角川武蔵野ミュージアム
Photo: Kisa Toyosima

In photos: the new Kadokawa Culture Museum is a modern masterpiece designed by Kengo Kuma

The futuristic museum at Tokorozawa Sakura Town in Saitama prefecture is home to a library, an art gallery, cafés and more

By
Tabea Greuner
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Even though the grand opening of the highly anticipated Tokorozawa Sakura Town in Saitama prefecture won’t happen until November 2020, the venue’s Kadokawa Culture Museum has partially opened on August 1, giving us a sneak preview of what’s on offer.

ところざわサクラタウン
Photo: Kisa Toyoshima

The 40-metre tall Kadokawa Culture Museum, designed by world renowned architect Kengo Kuma, was built using 20,000 granite stones, creating a stunning asymmetrical facade that looks more science fiction than real life. 

Kadokawa Culture Museum
Photo: Kisa Toyoshima

Two of the building’s five floors are now open, meaning you can visit the museum’s extensive library filled with 25,000 books published by Kadokawa. The publishing house is known for its manga and young adult novels. 

Kadokawa Culture Museum
Photo: Kisa Toyoshima

The library’s on-site café, as well as the museum’s own coffee shop, the Kado Café, are both open now, plus you can visit the museum’s Grand Gallery. To commemorate the completion of the building, the first exhibition at the gallery is Kengo Kuma: The Birth of an Art Space Connected to Nature − Transcendent Architecture in Stone and Wood.

The exhibition is a showcase of text, blueprints and videos explaining the concept, design and construction method of the museum itself. You’ll also learn about Kuma’s distinctive approach to architecture and the natural world through some of his other designs.

Kadokawa Culture Museum
Photo: Kisa Toyoshima

November will see the opening of the museum’s ‘bookshelf theatre’ featuring videos, interactive displays and even projection mapping shows. Separately, the building’s EJ (Entertainment Japan) Animation Museum, which is dedicated to Japan’s world-conquering anime culture, is slated to open sometime in autumn.

Kadokawa Culture Museum
Photo: Kisa Toyoshima

While we wait for the rest of the facilities to open, there’s still plenty to do outside the Kadokawa Culture Museum. In the adjacent Musashino Jurin Park, you can walk through teamLab’s new permanent digital art exhibition ‘teamLab: Resonating Life in the Acorn Forest’.

Musashino Reiwa Shrine
Photo: Kisa Toyoshima

For something a little more serene, check out the modernist Musashino Reiwa Shrine, also designed by Kuma. The ceiling boasts a stunning mural of a phoenix drawn by Yoshitaka Amanoshitaka while the pair of beautiful stone komainu (guardian lion-dogs) are made by sculptor Yoshimasa Tsuchiya.

Advance tickets are required for visiting the Grand Gallery. Online reservations for teamLab’s permanent installation get a ¥100 discount. 

The next facility due to open at Tokorozawa Sakura Town will be the EJ Anime Hotel on October 1. Reservations can be made from September 1 via this website

Read our guide on going out safely in Tokyo – or anywhere for that matter.

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