Modern Architecture Spots in Tokyo

Tokyo is a playground for architecture lovers – the views include unique design concepts that mix minimalist and experimental architecture. New technologies that feature old traditions are assembled together to build this city; there’s uniqueness in the architecture, design, and richness from the way buildings are constructed with concrete, wood, and glass. From glass buildings, intricate patterns, to multi-colored doorways, capturing the city’s most visually striking buildings has become a passion not only for architects looking for stimuli but also for street photographers and those looking for unique Instagram photo spots.

Read our article: Top Instagrammable Spots in Tokyo

So here we go with the list of the best modern architecture spots in Tokyo!

Tokyo International Forum

An immense complex located near Tokyo Station that was completed in 1996, Tokyo International Forum is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Tokyo. Designed by Uruguayan-born architect Rafael Viñoy, Tokyo International Forum is home to concert theaters, conference rooms, exhibition areas, restaurants and shops. Linking all of these different spaces is an enormous 210 meters long, 60 meters high lobby called the Glass Building. Made completely of glass and steel, the amazing architectural design is often compared to the hull of a ship that is about to sail off into the future.

Nakagin Capsule Tower

The Nakagin Capsule Tower, a work of Kisho Kurokawa following the post-war Metabolist movement, is a bizarre structure.  The concept for the building was the environment to show natural organisms; buildings should be able to grow as plants do in order to constantly grow or develop according to the needs of their inhabitants. The tower’s revolutionary form is centered around two pillars in which square concrete pods can be “plugged into” at will. It’s made up of 140 individual capsules, each 2.5 meters by 4 meters in size, that are used as tiny apartments or office space. Some capsules can be rented on a monthly basis and occasionally, the building is open for guided tours. If you are interested, send us an email.

Mikimoto Ginza 2

Mikimoto is Japan’s most renowned pearl jewelry brand and has had a presence in Ginza for over a century. The new headquarters revealed in 2005 was designed by Toyo Ito. The simple square design of the nine-story building is contrasted by a facade that is broken up by organically shaped windows that resemble the natural, sometimes imperfectly round pearls formed by oysters. The windows placed in the corners reveal that the structure is column-free and carried entirely by its outer walls. The building is especially spectacular at night when the windows are lit up in various hues of soft-colored lights.

Ginza Place

Located at Ginza’s central crossing, in front of the Iconic Seiko Building, stands one of the newest buildings on the block. Ginza Place was created in 2016 by Klein Dytham, an expat architect duo based in Tokyo. In a district known for its sophistication and contemporary architecture, Ginza Place delivers a mesmerizing facade inspired by sukashibori, a cut-out decoration method popular in Japanese crafts. The 5,315 aluminium panels resemble the checkers on a finish line flag, reflecting not only the fast-paced motion of the intersection below, but also the ever-evolving state of Tokyo city.

De Beers Ginza

Walking around Ginza, you’ll stumble on a “wavy” building. It’s the De Beers Ginza Building, designed by Jin Mitsui & Associate Architects, intended to reflect the sophisticated Ginza streetscape and fit appropriately into the city’s dynamic context. In the process of the design, the first image that came to mind was a twisting form of light in motion. A ribbon of light coming out of the earth sparkles in the atmosphere as an aurora with ever-changing color and form. The fluid and flexible form of the building was also inspired by the beauty of the female figure’s outline. The sparkling light on the surface of the gently curved form of the building subtly suggests the shimmering reflection of diamonds. On the exterior of the building, specially-finished stainless steel pipes are horizontally laid-out, creating sparkles of light throughout the surface of the building.


Ginza Night Luxury Tour

Discover Ginza, one of the most interesting districts for modern architecture buildings, by joining an exclusive night tour. Tour includes a Japanese traditional dinner in a Michelin-starred restaurant.

Prada Aoyama

The Aoyama Prada building was designed by Herzog & de Neuron with the mission “to reshape both the concept and function of shopping, pleasure and communication, to encourage the meshing of consumption and culture.” Capitalist-dystopian undertones aside, it’s clear that the intention here wasn’t to build just any store, but a store that would reinvent the very way stores are used.

The building’s facade is nevertheless impressive – a glass tower checked with convex, bubble-like diamonds, which lend the building an almost porous appearance. After dark, the warm interior lights transform it into a giant honeycomb, presumably reserved for only the most affluent of bees.

The Iceberg Harajuku (Audi Forum)

This landmark building was completed in 2006 and the director of CDI, Hiroyuki Yoshikawa, who was commissioned with the design, stated that the inspiration for the unusual exterior design was based on a “crystal iceberg and a plastic bottle after going through a shredder.”

This rather unusual duo of muses is embodied by triangular glass panels that make up an asymmetric glass facade and transparent elevator shaft. Three types of glass in different hues of blue enhance the building’s look of a giant crystal rising in the middle of town. It was even listed as one of the 7 architectural wonders in the world by the Conde Nast Traveller. After being the home of Audi for 10 years, it is now home to a branch of the co-working chain, WeWork.

Cocoon Tower

In the Shinjuku’s Skyscapers district, you’ll surely notice this eye-catching oval shaped building. Cocoon Tower houses two colleges and a fashion school. It was conceived out of a proposal to design a non-rectangular skyscraper and the architects of Tange Associates chose a cocoon shape to symbolize the nurturing of students inside. The impressive structure was completed in 2008 and has received several awards. It’s currently the second-tallest educational building in the world.

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