Japan Architecture Tours – Robert Day Travel Blog

Unique Japan Tours in Architecture, Art, Design and Culture by Robert Day Travel

October 2011 Japan Architecture Tour Highlights

The October 2011 Japan Architecture Tour was one of the best tours so far simply due to the many architecture related exhibitions and events that were on as part of the UIA World Architecture Congress in Tokyo.

There were plenty of cultural experiences mixed in amongst the architecture. We saw several world-class art exhibitions including American Art from Phillips Collection in Washington and Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art Washington. There were a couple of traditional Japanese weddings, some Japanese festivals and we were also able to explore some of the hidden parts of Tokyo not usually frequented by tourists. Add to this the fabulous Japanese food at some of the most compact restaurants and bars you will ever see.

One of the highlights was surely Tadao Ando’s Church of Light which we visited for the first time. Another was the Nihon Minka-en open air architecture which contains many traditional farmhouses and buildings from various parts of Japan.

We visited the three remaining Frank Lloyd Wright buildings in Japan, the Jiyu Gakuen School, the Yamamura House and the Imperial Hotel again which is always special and we caught up with the Saitama Architects Association again and spent a day with them in historic Kawagoe. Finally, to round it the tour off we visited some of Kyoto’s most famous temple and gardens and Hikone Castle, one of the few original castles in Japan which is nearly 400 years old.

The tour was with the perfect mix of architecture, art and Japanese culture and we are looking forward to an equally successful April 2012 Japan Architecture Tour. Here are a few photographic features of the October 2011 tour.

Day 1 Highlights – Nihonbashi, Kanda, Omotesando, Ikebukuro & Roppongi

  • Open-Architecture Tour of Takashimaya Dept Store
  • Nobuyoshi Araki “Higan” Exhibition at Rat Hole Gallery
  • Koji Tanada Exhibition at Spiral Building (Fumihiko Maki)
  • Fukuro Matsuri
  • UIA World Architecture Congress Welcome Party

Mitsui Building

Takashimaya Department Store, Nihonbashi

Interior of Takashimaya

Backstreets of Kanda

Nobuyoshi Araki "Higan" Exhibition at Rat Hole Gallery

Spiral Building by Fumihiko Maki

Koji Tanada Exhibition at Spiral Building

Fukuro Matsuri in Ikebukuro

Fukuro Matsuri in Ikebukuro

Locals at Fukuro Matsuri

Interesting dress code for Fukuro Matsuri

UIA World Architecture Congress at Tokyo City View, Roppongi Hills

UIA World Architecture Congress at Tokyo City View, Roppongi Hills

Yakitori dinner

Yakitori bar in Kanda

Day 2 – Gokokuji, Yurakucho, UIA Architecture Congress. Highlights include:

  • Sky House (Kiyonori Kikutake)
  • UIA World Architecture Congress
  • Christo Lecture – UIA 2011 Tokyo
  • Tadao Ando Lecture – UIA 2011 Tokyo

Sky House (2011) by Kiyonori Kikutake

Sky House 1958 by Kiyonori Kikutake

UIA World Architecture Congress at Tokyo International Forum

Tokyo International Forum by Rafael Vinoly

Christo Lecture

Christo's Umbrella Project - Japan

Christo's Gates Project - New York

Czech Modernism Lecture by Vladimir Slapeta

Tadao Ando Lecture

Tadao Ando's Water Temple

Day 3 – Tsukudajima, UIA Architecture Congress, Asakusa. Highlights include:

  • Tsukudajima “Nagaya” Row Houses
  • Namiyoke Inari Jinja (Wave Protection Fox Shrine)
  • UIA World Architecture Congress
  • SANAA Lecture – UIA 2011 Tokyo
  • Tokyo Sky Tree

Tsukudajima, Tokyo

Nagaya Row Houses in Tsukudajima dating from the Edo Period

Namiyoke Inari Jinja (Wave Protection Fox Shrine)

Brick Storehouse at Namiyoke Inari Jinja

Carving Detail at Namiyoke Inari Jinja

Contemporary House in Iran

UIA Congress

Testing Japanese Carpentry skills at UIA Congress

SANAA Lecture at UIA Congress

Tokyo Sky Tree by night

Day 4 – UIA Architecture Congress, Asakusa. Highlights include:

  • UIA World Architecture Congress
  • Japan Building Show
  • Christoph Ingenhoven Lecture – UIA 2011 Tokyo
  • Fumihiko Maki Lecture – UIA 2011 Tokyo

Christoph Ingenhoven Lecture - UIA Congress

Stuttgart Station Project, Christoph Ingenhoven Lecture - UIA Congress

European Investment Bank, Christoph Ingenhoven Lecture - UIA Congress

UIA World Architecture Congress at Tokyo International Forum

Fumihiko Maki Lecture - UIA Congress

Day 5 – Roppongi, Azabu, UIA Odaiba, Yurakucho. Highlights include:

  • International House – Open Architecture Tour
  • Making of Tokyo Sky Tree Exhibition
  • Tokyo Midtown
  • Restaurant under Railway Tracks, Yurakucho

