Notable buildings: index by architect

Tadao Ando

Omotesando Hills - Shopping complex: Harajuku
This very stylish seven-story shopping and restaurant complex features mostly small boutiques and luxury brands. The structure was designed by architect Tadao Ando and completed in 2006.
21_21 Design Sight - Art museum: Roppongi
[Open 10am-7pm. Closed Tuesdays.]
Designed by architect Tadao Ando and completed in 2007, the low-slung museum building is designed to fit harmoniously with its surroundings, with 80% of its very limited floor space placed underground. Inspired by Issey Miyake's clothing design,...

Jun Aoki and Associates

Sia Aoyama Building - Notable building: Omotesando
The facade of this nine-story rental office building is punctuated by seven different types of window, ranging from 1.5 to 2.2 meters in size. Ceilings are a luxurious 4.9 meters in height. The building was designed by Jun Aoki and Associates, and...

AXS Satow

Tokyo Big Sight - Event space: Ariake
More than twelve million people a year visit the halls of this huge convention center, which hosts international conferences, trade shows and design festivals. Designed by the architectural firm of AXS Satow and completed in April 1996, the...

Shigeru Ban

Nicolas G. Hayek Center - Notable building: Ginza
The innovative headquarters building of the Swatch Group in Japan is the work of Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, who is known for implementing outside-the-box concepts such as buildings made from paper tubes. Completed in 2007, the greenery-covered...

Mario Bellini

Tokyo Design Center - Notable building: Gotanda
[Most shops open 10am-6pm; closed Wednesdays.]
Designed by Italian architect Mario Bellini, the Tokyo Design Center was completed in 1991. The most prominent feature is a galleria passageway that cuts upward through the building diagonally, leading to a garden area sitting on a steep hill behind...

Mario Botta

Watarium Building - Notable building: Gaienmae
The Watarium Building, housing a small art museum and bookstore, was designed by Swiss architect Mario Botta. It opened in 1990.

(Norman) Foster + Partners

Century Tower - Notable building: Ochanomizu
Completed in 1991, Century Tower is comprised of two separate towers, standing nineteen and twenty-one stories, linked by a narrow atrium. Originally built as a rental office building, it is occupied by Juntendo University, a medical school. The...

Hiroshi Hara

Komaba Campus II, Tokyo University - Notable building: Komaba-Todaimae
Completed in January 2001, the Komaba Campus II buliding of Tokyo University is the work of architect Hiroshi Hara, who was also responsible for the Umeda Sky Building in Osaka and Kyoto Station. The massive building is a few city blocks in length,...

Herzog & de Meuron

Miumiu - Notable building: Omotesando
[Open 11am-8pm daily.]
Completed in 2015, this understated building is the work of the Swiss architectural firm of Herzog & de Meuron. Miu Miu is a sister brand of Prada, and the same architectural firm was responsible for the much more showy Prada building diagonally...
Prada - Notable building: Omotesando
[Open 11am-8pm daily.]
The striking lozenge-shaped glass panels that make up the facade of the Prada building are varyingly concave, convex and flat in curvature, resulting in ever-changing visual impressions as you move around the interior or exterior. The building...

Toyo Ito

Mikimoto Ginza Honten - Notable building: Ginza
[Open 11am-7pm daily.]
The nine-story Ginza showroom and head office of Mikimoto, the Japanese pearl company, was designed by architect Toyo Ito and completed in 2005.
Tod's Omotesando - Notable building: Harajuku
The curving, organic-looking shapes of the glass and concrete facade of Tod's are inspired by the zelkova trees that line the Omotesando boulevard. The building was designed by architect Toyo Ito and was completed in 2004.

Kiyonori Kikutake

Edo-Tokyo Museum - Museum: Ryogoku
[Open 9:30am-5:30pm (enter by 5pm; Saturdays -7:30pm). Closed Mondays.]
[Update: The Tokyo-Edo Museum will reopen mid-2025] This excellent museum is devoted to the history of Tokyo, formerly known as Edo. Entering the museum via escalator from the third-floor plaza below is an inspiring experience - the massive...

Kengo Kuma

Sunny Hills - Cafe: Omotesando
The three-dimensional wooden lattice of Japanese cypress covering the facade of this building was created using traditional wooden construction techniques. The building houses a Taiwanese pineapple cake shop, and the overall form evokes the image...
Nezu Museum - Art museum: Omotesando
[Open 10am-5pm (enter until 4:30pm). Closed Mondays.]
Pre-modern art from Japan, China, and other Asian countries is the focus of the collection here, with some 7000 items including painting and sculpture, calligraphy, ceramics and lacquerware. The stunning building was designed by architect Kengo...
Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center - Event space: Asakusa
[Open 9am-8pm (rooftop and cafe -10pm) daily.]
Rising from a relatively narrow (326-square-meter) plot, the seven-story structure is fashioned as a series of irregular horizontal planes stacked precariously on top of each other, with several of the levels bounded by distinctive-looking walls of...
Jugetsudo Tsukiji - Retail: Tsukiji
[Open 9:30am-5:30pm (Sun 10-4) daily.]
This traditional tea seller on the edge of Tsukiji is worth a look if you're a fan of architect Kengo Kuma and you're in the neighborhood. Especially if you're in the mood for some green tea. The interior incorporates bamboo umbrellas that extend...
Pigment - Retail: Tennozu Isle
[Open 11am-8pm. Closed Mondays, Thursdays.]
Tokyo's most gorgeous art supply store, designed by architect Kengo Kuma, may tempt you to pick up a paintbrush, just for an excuse to shop here. The wall of pigments took a full week of chromatic coordination to get right, and they stock more than...
Starbucks Reserve Roastery - Coffee shop: Naka-Meguro
[Open 7am-11pm daily.]
Visiting Starbucks Reserve Roastery is a far more interactive and immersive experience than simply going to a coffee shop - it feels more like a trip to a coffee-themed amusement park, with different attractions on each of the building's four...

