the wakuni cafe, which opens January 19, 2024, is inside a 50-year old renovated building

Opening in the Tokyo neighborhood of Higashimurayama this month is Wakuni Cafe, a new destination that embodies history, craftsmanship and a spirit of reusing old materials. The exterior of the cafe is made from roughly 700 bronze plates, each between 60 and 100 years old, salvaged from Hayatani Shrine in Hiroshima.

Wakuni Cafe is a collaboration between architect Kengo Kuma and Uchino Sheet Metal, a small, family-run business specializing in sheet metal. The project was spearheaded by Tomokazu Uchino, who founded his sheet metal company after many years of apprenticing with his father, and wanted to do something to help revitalize his hometown of Higashimurayama.

The cafe, which opens on January 19, 2024, features metallic interiors as well as exteriors, all of which incorporate elements of history. The patina plates that form the exterior facade were salvaged, reprocessed and reused from the roof of Hayatani Shrine while the outdoor seating, designed by Kuma, are made from seating salvaged from the former National Stadium.

Wakuni Cafe
Higashimurayama, Aobacho, 2-5-6 (map)

Inside the cafe, much of the areas are finished with brass sheets, creating a lovely space of metallic texture

objects such as lighting, sinks and other small finishes are also crafted by metal artisans

all of the coffee beans at Wakuni Cafe are sourced from Kinoshita Shoten, a specialty roaster from Okayama Prefecture

the cafe’s emphasis on craftsmanship extends to their cups, utensils and furniture as well, with each being hand-made by artisans from around Japan