International House, Roppongo by Kunio Maekawa, Junzo Sakakura & Junzo Yoshimura

International House, Roppongo by Kunio Maekawa, Junzo Sakakura & Junzo Yoshimura

International House Restaurant and Gardens

Joule-A Building by Edward Suzuki

Fuji Television Building by Kenzo Tange

Tokyo Sky Tree Exhibition

21-21 Design Sight by Tadao Ando

Kanda streets by night

Restaurant under railway tracks, Yurakucho

Day 6 – Ueno, Nogizaka & Roppongi. Highlights include:

  • Gallery of Horyuji Treasures (Yoshio Taniguchi)
  • National Museum of Western Art (Le Corbusier)
  • Alejandro Aravena Exhibition at Gallery MA
  • National Art Center Tokyo (Kisho Kurokawa)
  • The Phillips Collection Exhibition at NACT
  • Roppongi Hills
  • Metabolism Exhibition at Mori Art Museum

Oden food cart in Ueno Park

Walking the dogs in Ueno Park

Gallery of Horyuji Treasures by Yoshio Taniguchi

National Museum of Western Art by Le Corbusier

Rodin sculpture gallery, National Museum of Western Art

Ueno Markets

Alejandro Aravena Exhibition at Gallery MA

Alejandro Aravena Exhibition

National Art Center Tokyo by Kisho Kurokawa

National Art Center Tokyo by Kisho Kurokawa

Phillips Collection Exhibition at National Art Center Tokyo

Metabolism Exhibition at Mori Art Museum

Metabolism Exhibition at Mori Art Museum

Setting sun over Tokyo skyline from the roof deck of Mori Tower

Tokyo skyline from the roof deck of Mori Tower

Tokyo skyline at night from the roof deck of Mori Tower

Day 7 – Kawasaki & Ginza. Highlights include:

  • Nihon Minka-en, Japanese Open Air Architectural Museum
  • Mikimoto 2 (Toyo Ito)
  • Maison Hermes (Renzo Piano)
  • Sony Building (Yoshinobu Ashihara)
  • Dinner with Japanese friends

Traditional Japanese Inn - Nihon Minka-en

Nihon Minka-en

Nihon Minka-en

Nihon Minka-en

Nihon Minka-en

Nihon Minka-en

Nihon Minka-en

Nihon Minka-en

Nihon Minka-en

Metabolising Tokyo Exhibition

Mikimoto 2 Building by Toyo Ito

San-Ai Dream Center by Nikken Sekkei

Sony Building by Yoshinobu Ashihara

Maison Hermes by Renzo Piano

Ginza by night

Day 8 – Shimbashi, Shibuya, Ikebukuro, Yoyogi, Harajuku and Omotesando. Highlights include:

  • Nakagin Capsule Building (Kisho Kurokawa)
  • Aoyama Technical College (Makoto Sei Watanabe)
  • Jiyu Gakuin School (Frank Lloyd Wright)
  • Tadao Ando Exhibition at GA Gallery
  • Japanese Wedding at Meiji Shrine
  • Thank You Doll Festival at Meiji Shrine
  • Olympic Gymnasium (Kenzo Tange)
  • TODS Boutique (Toyo Ito)
  • Prada Boutique (Herzog & de Meuron)

Nakagin Capsule Building by Kisho Kurokawa

Aoyama Technical College by Makoto Sei Watanabe

Jiyu Gakuin School by Frank Lloyd Wright

Jiyu Gakuin School Dining Room

Tadao Ando Exhibition at GA Gallery

Traditional Japanese Wedding at Meiji Shrine

Thanks Doll Festival at Meiji Shrine

Tokyo Olympic Gymnasium by Kenzo Tange

Rockers at Harajuku

Rockers at Harajuku

TODS Boutique by Toyo Ito

Prada Boutique by Herzog & de Meuron

Prada Boutique by Herzog & de Meuron

Boutique by SANAA

Ukiyoe Exhibition at

Day 9 – Kawagoe & Kawaguchi. Highlights include:

  • Kita-in Temple
  • Unagi Lunch
  • Kurazukuri Storehouses
  • Shabu Shabu Dinner

Kurazukuri Storehouses in Kawagoe

Kurazukuri Storehouses in Kawagoe

Time Bell and Fire Lookout Tower in Kawagoe

Unagi Lunch

Lunch Meeting with Saitama Architects Association

179 Year Old Unagi Eel Restaurant, Kawagoe

Kitain Temple, Kawagoe

Bell, Kitain Temple

Kitain Temple, Kawagoe

Interesting signage at Kitain Temple, Kawagoe

Shabu-Shabu Dinner

Day 10 – Kyoto & Ibaraki. Highlights include:

  • Mt Fuji from Shinkansen
  • Festival
  • Man Ray Exhibition at Osaka
  • Kiyomizu Dera
  • Yakisoba dinner

