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Komaeyu: Redesigning the Public Bath to Preserve Traditional Sento Culture

all photos by Ju Yeon Lee courtesy Schemata Architects

The number of public baths, or sento as they’re referred to in Japan, have been in chronic decline since the late 1960s. As the number of homes with their own private bath proliferated, public bathhouses shrank from over 18,000 to under 2000 today. But sento were more than just about improving public hygiene in post-war Japan. They became part of a daily routine, a bedrock of local community, where neighbors would gather and connect after a long day’s work. Komaeyu, located in a western suburb of Tokyo, is part of a budding movement to rethink the role of sento for contemporary lifestyles and preserve sento culture.

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All Aboard the Deer Train to Nara

all photos by mareiii04

Nara is known for several things including their gorgeous temples and exquisite parks. But the historic Japanese city has another major tourist attraction: their devious deer. If you’re heading to Nara, be sure to try and board Kintetsu Railway’s new Deer Train!

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‘Ye Bakers’ is a New Bakery Nestled Inside an Aichi Home

All images ©Tololo Studio courtesy Maki Yoshimura Architecture Office

In a residential neighborhood, a small bakery is designed to integrate seamlessly with its surroundings while maintaining its commercial purpose. For all that’s written and said about the difficulty of starting a business in Japan, there is one exception. The country’s lax zoning laws make it particularly easy to convert a section of your home into a cafe or eatery. Case in point: Ye Bakers.

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An Architect Collaborated with 7 Renowned Artisans to Create this Stunning Home

All images © Koji Fujii / TOREAL courtesy Cubo Design Architect

“We believe houses that are rooted in an understanding of Japan’s cultural context and a respect for the skills and innovations of our ancestors, which can nevertheless be passed onto future generations, are the kind of houses we should be building in Japan today,” said Hiroshi Saruta, the lead architect of Cubo Design Architect.

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Japan Society Presents a Festival of New Japanese Film

this post is sponsored by Japan Society

From July 26-Aug 6, Japan Society is presenting the 16th annual JAPAN CUTS: Festival of New Japanese Film. This year’s festival, which marks the first fully in-person JAPAN CUTS since 2019, features over 25 films from major blockbusters to indie darlings, spanning narratives, documentaries, experimental and short films, and anime, as well as a special tribute to Ryuichi Sakamoto.

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Osaka Celebrates Star Festival with River of 40,000 LED Lights Evoking the Milky Way

The Okawa River, which runs through central Osaka, was lit up on Friday with 40,000 LED lights floating down the river as they evoked the celestial milky way. The surreal scene was part of a celebration of Tanabata, or the Star Festival, which is a major summer festival in Japan taking place on July 7th. It commemorates the story of two literal star-crossed lovers represented by the stars Vega and Altair who are only allowed to meet each other once a year on that night, as long as the skies are clear.

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Senko Hanabi Earrings are the Perfect Summer Accessory

Summer in Japan is not summer in Japan without fireworks. The tradition originated over 280 years ago as a means of warding off epidemics and today, no matter where you are in Japan, you can be sure to encounter fireworks festivals both large and small. And while the grand finales are typically loud, bright and bolstrous, an unspoken rule among smaller gatherings is that fireworks should always end with senko hanabi. Literally meaning ‘incense fireworks,’ these small and subtle sparklers are packed with about 10 seconds of delicate pyrotechnics. This charming yet ephemeral summer tradition has been encapsulated into a stunning set of earrings by a Japanese accessory maker.

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Twenty Two Artists Created Over 120 Artworks Throughout the Tokyo Offices of GREE

When Japanese internet media company GREE relocated offices last year, they wanted to do something special; something that would capture the unique creativity and artistic drive behind many of their employees. So the company worked with art agency TokyoDex and the architecural designers at Tokyo Creators’ Project to pull off one of the most ambitious office space transformation projects we’ve ever seen.

Working with 22 individual artists, the highly collaborative effort resulted in a massive 129 pieces of art spread over six floors. Each floor is uniquely curated with its own sub-theme, but is tied together by the governing concept of “Subcultural Retreat with a Kick.”

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60-Year-Old Machiya Adapted into Hender Scheme’s New Osaka Flagship

All images © toha courtesy DDAA

Hender Scheme’s flagship store in Kansai is an adaptive reuse of a sixty-plus-year-old one-story wooden house near Umeda Station in Osaka. With a spacious area of around 175m² and impressive high ceilings, the store has been designed to reflect Hender Scheme’s unique aesthetic while honoring the building’s history. The goal was to create a retail space that serves as an extension of their fashion and product design approach.

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Discover Fukui Sake Along the Kuzuryu River at Eshikoto

all images courtesy Furuya Design

Eshikoto is a brand created by Nizaemon Ishidaya, proprietor of the Kokuryu Sake Brewery which was founded in 1804 in the mountains of Fukui. With a motto not dissimilar to the famous quote from Field of Dreams–”if we make good sake, people will support it”–the brewery has been hand-crafting small batches of sake for over 200 years. Last year, the brand opened a new restaurant and sake tasting center that is nestled between the mountains of Fukui and sits along the Kuzuryu: the River of the Nine-Headed Dragon.

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