ultramarinus – beyond the sea

Japan: Tokyo 2014

AFTERTHOUGHT, Tokyo

DSC_4925Although short, the five-day trip to Tokyo was an inspiring journey that we had longed for. Visiting Tokyo was like reading a really good novel, a story full of surprises, styles, allegories and imageries in a truly metropolitan setting. We love every moment of our Tokyo Story, and already we are thinking of going back to continue our unfinished tale.

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Read other posts on 2014 Tokyo:
1. Tokyo 2014 (Introduction)
2. Yokohama Osanbashi Pier
3. Ginza, Tokyo
4. Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo
5. Omotesando, Tokyo
6. Harajuku & Aoyama, Tokyo
7. Nezu Museum, Tokyo
8. Roppongi Hills, Tokyo
9. The National Art Centre, Tokyo
10. Midtown, Tokyo
11. A Shrine in Shibuya, Tokyo
12. Yoyogi National Gymnasium, Tokyo
13. A Night in Yanaka, Tokyo
14. Breakfast at Tsukiji Market, Tokyo
15. Moveable Feast, Tokyo
16. Seasonal Fruits, Tokyo
17. Afterthought, Tokyo


SEASONAL FRUITS, Tokyo

Grocery shopping wasn’t part of the itinerary until we found the Natural House in Aoyama, an organic grocery store which offers all kinds of fresh produces and food products from all over Japan. We were very impressed by the Japanese’s obsession with freshness.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe apple display at the store front of the Natural House in Aoyama prompted us to enter the store where we stayed longer than expected.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere are some of the fruits, sashimi and soya drink that we got from another grocery store, Precce Premium, and a farmer’s market.

DSC_4848Autumn, the season for persimmons. We were very happy to have found a farmer’s market which sold seasonal fruits and we brought “home” three fresh persimmons. The gold-orange skinned persimmons and the green skinned grapes were the best fruits we had in this trip.

DSC_4830We were curious to know the taste of the violet fruit of akebi (known as the chocolate vine in Japan) and we had to admit that it was disappointing. Inside the shell are slimy pulp with many small, dark seeds.

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Read other posts on 2014 Tokyo:
1. Tokyo 2014 (Introduction)
2. Yokohama Osanbashi Pier
3. Ginza, Tokyo
4. Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo
5. Omotesando, Tokyo
6. Harajuku & Aoyama, Tokyo
7. Nezu Museum, Tokyo
8. Roppongi Hills, Tokyo
9. The National Art Centre, Tokyo
10. Midtown, Tokyo
11. A Shrine in Shibuya, Tokyo
12. Yoyogi National Gymnasium, Tokyo
13. A Night in Yanaka, Tokyo
14. Breakfast at Tsukiji Market, Tokyo
15. Moveable Feast, Tokyo
16. Seasonal Fruits, Tokyo
17. Afterthought, Tokyo


MOVEABLE FEAST, Tokyo

“Tokyo is a food lover’s paradise” – We could not agree more. Here are some of the meals that we enjoyed during our stay in Tokyo.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA(Above two photos) Meat pie and spaghetti with spinach and shimeij mushroom @ Nezu Cafe in Nezu Museum, Aoyama

DSC_4937OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA(Above three photos) Kamaeshi (Japanese rice dish cooked in an iron pot) with fresh crab meat and yakitori (grilled chicken skewers) @ Kamameshi-haru (元祖 釜めし春), Ueno.

DSC_4563Kurobuta tonkatsu (deep fried black hog pork cutlet) @ Maisen (まい泉), Shibuya-ku

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOmurice  (omelette with fried rice topped with gravy) @ Candle, Ginza

DSC_4804DSC_4802Tonkotsu ramen (noodle in pork bone broth) @ a popular ramen chain, ICHIRAN RAMEN (一蘭), Shibuya

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABento box from Kinokuniya Supermarket (紀伊国屋), Aoyama, Minato-ku

