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Magical Photographs of Ginzan Onsen in the Snow

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Ginzan Onsen is an achingly photogenic hot spring town in the Yamagata region of Northern Japan. Literally meaning ‘silver mountain,’ the location became famous for its old-Japan look and feel after it was used for the site of the period drama Oshin. Japanese photographer Yossy, who is based in neighboring Miyagi Prefecture, happened to visit Ginzan as it was snowing last week and captured some pretty magical photos.

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Could Tokyo Bay Host a Floating Eco-City in 30 Years?

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Next Tokyo: a vision for a floating eco-city built in the middle of Tokyo Bay | click images to enlarge

In the 2015 – 2025 Lloyd’s City Risk Index, Tokyo was identified as the 2nd most at risk city only behind Taipei. Hurricanes, earthquakes and flooding were the primary issues raised that put the metropolis at risk. And in alignment with those waterborne risks, global architecture firm KPF has proposed “Next Tokyo,” a vision for Tokyo in the year 2045 when a mile-high tower and eco-city floats on Tokyo Bay providing home for half a million citizens and simultaneously addressing city-wide vulnerability by providing coastal defense infrastructure.

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The USIO Project: Using Design to Promote the Treasures of Ishigaki Island

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The USIO Design Project is an initiative that pairs designers with local business on Ishigaki Island in Japan’s southwestern Okinawa Prefecture. The idea is to harness the power of design by rebranding and redesigned the treasures that the island has to offer. The first phase of the project began with redesigned a series of products and souvenirs that were made on the island.

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A Constellation of Japanese Architecture to Shine on New York

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Do you ever look at an architectural work and think, “Oh that’s Japanese.”? We certainly do. And while I’d like to say it’s because we all have such keen eyes, there’s something more to it. As Portuguese architect and curator Pedro Gadanho puts it, there’s “a Japanese constellation” of shared architectural themes and sensibilities that travel across generations of architects to create a strong regional identity. It stands in stark contrast to individuality-based “star-system” often found in the West and is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

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Japanese Artist Turns Paper Cups, Food and Cigarette Ash Into Playful Works of Art

We don’t know much about Shin except that he’s Japanese, lives in Kyushu and is 23 years old. We also know that he enjoys turning everyday objects in his house – cigarettes, apples, bread – into dynamic, 3-dimensional works of art that have found an endearing home on Twitter and Instagram, where the artist posts his creations.

But more than anything, Shin’s multilayered method of storytelling using paper cups has so far proven to be his most creative use of disposable materials.

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K8: an 8-Leveled Bar in Kyoto Wants to Reclaim its Neighborhood’s Lost Beauty

K8 Kyoto by Florian Busch (1)

All Photographs Copyright Nacasa & Partners

Kyoto’s Kiyamachi Dori is a gem of a location. The historic street was built in the early 1600s to run parallel with the new Takase River, which was opened to allow small boats to carry wood, coal and other goods to the city center. And because of this surge in economic activity, by the late 1700s, Kiyamachi Dori was lined with restaurants, inns, brothels and small watering holes all looking to cater to travelers and merchants. It’s an intricate network of night alleys, says architect Florian Busch, adding: “any walk here leads to eventual surprises.”

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The Remarkable Sayama Lakeside Cemetery by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP

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Welcome to the breathtaking Sayama Forest Chapel.

Shrines and chapels in Japan are often so much more than religious sites; rather, they are places where the living can simultaneously greet the deceased and tend to some much-needed self-introspection. The Sayama Cemetery is an incredible place to visit if you want to understand this concept for yourself. It is no ordinary cemetery- while it is home to many Japanese ancestors, it also recently gained two gorgeous architectural monuments: the Sayama Forest Chapel and the Lakeside Cemetery Community Hall.

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The Magnetic Air Bonsai Creates Surreal Levitating Plants

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We’ve never had much of a green thumb but maybe we’ll have more luck with an air thumb? A small Japanese company based out of Kyushu has created a fun, poetic twist on indoor gardening. By utilizing the opposing forces of magnetic energy they’ve created a levitating plant called Air Bonsai.

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The Art of Emoji: New 8bit Sculptures and Prints by Shinji Murakami

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The rise in popularity of emoji in the West has followed the same course as how Ernest Hemingway describes a man going broke: “gradually then suddenly.” Now, emoji seems to be everywhere from Hollywood movie billboards to, well, the Oxford Dictionary. But for artist Shinji Murakami the world is just catching up to his love affair with the pictograms originally developed by Japanese mobile phone operators in the late 90s.

Inspired by the ancient yet versatile 8-bit technology, Murakami has been creating works harken back to Dragon Quest, Zelda and other video games of his childhood. And now he’s presenting a series of new works during a major solo exhibition in New York.

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Celebrate Mt. Takao’s Earthly Delights at the New Takao 599 Museum

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the new 599 Museum is named after the elevation of Mt. Takao in the outskirts of Tokyo

Sick of the hustle and bustle of Tokyo and itching to get away for a day?

Then I’ve got the perfect solution for you. Merely an hour’s ride from metropolitan Tokyo, in Hachiōji, there is a mountain resplendent with scenic beauty, hiking trails, and a buddhist templeMt. Takao, whose peak reaches 599 meters, (1,965 ft) high, is a protected environmental zone nestled within a quasi-national park. Like Mt. Fuji, its scenic beauty earned it an impressive 3 gold stars from the famous Michelin Guide.

Visitors curious to learn more about all the animals and bugs that they come across during their hiking expeditions up Mt. Takao can satisfy their curiosity at the foot of the mountain. There, the newly opened Takao 599 Museum welcomes visitors with an exciting array of exhibitions, as well as a well-pruned lawn complete with avant-garde benches, a terrace, and a cafe.

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