year (with exception of the crayfish party) will be held as hybrid events.You can join us in the Metsä Pavilion or online in Zoom. Please check our website for further information!
Register for all events at:


Monday, November 8th
Alexander Stubb

The Finnish Swedish Week will begin with the interview of Professor Alexander Stubb. He is the Director of the School of Transnational Governance at the European University Institute. He has served as Prime Minister, Finance Minister, Foreign Minister, Trade and Europe Minister of Finland. Come and listen to Professor Stubb’s thoughts about the impact of Swedish in culture, business and politics but also about the future of the second official language in Finland!

The interview will be followed by a networking reception!
Come and be inspired!

Date and time: 8.11.2021 18-20
Place: Metsä pavilion and online (ZOOM)
Zoom link:

Tuesday, November 9th
Green Light District

On Tuesday it’s time for music! The hiphop-meets-big bind group Green Light District is a Finnish-Swedish band from Helsinki, known for their covers and original hits. The band of 10 musicians actively explores the borders and limits of different genres due to the vast musical experience and influences between the members.

Date and time: 9.11.2021 18-19:30
Place: Metsä pavilion and online (ZOOM)
Zoom link:

Wednesday, November 10th
Johanna Gullichsen

Finnish designer Johanna Gullichsen will be interviewed about her art, her story as a female entrepreneur and about the sources of her inspiration. Johanna Gullichsen is widely known for her graphic interior textiles. Her sophisticated designs tell a story of their own combining the traditional patterns textile types. Gullichsen has received many prizes-the most recently Kaj Franck Design Prize 2021.

Date and time: 10.11.2021 18-19
Place: Online (ZOOM)
Zoom link:

Thursday, November 11th
Ted Urho

Finnish-Swedish week continues on Thursday November 11th with an online talk event “And that’s why Finland celebrates the day a Swedish king fell off his horse and died on a battlefield in Germany in 1632” by Mr. Ted Urho. He will be talking about why the Finns speak Swedish in Finland, the advantages and disadvantages of being a Finnish Swede as well as discussing the story of the dead king and his horse. Ted Urho is the executive manager of the liberal think tank Agenda since 2019. He has previously worked as a journalist, producer and host of the breakfast show.

Date and time: 11.11.2021 18-19
Place: Online (ZOOM)
Zoom link:

Friday, November 12th
Crayfish Party

Date and time: 12.11.2021 18-21
Place: Metsä pavilion