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Read other posts on 2014 Tokyo:
1. Tokyo 2014 (Introduction)
2. Yokohama Osanbashi Pier
3. Ginza, Tokyo
4. Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo
5. Omotesando, Tokyo
6. Harajuku & Aoyama, Tokyo
7. Nezu Museum, Tokyo
8. Roppongi Hills, Tokyo
9. The National Art Centre, Tokyo
10. Midtown, Tokyo
11. A Shrine in Shibuya, Tokyo
12. Yoyogi National Gymnasium, Tokyo
13. A Night in Yanaka, Tokyo
14. Breakfast at Tsukiji Market, Tokyo
15. Moveable Feast, Tokyo
16. Seasonal Fruits, Tokyo
17. Afterthought, Tokyo


BREAKFAST AT TSUKIJI MARKET, Tokyo

It is unforgivable for not paying a visit to the Tsukiji Market before dawn to beat the tourist crowd when our hotel is only 10-minute walking distance from the world’s biggest fish market.  After a quick stroll through the busy market, we stopped by a small eatery for a bowl of fresh chirashi [assorted sashimi on a bowl of sushi rice] for an early Japanese breakfast.

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Read other posts on 2014 Tokyo:
1. Tokyo 2014 (Introduction)
2. Yokohama Osanbashi Pier
3. Ginza, Tokyo
4. Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo
5. Omotesando, Tokyo
6. Harajuku & Aoyama, Tokyo
7. Nezu Museum, Tokyo
8. Roppongi Hills, Tokyo
9. The National Art Centre, Tokyo
10. Midtown, Tokyo
11. A Shrine in Shibuya, Tokyo
12. Yoyogi National Gymnasium, Tokyo
13. A Night in Yanaka, Tokyo
14. Breakfast at Tsukiji Market, Tokyo
15. Moveable Feast, Tokyo
16. Seasonal Fruits, Tokyo
17. Afterthought, Tokyo


A NIGHT IN YANAKA, Tokyo

After a day in Shibuya, we opted for a moment of tranquility for our last night in Tokyo. Yanaka, an old neighborhood north of Ueno, emerged as the ideal destination. Miraculously spared from the bombings of WWII, Yanaka remains as one of the best spots to soak up the atmosphere of prewar Tokyo. Its narrow streets, old timber houses, dim street lamps, well-preserved temples, and the enormous cemetery put together an intimate neighborhood and a peaceful setting as if entering the world of a Japanese film or animation classic. We allowed ourselves to get lost in the labyrinth of laneways, indulging in the silence and darkness of the beautiful night.

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Read other posts on 2014 Tokyo:
1. Tokyo 2014 (Introduction)
2. Yokohama Osanbashi Pier
3. Ginza, Tokyo
4. Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo
5. Omotesando, Tokyo
6. Harajuku & Aoyama, Tokyo
7. Nezu Museum, Tokyo
8. Roppongi Hills, Tokyo
9. The National Art Centre, Tokyo
10. Midtown, Tokyo
11. A Shrine in Shibuya, Tokyo
12. Yoyogi National Gymnasium, Tokyo
13. A Night in Yanaka, Tokyo
14. Breakfast at Tsukiji Market, Tokyo
15. Moveable Feast, Tokyo
16. Seasonal Fruits, Tokyo
17. Afterthought, Tokyo


YOYOGI NATIONAL GYMNASIUM, Tokyo

Built for the 1964 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, the Yoyogi National Gymnasium and its adjacent pavilion are two of the most iconic works of Japanese modernist architecture by Kenzo Tange. The roof of the stadium was the largest suspended roof at the time. The stadium was an early attempt to combine modern structural engineering with traditional Japanese aesthetics, creating a piece of modern architecture that the world had never seen before, less than two decades after Japan was devastated by World War Two.

There was hardly anyone at the stadium ground except a few occasional passersby and a young man making a sketch of the building. Under the afternoon sun, the concrete panels glowed in an orange polish, revealing how astonishingly well maintained the building is after half a century has gone by. At such a central location between Meiji Shrine and Shibuya, the ground of Yoyogi would come under spotlight again in 2020 when the Olympic Game returned to Tokyo. It would be interesting to see how Tange’s architecture still plays a role in the grand sporting event 56 years after its original opening, alongside with Zaha Hadid’s controversial stadium.

