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Top 10 Kengo Kuma Architecture In Tokyo: One Of The Best Architects In The World - Updated 2020

Top 10 Kengo Kuma Architecture In Tokyo: One Of The Best Architects In The World
Katie
Katie
Updated

If you’re interested in architecture, then Kengo Kuma should be a household name. His architectural works have shaped many cities worldwide, from Turkey to Japan. In Japan, there are many wonderful buildings that clearly showcase the talents of Kengo Kuma and his team from Kengo Kuma & Associates. He has stated that his aim is to reestablish traditional styles and reinterpret these to fit in this century. He has a particular focus on building works, the connection to their environment and the manipulation of light. Kengo Kuma’s style can transport you into another world just by looking at the building from outside, or indeed, stepping over the threshold. So, we think it’s time for us to show you some of his best works in Japan. Now you too, can unearth the secrets behind Kengo Kuma’s majestic buildings and explore one of the richest cultures in the world. Simply read on for our top 10 Kengo Kuma architecture in Tokyo, Japan, that you can see.

1. Visit the bamboo basket pineapple cake shop

SunnyHills at Minami-Aoyama in Dec 2013
Source: Photo by user bm.iphone used under CC BY 2.0

Distinctive like all his other works, SunnyHills Minami pineapple cake shop in the upmarket area of Aoyama stands out. The shop opened in 2013 and is designed to emulate a bamboo basket. It is built utilizing the unique joint system, Jigoku-Gumi, which is a traditional wooden system still popular today. The building is located in the middle of a residential area, so rather than add one more solid concrete building, Kengo Kuma wanted a softer approach to work in harmony with the light and the surroundings.

SunnyHills Minami

Address: 3 Chome-10-20 Minamiaoyama, Minato City, Tokyo 107-0062

Website: SunnyHills Minami

Opening hours: 11am - 7pm (daily)

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Tokyo, Tokyo (prefecture), Japan and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Tokyo, Tokyo (prefecture), Japan

2. See Tokyo University buildings re-imagined into fish scales

Daiwa Ubiquitous Computing Research Building @ University of Tokyo
Source: Photo by user Guilhem Vellut used under CC BY 2.0

From bamboo baskets to fish scales, you’ll be in awe (again) at Daiwa Ubiquitous Computing Research Building. The cedar planks cover three sides of the building, while the fourth side is a mud wall. The main entrance is large and reflects the beautiful garden inside. The team said that they wanted to break away from traditional university buildings and instead create a softer approach. It’s a great place to visit, not just for the architecture, but also for the on-site cafe and garden.

Daiwa Ubiquitous Computing Research Building

Address: 7 Chome-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo City, Tokyo 113-0033

Website: Daiwa Ubiquitous Computing Research Buildingn

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Tokyo, Tokyo (prefecture), Japan and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Tokyo, Tokyo (prefecture), Japan

3. Find peace and tranquility at the bamboo walkway of Nezu Museum

Nezu Museum1
Source: Photo by user 江戸村のとくぞう used under CC BY-SA 4.0

This project was completed in 2009 and is considered an important cultural development. Nezu Museum holds over 7,400 works which include seven national treasures. For this project, Kengo Kuma wanted to create a delicate relationship between the building, its surroundings, and even its important contents. Nestled in the heart of a busy upmarket shopping area, the bamboo approach was designed to calm the heart and mind of visitors. An absolute must-see, for both the art and the architecture.

Nezu Museum

Address: 6 Chome-5-1 Minamiaoyama, Minato City, Tokyo 107-0062

Website: Nezu Museum

Opening hours: Tue, Sat - Sun: 10am - 5pm (closed on Mon, Wed - Fri)

Museum Price: 10 USD

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Tokyo, Tokyo (prefecture), Japan and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Tokyo, Tokyo (prefecture), Japan

4. Visit a tourist center like no other in the world: Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center

Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center dllu
Source: Photo by user Daniel L. Lu used under CC BY-SA 4.0

This spacious seven-story building is located near the popular Sensoji Shrine and has a free observation deck on the seventh floor. This is a great spot to visit and enjoy the glorious views of Sensoji Shrine and Skytree. We love that the external design features are continued through to the interior of the building. The somewhat ‘teetering’ layers of floors are an incredible concept, and each can function independently from the others.

Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center

Address: 2 Chome-18-9 Kaminarimon, Taito City, Tokyo 111-0034

Website: Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center

Opening hours: 9am - 8pm (daily)

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Tokyo, Tokyo (prefecture), Japan and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Tokyo, Tokyo (prefecture), Japan

5. Grab an artisanal coffee and sip it under an origami ceiling at Starbucks Reserve® Roastery Tokyo

Starbucks-Reserve-Roastery-Tokyo-2019-07-18
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user 編集中 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

If you’ve ever been to Japan then you’ll know just how popular Starbucks is here. So, to us, it was no surprise that Kengo Kuma joined forces with the folks at Starbucks to develop a Japanese-style venue. The Starbucks Reserve is one of only five in the world. The traditional architectural style and handicrafts are beautifully showcased with terrace-style roofing and an origami-style ceiling. Each floor has its own specialty drinks. We’ll give you an insider tip: you can buy delicious espresso martinis on the second floor.

