Tamatsukuri Kindergarten is a school for early-learning that is located in a forested region of Japan’s Chiba prefecture. For over 40 years the school has dedicated itself to nourishing the souls, minds and bodies of its pupils. In 2022, the school decided to renew its main building and hired architect Naoki Hashimoto and artistic director Haruka Misawa to oversee their vision.
It’s said that shutter speeds of around 1/1000th of a second are necessary to really capture the detail of moving water in photography. So you can imagine the technical challenge of accurately capturing water as a three-dimensional object. Product designer Masahiko Tanoue has dedicated the last several years of his career to just this: creating glass tableware that beautifully replicates not only the shape and form of water but the way its transparency refracts light.
Shinjuku Station – the road has collapsed on the South side of the station, revealing pools of blue water that have formed on the train tracks
Stories about the collapse of civilization and order—apocalyptic stories—endlessly seduce us. As terrifying as the real thing would surely be, we love imagining our world destroyed. And Japanese illustrator Tokyo Genso excels at painting that picture for us. He creates lush CG illustrations of notable Tokyo landmarks that are in ruins and, in many cases, have been reclaimed by nature.
Gaku Yamazaki, a 21-year old college senior, spends his spare time traversing Japan in search of what he has dubbed ikei-yajirushi, or ‘unusual arrows.’ There are thousands of these abnormal road signs dotted across Japan and while drivers might find them confusing or even annoying, Yamazaki has developed a certain affection for them, particularly towards the more bizarre ones.
These white and intricate forms appear to be the work of mother nature, sculpted over hundreds and thousands of years. Instead, they’re the work of Japanese ceramicist Eriko Inazaki, who painstakingly shapes and assembles each prick and piece by hand. And in doing so, she’s pushed the art of ceramics beyond its traditional boundaries.
If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of touristy Kyoto, head to this newly opened oasis of books and coffee. Located slightly north of central Kyoto is the Donkou Kissa Fang, a serene cafe and private book collection built inside immaculately crafted townhouse and garden.
“Buy a vacation home that doubles as a hotel.” That’s the tagline for ‘Not A Hotel,’ a real estate start-up founded by Shinji Hamazu. The company challenges the traditional hotel model by treating it as a timeshare and selling it to 12 people, each receiving 30 days worth of use per year. The membership-style service focuses on small, boutique hotels that are impeccably designed by notable architects. Members control their home—everything from the thermostat to transitioning from home to rental property—using their smartphone.
the Kyoto Aqarium’s 2020 Penguin Relationship Flowchart
Penguins, the way they waddle around and protect their eggs, are often thought of as cute, cuddly and romantic. But those who observe them for extended periods know they have a dark side. Two aquariums in Japan, Kyoto Aquarium and Sumida Aquarium, keep obsessive tabs on their penguins and maintain an updated flowchart that visualizes all their penguin drama.
Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine, one of Japan’s most-historically and culturally significant shrines, will undergo a massive renovation beginning in May of 2023. And for three years the honden main hall will be completely closed off to the roughly 10 million visitors who come to the shrine each year. So plans were made to create a temporary hall of worship and it was architect Sou Fujimoto who was selected for his use of blending nature with architecture.
May 7, 2023 / Johnny / Comments Off on Art & Coffee: Our Favorite Museum Cafes Across Japan
Come for the art, stay for the coffee.
Japan’s numerous museums offer a little bit of everything. Whether it’s cutting edge, contemporary art in Tokyo or a tiny museum in the countryside dedicated to a single sculptor, seeking them out is always rewarding. What’s also rewarding is the calm break at the museum cafe. Although unlike regular cafes, there’s usually the museum cover charge required to access it. But the space offers an opportunity to reflect on everything seen at the museum. The menu too is often thoughtful and inspired by the art or architectural aspects of the museum. We present to you, a few of our favorite museum cafes. And whether they’re in Tokyo or beyond, each is definitely worth the visit.