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Read other posts on 2014 Tokyo:
1. Tokyo 2014 (Introduction)
2. Yokohama Osanbashi Pier
3. Ginza, Tokyo
4. Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo
5. Omotesando, Tokyo
6. Harajuku & Aoyama, Tokyo
7. Nezu Museum, Tokyo
8. Roppongi Hills, Tokyo
9. The National Art Centre, Tokyo
10. Midtown, Tokyo
11. A Shrine in Shibuya, Tokyo
12. Yoyogi National Gymnasium, Tokyo
13. A Night in Yanaka, Tokyo
14. Breakfast at Tsukiji Market, Tokyo
15. Moveable Feast, Tokyo
16. Seasonal Fruits, Tokyo
17. Afterthought, Tokyo


A SHRINE IN SHIBUYA, Tokyo

Typhoon Vongfong finally left Tokyo. Life was back to normal in much of the Japanese capital. In the afternoon we were finding our way from Harajuku to Shibuya. In the midst of busy traffic and fashion boutiques of Meiji Dori, a small and traditional Buddhist temple set back from the street caught our sight in between two building blocks. Street noise faded as we walked in the gate toward Chosenji Temple.  We stood in front of the timber building to absorb the peaceful atmosphere of the place. Two cats appeared from the back of the temple, chasing each other, and disappeared into the shrubs adjacent to the property.

From Meiji Dori we walked into the side streets trying to find our way to Yoyogi Stadium. Soon we discovered another urban retreat. A stair caught our attention leading us up to a platform where Kitayainari Shrine stood. It was a blessing that we found this place, a tiny tranquil place finished with well-crafted concrete. Perfectly blended into the surrounding modern architecture, Kitayainari Shrine serves well as a spiritual niche in the dense commercial neighborhood.   We walked around this small complex for longer than we thought we would, enjoying a sense of traditional spirituality in a contemporary architectural setting. Under the warmth of the afternoon sun we saw the structure of Yoyogi Stadium bathed in the orange sunlight just across the street.

1Chosenji is hidden behind the hustling street scene of Meiji Dori in Shibuya.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABuilt with concrete, metal, wood and glass, Kitayainari Shrine is a hidden gem that we found when we were exploring a short-cut path to Yoyogi National Stadium.

3The shrine was closed but we enjoyed moment of quietness at the forecourt with occasional cool and refreshing breeze.

4Stone water basin.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA large bell with rope suspended under the soffit over the main door of the shrine.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt each eaves corner, a metal downsprout collects rain water from the roof down to a traditional cistern in front of the temple.

7 Around the corner, we found a small concrete niche that houses an exterior altar for worship.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA pair of animal guardians stand in front of the exterior altar.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYoyogi National Stadium stands right behind the Kitayainari Shrine.

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Read other posts on 2014 Tokyo:
1. Tokyo 2014 (Introduction)
2. Yokohama Osanbashi Pier
3. Ginza, Tokyo
4. Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo
5. Omotesando, Tokyo
6. Harajuku & Aoyama, Tokyo
7. Nezu Museum, Tokyo
8. Roppongi Hills, Tokyo
9. The National Art Centre, Tokyo
10. Midtown, Tokyo
11. A Shrine in Shibuya, Tokyo
12. Yoyogi National Gymnasium, Tokyo
13. A Night in Yanaka, Tokyo
14. Breakfast at Tsukiji Market, Tokyo
15. Moveable Feast, Tokyo
16. Seasonal Fruits, Tokyo
17. Afterthought, Tokyo


MIDTOWN, Tokyo

Another mixed-use development in close proximity to National Art Centre is the Tokyo Midtown. Completed in 2007, several years after the Roppongi Hills, the Tokyo Midtown includes office towers, hotels, apartments, shops, restaurants, museums and parks. With Tadao Ando’s 21_21 Design Sight Museum and Kengo Kuma’s Suntory Museum, Midtown is also a cultural destination in its own right.

1Aerial view of Tokyo Midtown at top right corner.
2Ando 21_21 Design Sight Museum was closed for exhibit installation when we were there.
3 4 5 It wasn’t the best day to wander outdoor. We did however come across one of the many outdoor art pieces at Tokyo Midtown.

