An Obsession with Retro Japanese Rounded-Corner Windows

Please allow us to share our current obsession: retro Japanese rounded-corner windows. We occasionally come across these on our walks around Japan. They can be spotted on storefronts but also older apartments or office buildings. But wherever they are, there’s something endearing and nostalgic about their softness and hues.

photo by hikarudon12

The windows themselves have so much character but the interplay between window and facade is also enjoyable. Some are so unique that they almost seem to tell a story.

If you share in this obsession, there are a couple places you can browse for more on Instagram. Try the hashtag #レトロ窓 (retro window) or #角の丸い窓 (literally, rounded corner windows). The Instagram accounts claudia_on_thursday and kadonomaruikado are also good resources. And if you like these windows there’s a good chance you’ll like Kyoto’s Showa-Kataitagarasu windows as well!

photo by hikarudon12

photo by kadonomaruimado

photo by kadonomaruimado

photo by kadonomaruimado (ironically, the name of this kissaten is Corona)

photo by po_polka

photo by kadonomaruimado

photo by po_polka

12 Comments

  1. literally took that same first shot of the Snack outside Hachiman Jingu in Setagaya as we passed the other day. It needs a refit but is beautiful.

  2. I understand this obsession, they look awesome.

  3. Love the vintage rounded windows but life in a Showa-era structure isn’t for me – too much like camping.

  4. Just great, love it. Reminds me of wandering about some smaller towns in Japan,

  5. To be fair, I see these all over Korea as well. I think the shape suggested a certain modernity in the 1950-1970s period. A lot have been replaced with conventional square windows for obvious reasons.

  6. As always I appreciate the calm, clear writing and tone of Spoon and Tomago. In this restless and. uncertain time I read Spoon and Tomago as much for the sense of an ordered world as much as for the individual content. I find the written descriptions so simple and yet conveying a deeper, wider range of meaning than a mere word count would convey. Beautiful writing. For me, my favorite entries are those that deal with architecture. Hence I love this piece about the rounded windows. Thank you for bringing contemporary Japanese culture to this reader in California.

  7. Gerhardt Quast

    June 21, 2020 at 4:47 pm

    please, when was the Showa era? (what years were these offered during?)
    they are attractive.

    • Gerhardt – the Showa era was between 1926–1989 but in this instance I’m using the term more loosely as there’s no way to determine when exactly each of these were produced.

  8. I see so much beauty here.

    Having lived in Japan for so many years, and having permanent residency status there, it tugs at my heartstrings to see these images.

    Thank you for such beautiful articles on a country I consider my second home.

    • The Japanese Toilets-A-Go-Go IG account is an interesting one to follow – if you are interested in Japanese culture. No rounded corner windows that I’ve seen, but each is different. These public toilets apparently are all over Japan. Clean, well-maintained, some say nicer than people’s homes. Many are plain. Some are very creative. Japan is, after all, a leading manufacturer of toilets!

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