Mt Fuji from the Shinkansen to Kyoto

Kitano Tenmangu Festival

Kitano Tenmangu Festival

Church of Light by Tadao Ando

Church of Light by Tadao Ando

Church of Light by Tadao Ando

Antique Print Shop in Kyoto

Yakiniku BBQ Dinner

Pontocho by Night

Pontocho by Night

Day 11 – Kyoto & Ashiya. Highlights include:

  • Ryoanji Zen Rock Garden
  • Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion)
  • Yamamura House (Frank Lloyd Wright)

Ryoanji Rock Garden

Ryoanji Temple

Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion)

Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion)

Interesting signage

Yamamura House by Frank Lloyd Wright

Yamamura House by Frank Lloyd Wright

Contemporary House in Ashiya

Udon Noodle Dinner

Udon Noodle Restaurant

Day 12 – Kyoto. Highlights include:

  • Nijo-jo Palace
  • Heian Jingu
  • Impressionist Exhibition from National Gallery of Art Washington
  • Kiyomizu-dera

How do your parking skills compare?

Nijo-jo

Nijo-jo Palace

Nijo-jo Gardens

Nijo-jo Tourists

Kyoto Canal

Tori Gates

National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto by Fumihiko Maki

Impressionist Exhibition from NGAW

Impressionist Exhibition from NGAW

Heian Jingu

Heian Jingu Gardens

Heian Jingu Gardens

Kiyomizu-dera Shopping Street

Kiyomizu-dera

Good Luck Wishes, Kiyomizu-dera

Kiyomizu-dera

Tea House, Kodai-ji

Kodai-ji Gardens

Time Bell, Kodai-ji

Gion by Night

Pontocho by Night

Kyoto Bar

Day 13 – Inuyama, Kyoto & Osaka. Highlights include:

  • Meiji Mura Open Air Architectural Museum
  • Imperial Hotel (Frank Lloyd Wright)
  • Okonomiyaki & Yakisoba Dinner in Osaka

Imperial Hotel by Frank Lloyd Wright at Meiji Mura

Interior of Imperial Hotel by Frank Lloyd Wright at Meiji Mura

Interior of Imperial Hotel by Frank Lloyd Wright at Meiji Mura

Sake Brewery at Meiji Mura

Kabuki Theatre at Meiji Mura

Traditional Japanese House at Meiji Mura

"Snail House" at Meiji Mura

Mie Prefectural Government Building at Meiji Mura

Tour Group at Meiji Mura

Okonomiyaki Restaurant in Osaka

Okonomiyaki Restaurant in Osaka

Day 14 – Hikone & Tokyo. Highlights include:

  • Hikone Castle
  • Samurai Armour Exhibition
  • Sushi Dinner in Kanda

Hikone Castle sits on a hill overlooking Hikone Town

Entry Bridge to Hikone Castle

Hikone Castle completed in 1622

Impressive Timber Joints in Hikone Castle

Massive Timber Beams in Hikone Castle

Hikone Castle is one of only a few original castles in Japan

Samurai Armour

Samurai Armour of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the 1st Shogun

Sushi Dinner in Kanda

Day 15 – Kanda,  Akasaka & Harajuku. Highlights include:

  • Hokusai Ukiyoe Print Exhibition
  • Yousuf Karsh Photography Exhibition
  • Harajuku Streetlife

Kanda Station

Kanda Streets

Fishing near Akasaka

Hokusai & Reviere Exhibition at New Otani Art Gallery

Hokusai's Great Wave Ukiyoe Print

Hokusai Ukiyoe Print

Yousuf Karsh Photography Exhibition

Yousuf Karsh Photography Exhibition

Scooters in Harajuku

Doggy Bag?

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7 comments on “October 2011 Japan Architecture Tour Highlights

  1. clareln
    December 6, 2011

    Great photographs. Thanks Rob. No wonder the trip was so exhausting. We did so much.

  2. Matt
    December 7, 2011

    Hi Robert,

    Thanks again for a great trip. I had heaps of fun and learnt lots.

    I can’t wait to go another one, I’ve already started saving. Hopefully my wife can come with me next time, I’m sure she would love it.

    I’m jealous of your photos, they’re better than most of the ones I took. I think it’s time to upgrade to DSLR camera.

    よろしく ,

    Matt

  3. Sarah Hill
    March 23, 2012

    Great photos Rob! I’m an architecture student in San Diego at New School of Architecture and would love to visit Asia someday. Their modern architecture is so much different than ours.

    • Japan Architecture Tours
      March 23, 2012

      Hi Sarah, There is a chance that there will be a tour in June priced especially for students. Would this interest you?

  4. clareln
    April 10, 2012

    hi Rob,

    Having another look at your photos. It really was a great trip
    Clare

  5. clareln
    April 10, 2012

    Hi Rob,

    Great to have another look at your photo. It was a great trip thanks to your careful organisation

    Clare

    • Japan Architecture Tours
      April 10, 2012

      Hi Clare,
      Thanks. It sure was a great trip. The UIA Congress was one of my highlights. I am hoping now to get some people for a Architecture, Art and Design Tour of Tokyo from 10-16 June. Spread the word around.
      Regards,
      Robert

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