6Tokyo Midtown is home to one of the city’s tallest commercial towers.
7 8 Tree-like canopies cover forecourts between different buildings.
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Read other posts on 2014 Tokyo:
1. Tokyo 2014 (Introduction)
2. Yokohama Osanbashi Pier
3. Ginza, Tokyo
4. Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo
5. Omotesando, Tokyo
6. Harajuku & Aoyama, Tokyo
7. Nezu Museum, Tokyo
8. Roppongi Hills, Tokyo
9. The National Art Centre, Tokyo
10. Midtown, Tokyo
11. A Shrine in Shibuya, Tokyo
12. Yoyogi National Gymnasium, Tokyo
13. A Night in Yanaka, Tokyo
14. Breakfast at Tsukiji Market, Tokyo
15. Moveable Feast, Tokyo
16. Seasonal Fruits, Tokyo
17. Afterthought, Tokyo


THE NATIONAL ART CENTRE, Tokyo

Within walking distance from Roppongi Hills, international renowned architect Kisho Kurokawa left his final mark in Tokyo at the National Art Centre. Famous for his experimental design such as the Capsule House (1970) and his involvement in the Metabolist Movement in 1960s, Kurokawa had been a prominent figure in architecture, design and style throughout the second half of 20th century Japan until his death in 2007.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOverview of the National Art Centre from the Roppongi Hills Observation Deck.

2Exterior view of the undulating glass facade.

3Architect Kisho Kurokawa’s iconic cone-shaped glass entrance.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAtop each of the upside down cone lies a museum cafe.

7Behind the timber wall are a number of exhibition halls, which together form the largest exhibition space in Tokyo.  The Art Centre provides venues for all kinds of temporary art exhibitions, both international and within the country.

8A pleasant stair wraps around the concrete core.

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Read other posts on 2014 Tokyo:
1. Tokyo 2014 (Introduction)
2. Yokohama Osanbashi Pier
3. Ginza, Tokyo
4. Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo
5. Omotesando, Tokyo
6. Harajuku & Aoyama, Tokyo
7. Nezu Museum, Tokyo
8. Roppongi Hills, Tokyo
9. The National Art Centre, Tokyo
10. Midtown, Tokyo
11. A Shrine in Shibuya, Tokyo
12. Yoyogi National Gymnasium, Tokyo
13. A Night in Yanaka, Tokyo
14. Breakfast at Tsukiji Market, Tokyo
15. Moveable Feast, Tokyo
16. Seasonal Fruits, Tokyo
17. Afterthought, Tokyo


ROPPONGI HILLS, Tokyo

A few hours before Typhoon Vongfong hit Tokyo, we were up onto the observation deck on the 52nd floor of the Roppongi Hills Mori Tower. Completed in 2003, Roppongi Hills is a successful development project comprised of offices, apartments, malls, restaurants, cafes, cinemas, hotels, museums, and parks, while the 54 storey Mori Tower is the centerpiece of complex. Centrally located at the heart of the city, the Tower allowed us to have a 360-degree overview of Tokyo. One floor higher up, on the 53rd floor lies the Mori Art Museum, a uniquely located contemporary art museum that serves as the cultural beacon for the entire Roppongi Hills. At the museum, we saw an exhibition of a Taiwanese artist. The exhibition is called Lee Mingwei and His Relations. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

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Read other posts on 2014 Tokyo:
1. Tokyo 2014 (Introduction)
2. Yokohama Osanbashi Pier
3. Ginza, Tokyo
4. Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo
5. Omotesando, Tokyo
6. Harajuku & Aoyama, Tokyo
7. Nezu Museum, Tokyo
8. Roppongi Hills, Tokyo
9. The National Art Centre, Tokyo
10. Midtown, Tokyo
11. A Shrine in Shibuya, Tokyo
12. Yoyogi National Gymnasium, Tokyo
13. A Night in Yanaka, Tokyo
14. Breakfast at Tsukiji Market, Tokyo
15. Moveable Feast, Tokyo
16. Seasonal Fruits, Tokyo
17. Afterthought, Tokyo


NEZU MUSEUM, Tokyo

Since 1940, Nezu Museum has been a prominent destination for traditional Japanese art.  The new museum building designed by Kengo Kuma opens to the public in 1990, and continues to serve as a focal point at the east end of the shopping street of Omotesando in Aoyama.
1In the shade of the big tile roof, the entry possession from the museum gate to the entrance door provides a peaceful transition between the urban activities outside and the traditional Japanese art exhibitions behind the doors.

