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A walking tour of Tokyo architecture part 2: Contemporary buildings

A walking tour of Tokyo architecture part 2. Tokyo's skyline is constantly changing. New buildings designed by some of Japan's most famous architects are popping up all the time. On part two of our tour, we look at some of Tokyo's most cutting-edge and internationally renowned architecture.


In the 2000s, a number of fashion brands opened boutiques along Omotesando. Many commissioned leading Japanese architects to design their buildings.

Yusuke leads the way to this French luxury brand shop. The whole building was designed to look like a stack of the suitcases sold inside. The surface of the box uses two layers of metal screens. The different combinations of the two layers create various looks.


Next, on Ginza's main boulevard, is the flagship store of a leading watch company.

At first glance these look like a showroom, but... actually they are elevators! Each one takes the shopper to the floor where watch brand it sold.

To make all the shops easily accessible, the building is designed so that each one has an elevator entrance on the ground floor.


This is the Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center, an eight-story building that opened in April 2012.

The building is quite tall, but it was designed to blend in with its surroundings. Looking like a stack of one-story wooden houses, it matches the image of old-fashioned Asakusa.

And in fact, seen from a nearby street of low rooflines, the new center looks quite at home in this old part of town.


Finally, Yusuke and May visit a hotel not far from Asakusa.

The exterior is modern, and certainly stands out in an old-fashioned neighborhood. The building's interior features wood and muted lighting to conjure up a traditional Japanese atmosphere.

This entire building was inspired by the andon. The hotel corridors are illuminated as though by paper lanterns, to evoke a traditional atmosphere.