Kisho Kurokawa

Museum of Modern Art, Saitama - Art museum: Saitama-ken
[Open 10am-5:30pm (last entry at 5pm). Closed Mondays.]
Completed in 1982, this was the first museum building designed by architect Kisho Kurokawa, who was also responsible for the Nakagin Capsule Tower and the National Art Center, Tokyo. A lattice-like structure frames the outer perimeter of the...
National Art Center, Tokyo - Art museum: Nogizaka
[Open 10am-6pm. Closed Tuesdays.]
While the museum doesn't have a permanent collection, there are usually several small exhibitions going on at any given time, focusing on ceramics, photography, drawings and paintings. And while you're here, be sure to check out the fantastic...

Le Corbusier

National Museum of Western Art - Museum: Ueno
[Open 9:30am-5:30pm (Fri -8). Closed Mondays.]
This is the only building in Japan designed by renowned French architect Le Corbusier. The three-story reinforced-concrete structure was finished in 1959, based on detailed drawings by three Japanese apprentices of Le Corbusier's - Kunio Maekawa,...

Kunio Maekawa

Tokyo Bunka Kaikan - Notable building: Ueno
The magnificent main building of this concert hall was completed in 1961 and designed by the Japanese modernist architect Kunio Maekawa. Maekawa apprenticed with Le Corbusier in Paris from 1928-1930 before returning to Japan and starting his own...

Fumihiko Maki

Spiral Building - Notable building: Omotesando
Pritzker Prize-winning architect Fumihiko Maki designed this Aoyama landmark, which was completed in 1985. There is an excellent design shop on the second floor.
Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium - Sports facility: Sendagaya
This futuristic-looking building by architect Fumihiko Maki looks like a cross between a spaceship and a samurai helmet. Facilities include two swimming pools and a training gym; there's also a cafe and a French restaurant on the premises.

Jun Mitsui and Associates

V88 Building - Notable building: Ginza
[Open 11:30am-7:30pm daily.]
The undulating stainless-steel facade of this visually striking building is fashioned to reflect the sunlight in an ever-changing pattern as the day progresses. The eleven-story building was designed by Jun Mitsui and Associates, and was completed...

Farshid Moussavi, Alejandro Zaera Polo

Osanbashi - Notable building: Yokohama Nihon-Odori
[Open 9am-9:30pm (rooftop 24 hours) daily.]
Osanbashi Yokohama International Passenger Terminal is an inspiring piece of architecture and an exciting addition to Yokohama's vibrant waterfront. The undulating rooftop, with its natural grass lawns and deck finished in Brazilian wood, feels...


GYRE - Notable building: Harajuku
Echoing the spiral forms of Fumihiko Maki's Spiral Building and Tadao Ando's Omotesando Hills nearby, the design of this shopping complex is based on the concept of five boxes stacked on top of each other and rotated around a central core, forming a...

Hiroshi Naito and Associates

Gallery TOM - Art gallery: Shibuya
This three-story building houses a private residence on the ground floor and gallery spaces upstairs for a private art museum created to help blind and visually impaired people experience art. (In case you're wondering who Tom is, it's an acronym...

Hiroshi Nakamura

Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku - Shopping complex: Harajuku
[Open 8am-11:30pm daily.]
Yes, Tokyu Plaza is yet another multi-story shopping center in a city full of them, but this one is worth knowing about for the lovely sixth-floor rooftop terrace area that looks out over Harajuku. The spacious terrace area, the sixth-floor coffee...

Nihon Sekkei

Shinjuku Mitsui Building - Notable building: Nishi-Shinjuku
This 55-story office complex was the tallest building in Tokyo when it was completed in 1974. The firm of Nihon Sekkei was responsible for the design.

Hiroshi Oe

National Noh Theater - Theater: Sendagaya
This strikingly modern building is a venue for performances of Noh and Kyogen. The auditorium seats 591 people; there is also a reference library, exhibition area and cafeteria. The building was designed by architect Hiroshi Oe and completed in...

Renzo Piano

Maison Hermes - Notable building: Ginza
The slender, 12-meter-wide building housing the Tokyo flagship store of the French fashion house is covered with 13,000 custom-fabricated glass blocks. Designed by architect Renzo Piano, the building was completed in 2001. A small art gallery...