2Under the shadow of the overhang, the simplicity of building materials and structural expression form a sense of natural beauty,  sleek and elegant.

3Building materials of different textures are used to create a rich pattern of grey tones under the shadow of the eaves.

4The permanent exhibit of Japanese art is housed in the minimal and elegant building which architect Kengo Kuma describes as a simple museum under a big traditional roof.

5The museum cafe is housed in a pavilion, a few steps away from the museum building. Under the fiber ceiling, the museum cafe brings users to relax in harmony with the man-made nature of the Japanese garden outside.

6The texture and translucent quality of the fiber ceiling creates an atmospheric lighting effect.

7We were lucky enough to be seated at the bar table along the big window.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Japanese garden behind the museum is home to a portion of the museum collection.

9A number of traditional tea houses and shrines scattered in the garden.

10There seems to be a dialogue between the stone sculpture and the tree next to it.

11A minimalist stair connects the garden level with the museum main floor above.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAInterior reading space at the second level.

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Read other posts on 2014 Tokyo:
1. Tokyo 2014 (Introduction)
2. Yokohama Osanbashi Pier
3. Ginza, Tokyo
4. Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo
5. Omotesando, Tokyo
6. Harajuku & Aoyama, Tokyo
7. Nezu Museum, Tokyo
8. Roppongi Hills, Tokyo
9. The National Art Centre, Tokyo
10. Midtown, Tokyo
11. A Shrine in Shibuya, Tokyo
12. Yoyogi National Gymnasium, Tokyo
13. A Night in Yanaka, Tokyo
14. Breakfast at Tsukiji Market, Tokyo
15. Moveable Feast, Tokyo
16. Seasonal Fruits, Tokyo
17. Afterthought, Tokyo


HARAJUKU & AOYAMA, Tokyo

Strolling along the small streets in Harajuku and Aoyama offers quite a different experience than checking out the buildings by star architects along Omotesando.  Just a stone throw away, the neighborhoods behind the high street are indeed full of surprises.  With interesting fashion boutiques, accessory shops, and hair salons, these tranquil and tidy backstreets provide a different sense of urban beauty.  It is a place of intimate scale, and a crossover of avant-garde styles and domestic living.  Every house is unique.  Every shop has its own character.

DSC_4850This pink shop on the narrow Takeshita-dori offers freshly made crepes with numerous flavours.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEntering the Harajuku street, we were attracted by this white escape stair.

DSC_4207Visiting these streets before the shops opened their doors offered us a quiet moment to admire the unique architecture in the area.

DSC_4231No extravagant materials were used but each building is uniquely designed according to the character and needs of the shop owner.

DSC_4229Studious is a sleek fashion boutique designed by Suppose Design Office.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis narrow building covered by ivy plants is a mental clinic.

DSC_4252“NOW IS FOREVER” – We couldn’t agree more.

DSC_4851The cafe in Design Festa, an artist hub with dozens of studios, was a good spot to take a break.

DSC_4260Shops and residences mingle neatly in the neighborhoods of Harajuku.

DSC_4406This little shrine between two stores caught our attention.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARight next to the stacked parking structure is a glass box boutique.

DSC_4514This store has a small patch of green for visitors to enjoy. The green lawn brings a sense of welcome and warmth to enhance the cool and sleek boutique design.

DSC_4535We stopped on the street countless times captivated by the neat streetscape created by the unique architecture.  Building massing, facade treatment, and architectural detailing come together in an harmonious way.

DSC_4546In the evening, we walked to Watari Museum of Contempory Art in Harajuku.  Before we entered the museum, we spotted this eye-catching building across the street.

