Tokyo is a great city to visit, in every aspect. It has a lot of places to see and a multitude of things to do. Also, if your passion is architecture, you should know that this city is perfect for you, as the architectural tourism in Tokyo is very extensive.
Tokyo is the ideal city if you want to take long architectural walks to see certain buildings that are renowned either for their design or for the architect responsible for their construction.
From MCH Master we offer you a list for you to enjoy architectural tourism in Tokyo. Here you will find the most emblematic places in the city, from the most traditional buildings to the most modern and new ones.
As a result of the massive urban redevelopment of the post-war period of the 20th century, Tokyo's architecture was, for the most part, made up of remarkably modern buildings.
In this city, new technologies and old traditions come together to shape the built environment, offering a unique architecture of great formal richness in concrete, wood and glass.
The greatest splendour of modern architectural tourism in Tokyo can be seen in the capital's most exclusive neighbourhood, Ginza, where, in just 5 kilometres, you can find many buildings by the best architects. Although it is not the only place where you can do modern architectural tourism in Tokyo, you will also find buildings worth admiring in the rest of the city. From MCH Master we propose a list of modern buildings that you can't miss on your visit to Tokyo.
Two Shiseido buildings stand side by side. The first, designed by Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill in 2001, uses the reddish colour of its façade, accompanied by reddish lights, to stand out from the other buildings in Ginza. Next door, with a building of the same height, the firm has another building of a completely different design.
It opened its doors in April 2016 and is one of the examples of Tokyo's new buildings. It is the work of the Nikken Sekkei architectural studio and is located at the Sukiyabashi intersection. It is inspired by traditional Edo Kiriko glass craftsmanship and features a three-dimensional glass façade that transmits and reflects sunlight in a surprising way.
The façade of the luxury brand Hermès was designed by the well-known Italian architect Renzo Piano in 2001. It is a narrow building with a façade of custom-made glass panels measuring 45×45 centimetres.
Designed by architect Peter Marino in 2004. One of the most striking qualities of the Chanel building is its chameleon-like curtain façade, with six possible changes of appearance. This is achieved by 1,700 square metres of white LED lights set in a steel mesh pressed between two layers of glass, one of which is electro-chromatic.
Designed by Japanese architect Toyo Ito in 2005. It is the façade of the cultured pearl company Mikimoto and is striking for its thin exterior panels with irregular windows and abstract appearance. The building looks theoretically simple, but when we notice that some of the open windows are in the corners, which is the typical place for columns, we realise that the construction is somewhat more complex than it appears at first glance.
Toyo Ito has many other projects in Tokyo, such as the Tama Art University Library.
Other important contemporary architects have outstanding works in Tokyo, such as Kazuyo Sejima (Sumida Hokusai Museum and Okurayama Housing), Ryue Nishizawa (Moriyama Housing and Small House), Yoji Watanabe (New Sky Building), Kengo Kuma, Kenzo Tange, Sou Fujimoto (House Na), OMA and Herzog & de Meuron.
In contrast to the modern architectural tourism that dominates Tokyo, there is traditional architectural tourism.
Just 30 minutes from the centre of Tokyo is the Edo Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum. A showcase of preserved and reconstructed buildings from the 17th to 20th centuries, the museum features fascinating images of Japan's past, including old teahouses and bathhouses.
From MCH Master, we recommend that if you have the opportunity to visit this wonderful museum, you should do so without haste. It is divided into three zones, so that each of them reproduces a different urban landscape. This means that entering each of the zones is like visiting a completely different urban landscape, entering a different era of Japan.
As part of the traditional architectural tourism in Tokyo, you should also visit the Canon Temple, which was founded in 628, although it is not preserved as it was then, as it was destroyed and renovated for many years. Nowadays, you can visit its last renovation from the 17th century.
The Imperial Palace, built in the traditional Japanese style, is also a must-see, where you can admire the beautiful views from the palace and gardens. Another building considered remarkable from an architectural point of view is the so-called Narrow House, built based on the project of the architect Kota Mizuishi.
We remind you that if you want to learn more about architecture, both modern and traditional, the MCH master's degree is the perfect one for you. Contact us and we will be delighted to help you.
The Master of Advanced Studies in Collective Housing is a professional and international postgraduate programme that is developed on a full-time basis, dealing with advanced architectural design in the city and housing. It is designed and taught jointly by the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH).
The application period for MCH2023 is already opened.