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Five Works (Plus One!) by Renowned Architect Kengo Kuma

Five Works (Plus One!) by Renowned Architect Kengo Kuma

Fukuoka 2016.05.07 Bookmark

This article introduces five works by the world-renowned architect Kengo Kuma, which can be seen in the Tokyo area. In addition, we feature one more impressive work that can be seen in Fukuoka, Kyushu.

Translated by Shinji Takaramura

Written by OsawaKimie

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The works of the architect Kengo Kuma can be seen all over the globe. They are regarded highly overseas, being inspirational sights for the viewers. This article features five works designed by Mr. Kuma, that can be seen in the Tokyo area.

1. Food and Agriculture Museum, Tokyo University of Agriculture

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One of Mr. Kuma's works which can be seen for free, is the Food and Agriculture Museum of the Tokyo University of Agriculture, where visitors can learn about food and agriculture.

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Designed in a welcoming and spacious manner, it might change the visitors' idea of a museum.

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The highlight is the display of the 280 bottles of sake. They are all products of kuramoto (sake brewery) where Tokyo University of Agriculture graduates are working. There are 1,600 kuramoto in Japan, and it is said that the alumni and alumnae of the university are involved in about 80 percent of those breweries.

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This is Jūyondai 十四代, one of the distinguished and hard-to-obtain labels. It is produced by Takagi Shuzō 高木酒造, located at Yamagata Prefecture 山形県.

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Besides this display, there are various materials about brewing and 3,600 pieces of old farming tools in this museum.

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The visitors can appreciate Mr. Kuma's work for free, while learning about the agriculture and the brewing industry in Japan. The number of visitors from abroad is on the rise, so the museum has English and Korean pamphlets.

2. SunnyHills in Minami-Aoyama

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SunnyHills in Minami-Aoyama, designed by Mr. Kuma, is a store specializing in pineapple cakes from Taiwan. It is located in an area with many sweets shops that are in fierce competition with each other. The exterior looks like a forest in the middle of Tokyo. The store is very popular among fans of architecture, and it clearly stands out in Minami-Aoyama 南青山, which is also a residential area.

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Sixty-millimeter-square Japanese cypress logs, woven into a grid, fill the interior. The intricate woodwork is one of the traditional Japanese construction techniques, called jigoku-gumi 地獄組み. It looks very elegant, while working as a supporting structure for the building.

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The jigoku-gumi does not use screws to join the logs, and relies only on the craftsmanship of the builders.

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This is the second floor, which is used as an omotenashi space, where the visitors can sample the renowned pineapple cakes. The floor is toned in black, and also used by the people living nearby as a lounge space.

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There is also a broad omotenashi ("hospitality") space on the third floor, where the sunlight coming through the woodwork softly illuminates the interior.

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SunnyHills in Minami-Aoyama offers an omotenashi service, so that the visitors can sample the fine, handmade pineapple cakes from Taiwan. Tasting the cakes served with Taiwan oolong tea, in the sunlight-filled interior is a real treat.

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The SunnyHills pineapple cake is made from fully-ripe Taiwan pineapples, French fermented butter and flour made in Hokkaido. Their style of choosing the right ingredients has lots in common with Mr. Kuma's design philosophy.

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Light is an important factor when it comes to space design. In one corner of the store, there is an illumination called light-wall, using washi (tradional Japanese paper). The light, resembling sunshine filtering through the branches of trees, is very soothing.

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Mr. Kuma has also designed the furniture displayed on every floor. Because he was responsible not only for the exterior, but also for the lighting and the interior as well, there is a deep harmony between all these elements.

3. Nezu Museum

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The Nezu Museum, located in Minami-Aoyama, has a vast collection of precious Japanese and Oriental art. This museum was renovated by Kengo Kuma in 2009, and the main building is designed with a mixture of traditional and contemporary elements. By using natural materials such as bamboo thickets and small pebbles, the museum offers a serene atmosphere.

Read also: Dive in the Fabulous World of the Nezu Museum

4. Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center

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The Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center, located in Asakusa 浅草 in the old shitamachi ("eastern Tokyo") area, is another work by Kengo Kuma. The façade of the information center, which looks like it has a multi-layered roof, is quite unique. The gap between the "roofs" is used as a multi-purpose space.

Read also:

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From the wood-toned terrace of the seventh floor, visitors can view Sensōji Temple 浅草寺 and the townscape of Asakusa.

Read also: Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center: See Asakusa’s History Come Alive!

5. Suntory Museum of Art

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This is the Suntory Museum of Art, located inside the Tokyo Midtown in Roppongi 六本木. The museum, which has a collection of Japanese art, was designed by Kengo Kuma. Completed in 2007, it was conceived as a parlor in an urban area.

Read also: Three Museums You Can Walk To From Roppongi Station

An Extra Piece: Starbucks Coffee Dazaifutenmangū Omotesandō Store

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This is the Starbucks Coffee Dazaifutenmangū Omotesandō Store. It is located along the sandō (the road leading to a shrine) of the Dazaifutenmangū Shrine 太宰府天満宮 in Fukuoka.

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Many people from all over the world visit this unique store, which has a characteristic wooden frame.

Mr. Kuma's design is a mixture of conflicting elements, such as the old Japanese style and modern style, or tradition and innovation. Besides the six works listed above, his works are located all over Japan. When visiting Japan, it's worth the time to take a look at his works.

