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Japanese Architecture

Capital Tokyo

Language Japanese

Area 377,972.28 km2

Population 127,110,047

Contemporary Japanese architecture combines a rich mix of traditional design practices and western modern aesthetics. The dialogue between these two is present in the integration of time-honored Japanese architectural elements such as sliding doors (fusama) and modular tatami floor mats with cutting edge design and technology. Japan architecture is at the forefront of investigating questions of micro-housing in its dense cities like Tokyo where the population outnumbers the available space. This page features the work of Japanese architectural offices such as Tadao Ando and Associates and SANAA along with interviews and articles about the ever-changing architectural discourse in Japan.
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Latest projects in Japan

Latest news in Japan

Japan Plans for Supertall Wooden Skyscraper in Tokyo by 2041

16:30 - 15 February, 2018
Japan Plans for Supertall Wooden Skyscraper in Tokyo by 2041, © Sumitomo Forestry Co.
© Sumitomo Forestry Co.

Timber tower construction is the current obsession of architects, with new projects claiming to be the world’s next tallest popping up all over the globe. But this latest proposal from Japanese company Sumitomo Forestry Co. and architects Nikken Sekkei would blow everything else out of the water, as they have announced plans for the world’s first supertall wood structured skyscraper in Tokyo.

This Unique Instagram Showcases the Bizarre Variety of Japanese Public Restrooms

09:30 - 10 February, 2018
This Unique Instagram Showcases the Bizarre Variety of Japanese Public Restrooms, via @toilets_a_go_go
via @toilets_a_go_go

When looking back on the rich history of Japanese architecture, some of the things that immediately come to mind are complex wood joinery, hipped roofs and intimate experiences with water. Today, Japan is on the cutting edge of architectural innovation in many different buildling types—skyscrapers, office buildings and micro-housing to name a few. However, this Instagram account chooses to highlight an extremely unappreciated building type—public restrooms.

Over 30 Architectural Projects Represented In One 3D Object

08:00 - 11 December, 2017
Over 30 Architectural Projects Represented In One 3D Object, Courtesy of Fumio Matsumoto
Courtesy of Fumio Matsumoto

Architect and Project Professor at The University of Tokyo, Fumio Matsumoto put together more than 30 iconic buildings into a single 3D printed object called, “Memories of Architecture.” Façades, exterior forms, interior spaces, and structures of significant architectural works were reproduced at 1:300 scale and merged together in order from old to new.

Hiroshi Sambuichi: "I Take Something that People Already Like, and Make Them Even More Aware of It"

09:30 - 19 November, 2017
Hiroshi Sambuichi: "I Take Something that People Already Like, and Make Them Even More Aware of It", Courtesy of Louisiana Channel
Courtesy of Louisiana Channel

In this extended interview from the Louisiana Channel, Japanese architect and experimentalist in sustainable architecture Hiroshi Sambuichi explains how he integrates natural moving materials—sun, water and air—into his architecture. A rare symbiosis of science and nature, each of his buildings are specific to the site and focus on the best orientation and form to harness the power of Earth’s energy, particularly wind. Two of his projects displayed in the video, the Inujima Seirensho Art Museum and the Orizuru Tower, force a contraction of air to make it flow faster and circulate with you through the building, while the Naoshima Hall takes a more sensitive approach due to the nature of the building, reducing the wind’s velocity as it passes.

Sou Fujimoto's Naoshima Pavilion Photographed by Laurian Ghinitoiu

04:00 - 18 October, 2017
Sou Fujimoto's Naoshima Pavilion Photographed by Laurian Ghinitoiu, © Laurian Ghinitoiu
© Laurian Ghinitoiu

The Naoshima Pavilion by Sou Fujimoto is one of the more recent additions to the world-renowned "Art Island," and is located only meters away from Naoshima's boat terminal (designed by SANAA). The lightweight, highly-transparent mesh-like steel structure was conceived and constructed for the 2016 Setouchi Triennial. Photographer Laurian Ghinitoiu has turned his lens to the project which, in spite of its modest size, casts a striking silhouette on the island's coastline.

Fresh Doubts Loom Over Japan's Vast Subterranean Water Control Systems

04:00 - 11 October, 2017
Fresh Doubts Loom Over Japan's Vast Subterranean Water Control Systems, © <a href=“https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Geofront_Temple%5E_%E9%A6%96%E9%83%BD%E5%9C%8F%E5%A4%96%E9%83%AD%E6%94%BE%E6%B0%B4%E8%B7%AF_-_panoramio.jpg”>Wikimedia user AMANO Jun-ichi</a> licensed under <a href=“https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/“>CC BY 3.0</a>. Image Courtesy of AMANO Jun-ichi
© Wikimedia user AMANO Jun-ichi licensed under CC BY 3.0. Image Courtesy of AMANO Jun-ichi

Rising sea levels, and the potential of extreme conditions globally, are threatening coastal cities around the world. While the Netherlands are often considered to be leading the engineering battle against the tides, Japan—with a renewed sense of urgency—are investing heavily in high-end systems and infrastructure to protect their largest metropoli.

Carbonized Wood: A Traditional Japanese Technique That Has Conquered the World

09:30 - 30 September, 2017
Carbonized Wood: A Traditional Japanese Technique That Has Conquered the World, Villa Meijendel / VVKH architecten. Image © Christian van der Kooy
Villa Meijendel / VVKH architecten. Image © Christian van der Kooy

Ancestral, vernacular and minimalist; for many, these three words have come to define the architecture of Japan, a country that has served as a source of cultural and technological inspiration to countless cultures.

Hiroshi Sambuichi Reflects Upon His Hometown of Hiroshima, And Why It Became Green Again

04:00 - 22 September, 2017
Hiroshi Sambuichi Reflects Upon His Hometown of Hiroshima, And Why It Became Green Again, Courtesy of Louisiana Channel
Courtesy of Louisiana Channel

When a city really becomes one with the air, water and sun I am sure that people will feel the vitality of this. To create cities where this is not lost is a very important message I want to convey to the world.

Sou Fujimoto's Polyhedral Pavilion Shapes The Art Island of Japan

16:00 - 10 September, 2017
Sou Fujimoto's Polyhedral Pavilion Shapes The Art Island of Japan, © Fernanda Castro
© Fernanda Castro

Located a few meters from the terminal of Naoshima, the Japanese island better known as the "Art Island", Sou Fujimoto's Pavilion appears as a translucent and lightweight diamond perched on the coastal edge of Kagawa, visible from SANAA's ferry terminal welcoming the visitors to the island. 

Cloud-Shaped Pavilion is SANAA's Latest Work in Naoshima

16:00 - 9 September, 2017
Cloud-Shaped Pavilion is SANAA's Latest Work in Naoshima, © Fernanda Castro
© Fernanda Castro

The cloud-shaped bicycle terminal on the island of Naoshima is SANAA's latest work. The pavilion is known for its impressive collection of outdoor art and contemporary architecture, with works by prominent exponents such as Yayoi Kusama and Tadao Ando.

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