Sumika: A New Restaurant and Gift Shop on Mt. Takao

the 1st floor gift shop of the newly opened Sumika on Mt. Takao | all photos by Masao Nishikawa

Visiting Mt. Takao is one of our favorite get-out-of-Tokyo excursions. In a podcast we did last year with Tofugu we talked about all the great things that Mt. Takao has including a beautiful train station, a wonderful hands-on museum for kids and of course a beautiful hike. Now there’s another reason to go: the new Sumika restaurant and gift shop where you can get a good cup of coffee and some Tengu-themed sweets before the ascent.

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Stunning Textile Products Made From the 1000-Year Old Sanjiku-Kumiori Technique

Sanjiku-Kumiori means triaxial woven fabric and is a technique found in Kyoto. It’s derived from the kumihimo technique of braiding, which fans of the movie Kimi no Na Wa will most certainly remember, and has been passed down for roughly 1000 years. The weaving machine used for the production of Sanjiku-Kumiori is a huge circular loom that measures 5 meters (16.4 ft) in diameter and there are only 2 of them in all of Kyoto.

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Amphibio: Aquatic Couture by Jun Kamei Converts Seawater Into Breathable Oxygen

all photography by Mikito Tateisi, courtesy Jun Kamei

Ask any fan of Harry Potter and they’ll tell you the Bubble-Head Charm is the most effective spell for breathing underwater. But now, thanks to science and curiosity, even this fantasy could be joining its talking-robot and self-driving-car peers in making the leap from science fiction to reality. Japanese designer Jun Kamei has created Amphibio: “a gill garment for our aquatic future,” which he is presenting as part of his graduation thesis from London’s Royal College of Art (RCA).

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Acrylic Paintings of Objects Sliced Like Sashimi by Yoko Eda

Graduating art student Eda Yoko presented her ongoing series “Sashimi of Things” as part of her senior thesis. Although seemingly photographed, these are expertly painted acrylic painting of everyday objects that are thinly sliced and presented as if they were sashimi.

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Graphic Posters of Kawagoe City by Ayano Sunagawa

Kawagoe is a Japanese city northwest of Tokyo. In the olden days it was known to have had strong cultural and economic ties to the city capital of Edo. It even earned the nickname Koedo, or small-Edo. Remnants of this past still remain, and to help tell its story, graphic design student Ayano Sunagawa created a series of stunning black and white posters for her graduation thesis project.

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Manga Artist Tezuka Osamu’s 90th Anniversary Commemorated in Rice Paddy Art

photos courtesy Sankei Photo

Every year around this time Inakadate Village in Japan’s Aomori prefecture transforms their rice paddies into a gigantic canvas for art. This year they’re celebrating the 90th Anniversary of manga artist Osamu Tezuka.

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Layered: Real Life Pixelated Foods by Yuni Yoshida

Pixels are typically associated with digital formats. But in a recent series, Japanese Creative Director Yuni Yoshida turns that thinking inside-out, using real food and analog techniques of cutting and stacking to create patches of “pixelations” in her staged compositions of food.

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The Japanese 3D Optical Illusion Notebook Created by a High-Schooler

All Mozu wanted was to make his friends laugh. So the Japanese high-schooler would use his illustration skills to doodle in his friends’ notebook while they were away. When they came back to their desk they found eraser droppings all over their notebook. They would try to wipe them away but couldn’t. That’s when they realized Mozu had struck again. And that was the beginning of the Nouto Book, a note book filled with Mozu’s pre-printed 3D optical illusions.

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Traditional Japanese Motifs Playfully Repurposed by Ruri Clarkson

Traditional Japanese motifs like the pine tree and plum blossom have been around for hundreds of years in Japan. Some reference the shinto religion while others reference the emperor, or simply aspects of nature. Perhaps because of this history the motifs can come with a lot of baggage, so to speak. “I could feel the old motifs sinking deeper into the waters of the past,”says Tokyo-based visual artist Ruri Clarkson. Chromatope is Clarkson’s attempt to “liberate traditional motifs from the weight of history” and reintroduce them into daily life as embroidery patterns that can be worn on dresses, shoulder bags and backpacks.

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An Exhibition of Photographs and Ceramics at Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine

unless otherwise noted, all photos by Hiroshi Mizusaki courtesy Case-Real Architects

Japan’s Dazaifu Tenmangu shrine, the 1,100-year-old site of Shinto worship in Fukuoka, has thousands of historic artifacts and antiques as part of their public art collection. But several years ago the shrine embarked on an ingenious program – spearheaded by a young priest – to host contemporary art shows within their historic walls. This summer, two Japanese artists heavily influenced by Finland, come together in a multidisciplinary exhibition of photographs and ceramics.

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