Information

Food and Agriculture Museum, Tokyo University of Agriculture

Address: Tokyo, Setagaya-ku, Kami-Yōga 2-4-28
Hours:
From April to November/ 10:00 - 17:00
From December to March/ 10:00 - 16:30
Closed:
Mondays. (If Monday happens to be a national holiday, the museum will be closed on Tuesday.)
The musuem is also closed on the last Tuesday of every month, and on holidays designated by the university.
Wi-Fi: Not Available
Credit Cards: -
Languages: Japanese, English and Korean.
Menus Available In: Japanese, English and Korean.
Station: Kyōdō Station (経堂駅) of the Odakyū Line (小田急線).
Access: Twenty-minutes walk from the Minamiguchi 南口 (South Exit) of the Kyōdō Station.
Admission Fee: Free
Religion: -
Telephone: +81-3-5477-4033
Official Website: Food and Agriculture Museum

SunnyHills in Minami-Aoyama

Address: Tokyo, Minato-ku, Minami-Aoyama 3-10-20
Hours: 11:00 - 19:00
Closed: There are no closed days.
Wi-Fi: Not Available
Credit Cards: VISA, MasterCard, JCB, American Express, Diners Club are accepted.
Languages: Japanese, English and Chinese.
Menus Available In: Japanese, English and Chinese.
Station: Omotesandō Station (表参道駅) of the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line (銀座線), Hanzōmon Line (半蔵門線) and Chiyoda Line (千代田線).
Access: Six-minutes walk from Exit A4 of the Omotesandō Station.
Price Range: 1,000 yen - 1,999 yen
Religion: -
Telephone: +81-3-3408-7778
Official Website (Japanese): SunnyHills in Minami-Aoyama (Japanese)

Nezu Museum

Address: Tokyo, Minato-ku, Minami-Aoyama 6-5-1
Hours: 10:00 - 17:00
(The entrance closes at 16:30)
Closed:
Mondays. (If Monday happens to be a national holiday, the museum will be closed on Tuesday.)
The museum is also closed during the changing of exhibitions and through the Year-End and New Year Holidays.
Wi-Fi: Not Available
Credit Cards: American Express, JCB, Diners Club, UC and Tōbu are accepted.
Languages: Japanese and English.
Menus Available In: Japanese and English.
Station: Omotesandō Station of the Tokyo Metro Ginza Line, Hanzōmon Line and Chiyoda Line.
Access: Eight-minutes walk from Exit A5 of the Omotesandō Station.
Admission Fee:
Adults/ 1,000 yen
Students/ 800 yen
Free admission for junior high school students and under.
Religion: -
Telephone: +81-3-3400-2536
Official Website: Nezu Museum

Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center

Address: Tokyo, Taitō-ku, Kaminarimon 2-18-9
Hours:
From the Basement Floor to the Fourth Floor, Sixth Floor/ 9:00 - 20:00
Fourth, Fifth and Eighth Floors/ 9:00 - 22:00
Closed: There are no closed days.
Wi-Fi: Available
Credit Cards: -
Languages: Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean.
Menus Available In: Japanese, English, Original and Simplified Chinese Characters and Korean.
Station: Asakusa Station (浅草駅) of the Tōbu Isesaki Line (東武伊勢崎線), Tokyo Metro Ginza Line and the Toei Subway Asakusa Line (都営浅草線).
Access:
Five-minutes walk from the Tōbu Asakusa Station.
One-minute walk from the Exit 2 of the Tokyo Metro Asakusa Station.
Two-minutes walk from the Exit A4 of the Toei Subway Asakusa Station.
Ten-minutes walk from the Exit A1 of the Tsukuba Express Asakusa Station.
Admission Fee: -
Religion: -
Telephone: +81-3-3842-5566
Official Website: Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center

Suntory Museum of Art

Address: Tokyo, Minato-ku, Akasaka 9-7-4, Tokyo Midtown
Hours: 10:00 - 18:00
*On Fridays and Saturdays, the museum closes at 20:00
Closed:
Tuesdays.
The museum is also closed during the changing of exhibitions and through the Year-End and New Year Holidays.
Wi-Fi: Available (Midtown Free Wi-fi)
Credit Cards: VISA, MasterCard, American Express, JCB, Diners Club are accepted.
Languages: Japanese and English.
Menus Available In: Japanese and English.
Stations:
Roppongi Station (六本木駅) of the Toei Subway (都営地下鉄) and Tokyo Metro (東京メトロ).
Nogizaka Station (乃木坂駅) of the Tokyo Metro (東京メトロ).
Access:
Directly connected to Exit 8 of the Toei Subway Roppongi Station.
Connected to the underground passage of the Tokyo Metro Roppongi Station.
Three-minutes walk from the Tokyo Metro Nogizaka Station.
Admission Fee:
The fee for adults, university and high school students vary according to the exhibition.
Free admission for junior high school students and under.
Religion: -
Telephone: +81-3-3479-8600
Official Website: Suntory Museum of Art

Starbucks Coffee Dazaifutenmangū Omotesandō Store

Address: Fukuoka, Dazaifu-shi, Saifu 3-2-43
Hours: 8:00 - 20:00
Closed: There are no regularly scheduled closed days.
Wi-Fi: Available
Credit Cards: VISA, MasterCard, JCB and American Express are accepted.
Languages: -
Menus Available In: -
Station: Dazaifu Station (太宰府駅) of the Nishitetsu Dazaifu Line (西鉄太宰府線).
Access: Four-minutes walk from the Dazaifu Station.
Price Range: Up to 1,000 yen.
Religion: -
Telephone: +81-92-919-5690
Official Website: Starbucks Coffee Dazaifutenmangū Omotesandō Store

The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting.

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