DSC_4543Designed by Swiss architect Mario Botta, Watari Museum of Contempory Art was built in 1990.  We went in and saw an exhibition on Japanese architect Arata Isozaki.  The exhibition occupied 3 levels of the museum, presenting the life of Isozaki when he is not doing architecture.  An one to one scale tree house designed by Isozaki was reconstructed as the centerpiece of the exhibition.  We loved to use the outdoor staircase to move up and down the building while touring the exhibition.

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Read other posts on 2014 Tokyo:
1. Tokyo 2014 (Introduction)
2. Yokohama Osanbashi Pier
3. Ginza, Tokyo
4. Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo
5. Omotesando, Tokyo
6. Harajuku & Aoyama, Tokyo
7. Nezu Museum, Tokyo
8. Roppongi Hills, Tokyo
9. The National Art Centre, Tokyo
10. Midtown, Tokyo
11. A Shrine in Shibuya, Tokyo
12. Yoyogi National Gymnasium, Tokyo
13. A Night in Yanaka, Tokyo
14. Breakfast at Tsukiji Market, Tokyo
15. Moveable Feast, Tokyo
16. Seasonal Fruits, Tokyo
17. Afterthought, Tokyo


OMOTESANDO, Tokyo

The high street of Omotesando presents a perfect marriage of fashion and architecture.

DSC_4553Tokyu Plaza Harajuku by NAP Architects & Takenaka

DSC_4558Omotesando Hills by Tadao Ando

DSC_4278(Left to right) Omotesando Hill by Tadao Ando, Christian Dior by SANNA

DSC_4283Gyre Omotesando by MVRDV

DSC_4287Japanese Nursing Association Building by Kisho Kurokawa

DSC_4309Hugo Boss by Norihiko Dan

DSC_4321Tod’s by Toyo Ito

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACoach by OMA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGlass detail of Coach Building

DSC_4518Prada by Herzog & de Meuron

DSC_4400(Left to right) Cartier by Bruno Moinard, Jewels of Aoyama by Jun Mitsui

DSC_4510Collezione by Tadao Ando

DSC_4344Spiral Building by Fumihiko Maki

DSC_4351Architectural exhibition in Spiral Building

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAResting area in Spiral Building

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Read other posts on 2014 Tokyo:
1. Tokyo 2014 (Introduction)
2. Yokohama Osanbashi Pier
3. Ginza, Tokyo
4. Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo
5. Omotesando, Tokyo
6. Harajuku & Aoyama, Tokyo
7. Nezu Museum, Tokyo
8. Roppongi Hills, Tokyo
9. The National Art Centre, Tokyo
10. Midtown, Tokyo
11. A Shrine in Shibuya, Tokyo
12. Yoyogi National Gymnasium, Tokyo
13. A Night in Yanaka, Tokyo
14. Breakfast at Tsukiji Market, Tokyo
15. Moveable Feast, Tokyo
16. Seasonal Fruits, Tokyo
17. Afterthought, Tokyo


TOKYO INTERNATIONAL FORUM, Tokyo

Design competition for Tokyo Forum was held in 1989. The winning design by architect Rafael Vinoly was completed in 1996. Tokyo Forum occupies the site of Tokyo’s former city hall. The mega truss overhead allows the glass atrium to become one of the largest column free structures in Japan. Theatres, conference halls, and exhibition spaces stack along one side of the atrium, while ramps and catwalks on the opposite side provide access to different levels. The exterior space outside the Glass Hall becomes a lively public space at night dotted with café tables and snack trucks.

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Read other posts on 2014 Tokyo:
1. Tokyo 2014 (Introduction)
2. Yokohama Osanbashi Pier
3. Ginza, Tokyo
4. Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo
5. Omotesando, Tokyo
6. Harajuku & Aoyama, Tokyo
7. Nezu Museum, Tokyo
8. Roppongi Hills, Tokyo
9. The National Art Centre, Tokyo
10. Midtown, Tokyo
11. A Shrine in Shibuya, Tokyo
12. Yoyogi National Gymnasium, Tokyo
13. A Night in Yanaka, Tokyo
14. Breakfast at Tsukiji Market, Tokyo
15. Moveable Feast, Tokyo
16. Seasonal Fruits, Tokyo
17. Afterthought, Tokyo