Sakakura Associates

Ao - Shopping complex: Omotesando
With its striking silhouette, this shopping and office complex stands out against the Aoyama skyline. The building was completed in 2009, designed by the architectural firm of Sakakura Associates.

SANAA, Kazuyo Sejima

Dior Omotesando - Notable building: Harajuku
The Christian Dior building on Omotesando is the work of Tokyo's SANAA firm, founded by Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, who were also responsible for the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa. The building was completed in 2003.
Sumida Hokusai Museum - Art museum: Ryogoku
[Open 9:30am-5:30pm (enter by 5pm). Closed Mondays.]
This lovely museum is devoted to the work of Katsushika Hokusai, Japan's most famous ukiyoe artist, who lived and worked for most of his life here in this traditional neighborhood. The wide-ranging permanent collection provides a good overview of...

Makoto Suzuki, Yukio Futagawa

GA Gallery - Art gallery: Sendagaya
[Open noon-6:30pm daily.]
Despite their compact gallery space, the Global Architecture Gallery puts on some excellent exhibitions focusing on contemporary Japanese and international architecture. They also publish books and magazines, and run a very well stocked architecture...

Kiyoshi Takeyama

Terrazza Aoyama - Notable building: Gaienmae
Designed by architect Kiyoshi Takeyama of the Amorphe firm and completed in 1991, this five-story building occupies a 1,800-square-meter plot of land, and has four basement levels. There's an appealing triangular open space created by the...

Kenzo Tange

Shizuoka Press and Broadcasting Center - Notable building: Ginza
One of architect Kenzo Tange's most iconic buildings, this early example of Metabolist architecture was completed in 1967 and occupies a prominent corner location just north of Shimbashi station. Built on a triangular site that's only 189 square...
United Nations University - Notable building: Omotesando
Another marquee project from renowned architect Kenzo Tange, the United Nations University headquarters building occupies a prominent location in Aoyama, across the street from Aoyama Gakuin University. It was completed in 1992.
Yoyogi National Gymnasium - Notable building: Harajuku
Designed by architect Kenzo Tange, this elegant structure, with its dramatically sweeping profile, has become an iconic work of modern architecture. It was completed in 1964, built specifically for the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Fuji Television Headquarters Building - Attraction: Daiba
[Open 10am-6pm. Closed Mondays.]
Designed by architect Kenzo Tange and completed in 1996, the Fuji TV building has become a landmark of the Odaiba area thanks to its unusual silhouette, featuring a giant floating sphere and a skeletal central section of pedestrian bridges and...
St. Mary's Cathedral - Notable building: Edogawabashi
Designed by Kenzo Tange and completed in 1964, St. Mary's has come to be known as a landmark of twentieth-century Tokyo architecture. The concrete structure is clad in stainless steel, and the swooping, parabolic curves of the walls evoke the image...
Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building - Attraction: Nishi-Shinjuku
[Open 9:30am-11pm daily.]
Tokyo's city hall building features not one but two free observation decks from which to enjoy a sweeping view of the city and surroundings. On a clear day you can see Mount Fuji, but the view at dusk or nighttime is more entertaining, as the...
Yokohama Museum of Art - Art museum: Yokohama Minato-mirai
[Open 10am-6pm. Closed Thursdays.]
[Update: the museum is scheduled to reopen in March, 2024.] The focus here is primarily on twentieth-century modern art, with works by Dali, Picasso, Cezanne and Magritte as well as notable Japanese artists. Several special exhibitions are held...

Tange Associates

Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower - Notable building: Nishi-Shinjuku
The 50-story Cocoon Tower was designed by Tange Associates, after winning a competition entered by around fifty architecture firms. Construction was completed in 2008. The building houses a fashion design college, an IT technology design school...

Yoshio Taniguchi

Horyuji Gallery - Art museum: Ueno
[Open 9:30am-5pm (enter by 4:30pm; Fri-8pm). Closed Mondays.]
The Gallery of Horyuji Treasures is part of Tokyo National Museum in Ueno Park. It houses more than 300 historical artifacts, mainly from the seventh and eighth centuries, which were donated to the Imperial Household by Horyuji Temple in Nara in...

Rafael Vinoli

Tokyo International Forum - Notable building: Marunouchi
Designed by New York architect Rafael Vinoli and completed in 1997, TIF contains two theaters and 6,000 square meters of exhibition space as well as restaurants and shops. At the heart of the complex is a sixty-meter-high, hull-shaped glass and...

Makoto Sei Watanabe

Aoyama Technical College - Notable building: Shibuya
Outside of theme parks, it's unusual to see a massive, multi-story building with a design that's clearly based on a children's transformer-robot toy - it represents a rare match-up between an adventurous client and an innovative architect. And...

Takahiko Yanagisawa

Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo - Art museum: Kiyosumi-Shirakawa
[Open 10am-6pm (enter by 5:30). Closed Mondays.]
After a three-year hiatus for renovation work, Tokyo's premier contemporary-art museum finally reopened in March 2019, incidentally giving a boost to the handful of small independent galleries that have gathered in the neighborhood. The museum's...