Starbucks Reserve® Roastery Tokyo

Address: 2 Chome-19-23 Aobadai, Meguro City, Tokyo 153-0042

Website: Starbucks Reserve® Roastery Tokyo

Opening hours: 7am - 11pm (daily)

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Tokyo, Tokyo (prefecture), Japan and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Tokyo, Tokyo (prefecture), Japan

6. Step into the past and future at [email protected]


Finished in 2017 and located in Oshiage, this area sees a juxtaposition between the historical Edo period and modernity. The large, interwoven wooden planks on the ground level are said to represent the local industry. Combined with a silver piping open-design ceiling, [email protected] has a futuristic and industrial vibe. This is continued, in a non-overbearing way, into the hotel rooms on the upper levels. We sometimes think that industrial-style architecture can feel a bit cold, but thanks to the numerous white drapes hanging from the ceiling that defines the space, [email protected] actually feels very cozy. Perfect for a coffee from the lower level cafe or bar.

[email protected]

Address: 1 Chome-19-3 Oshiage, Sumida City, Tokyo, 131-0045

Website: [email protected]

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Tokyo, Tokyo (prefecture), Japan and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Tokyo, Tokyo (prefecture), Japan

7. Explore the award-winning Keio Takaosanguchi Station and the surrounding area

Takaosanguchi-Station-exit-march20-2016
Source: Photo by user Nesnad used under CC BY-SA 4.0

In 2015, Keio Takaosanguchi Station won a design award for the cladding features designed by Kengo Kuma. The large wooden roof represents the thin barrier between our physical world and that of the gods. The platforms are also designed with wood. The special use of lighting was sparked by the visuals of the soft lanterns that are popular in the local area. The local tourist information service is located inside.

Keio Takaosanguchi Station

Address: Takaomachi, Hachioji, Tokyo 193-0844

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Tokyo, Tokyo (prefecture), Japan and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Tokyo, Tokyo (prefecture), Japan

8. See the world from inside a diamond at Tiffany in Ginza

fractured reflections
Source: Photo by user Takumi Yoshida used under CC BY 2.0

When the sun shines on the Tiffany store in Ginza, you’ll be amazed by the natural light display. For this design, Kengo Kuma wanted to focus on the way that Tiffany designers cut the diamonds, to allow the light to reflect better. He also wanted to create a soft air of elegance and sophistication, which matched both the level of Tiffany’s expertise and the local area of Ginza. In total there are 292 special front facet panels. Each is made from glass and honeycomb. Inside, the light is still allowed into the room, but in a diffused, soft manner. Looking out through the panels, the world seems blurred and distorted. You will feel like you have truly stepped inside a diamond.

Tiffany Ginza

Address: 2-7-17 Ginza ChuoKu Tokyo, Japan

Website: Tiffany Ginza

Opening hours: 10.30am - 8pm (daily)

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Tokyo, Tokyo (prefecture), Japan and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Tokyo, Tokyo (prefecture), Japan

9. Watch the 2020 Olympics at the world-renowned New National Stadium

National-Olympic-Stadium-2019-08-08
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Tokyo-Good used under CC BY-SA 4.0

This project was built to hold the 2020 Olympics. Conscious that a huge stadium could be overbearing to the local surroundings, Kengo Kuma looked for ways to create harmony. He decided to build the entire roof with wood. It is said that the Gingko trees that line the outer gardens of Meiji Shrine were his inspiration. New National Stadium will act as a hub for the 2020 Olympics and beyond.

New National Stadium

Address: 160-0013 Tokyo, Shinjuku City, Kasumigaokamachi, 4−2 JAPAN SPORT OLYMPIC SQUARE 408

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Tokyo, Tokyo (prefecture), Japan and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Tokyo, Tokyo (prefecture), Japan

10. Explore the delicate connection between building design and art at Suntory Museum

Suntory museum_Kengo KUMA (2)
Source: Photo by user japanese_craft_co... used under CC BY 2.0

The building material of ceramic panels was chosen to match the collections of the museum. These panels were then positioned as vertical louvers throughout the buildings, thus allowing plenty of natural light in the room but also creating a relaxed atmosphere. Kengo Kuma wanted a building that would highlight the need to care for and preserve such collections. Not only can you see world-class architecture but you can also explore the beautiful collections inside Suntory Museum.

Suntory Museum

Address: 9-7-4 Akasaka, Minato-ku, 107-0052 Tokyo, Japan

Website: Suntory Museum

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Tokyo, Tokyo (prefecture), Japan and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Tokyo, Tokyo (prefecture), Japan

A trip to Japan isn't complete without seeing Kengo Kuma's work

Kengo Kuma is one of the most famous architects in Japan, but his works are revered worldwide. His expansive portfolio means that there is always an opportunity to see his breathtaking architecture in Tokyo, as he has shaped the landscape of Japan. So book your trip to Japan and see one of the world’s best architects, in one of the world’s most fascinating countries.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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