GINZA, Tokyo

Rows of small-scale commercial buildings and traditional department stores, Ginza offered us the first taste of Japanese architecture in Tokyo. Tidy, classy, and being one of the first districts in Tokyo to undergo modernization in late 19th century, Ginza has been the place of styles and wealth for many decades. It is the area of luxurious shops, splendid department stores, fancy restaurants, art galleries, and the famous Kabuki-za Theatre. Despite its fame of being the old commercial core of the city, Ginza remains at the forefront for architectural innovations today. We strolled around the area and passed by a number of influential Japanese architecture, including Kenzo Tange’s Shizuoka Press and Broadcasting Tower (1967), Kisho Kurokawa’s Nakagin Capsule Tower (1972), Jun Aoki’s Louis Vuitton Building (2004), Toyo Ito’s Mikimoto Ginza (2005), Shigeru Ban’s Nicolas G. Hayek Centre (2007).

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Read other posts on 2014 Tokyo:
1. Tokyo 2014 (Introduction)
2. Yokohama Osanbashi Pier
3. Ginza, Tokyo
4. Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo
5. Omotesando, Tokyo
6. Harajuku & Aoyama, Tokyo
7. Nezu Museum, Tokyo
8. Roppongi Hills, Tokyo
9. The National Art Centre, Tokyo
10. Midtown, Tokyo
11. A Shrine in Shibuya, Tokyo
12. Yoyogi National Gymnasium, Tokyo
13. A Night in Yanaka, Tokyo
14. Breakfast at Tsukiji Market, Tokyo
15. Moveable Feast, Tokyo
16. Seasonal Fruits, Tokyo
17. Afterthought, Tokyo


YOKOHAMA OSANBASHI PIER, Yokohama

The sea was calm. The air was light. The sky was blue.  Typhoon Vongfong was two days away.  We spent our first afternoon at Osanbashi Pier in Yokohama.  Designed by Foreign Office Architects, the Osanbashi Pier project does not only bring a modern facility to the ferry terminal at the port of Yokohama, but it also provides a pleasant public space right by the water of Tokyo Bay.  Covered entirely with undulating timber decking, the roof of Osanbashi Pier was the perfect place for us to chill out under the sun after our mid-night flight.  Across the water we could see the skyline of Downtown Yokohama.

Children chased each other on the rolling decks, where walls became ground which split up into rows of terrace seating. That Saturday afternoon, Hawaiian music and dance performances filled the air with joy at the Osanbashi Pier.

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Read other posts on 2014 Tokyo:
1. Tokyo 2014 (Introduction)
2. Yokohama Osanbashi Pier
3. Ginza, Tokyo
4. Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo
5. Omotesando, Tokyo
6. Harajuku & Aoyama, Tokyo
7. Nezu Museum, Tokyo
8. Roppongi Hills, Tokyo
9. The National Art Centre, Tokyo
10. Midtown, Tokyo
11. A Shrine in Shibuya, Tokyo
12. Yoyogi National Gymnasium, Tokyo
13. A Night in Yanaka, Tokyo
14. Breakfast at Tsukiji Market, Tokyo
15. Moveable Feast, Tokyo
16. Seasonal Fruits, Tokyo
17. Afterthought, Tokyo


TOKYO 2014

DSC_4539Short it may be, our recent trip to Tokyo was an inspiring introduction on understanding the Japanese culture through design, architecture, food and fashion. In Tokyo, we found the urban beauty that we had long dreamed about.

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Read other posts on 2014 Tokyo:
1. Tokyo 2014 (Introduction)
2. Yokohama Osanbashi Pier
3. Ginza, Tokyo
4. Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo
5. Omotesando, Tokyo
6. Harajuku & Aoyama, Tokyo
7. Nezu Museum, Tokyo
8. Roppongi Hills, Tokyo
9. The National Art Centre, Tokyo
10. Midtown, Tokyo
11. A Shrine in Shibuya, Tokyo
12. Yoyogi National Gymnasium, Tokyo
13. A Night in Yanaka, Tokyo
14. Breakfast at Tsukiji Market, Tokyo
15. Moveable Feast, Tokyo
16. Seasonal Fruits, Tokyo
17. Afterthought, Tokyo