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A day in Tokorozawa Sakura Town: Kengo Kuma's rock fortress, a bookshelf theater & teamLab

Posted on January 14, 2021

 

Late last year, Saitama Prefecture’s Tokorozawa Sakura Town had its grand opening with notable architect Kengo Kuma’s rock fortress serving as the main attraction. Kadokawa Musashino Museum, the 40-meter-tall manga and anime museum, is sure to be high on every Japanese pop-culture lover’s bucket list. Reachable in just under an hour from central Tokyo, this gigantic rock fortress towers over the Fossa Magna Park of Musashino City, itself resembling a rock emerging from nature. The building features a manga library, anime museum, bookshelf theater, along with restaurants, cafes, and shops. Founded by one of Japan’s largest manga publishing companies, Kadokawa Corporation, the building has received the cute nickname ‘Kadcul!’

Tokorozawa Sakura Town Kengo Kuma

photo by @daikongogogo

The unique polyhedral shape of the building can be attributed to its architect, Kengo Kuma. Kuma also famously designed the New National Stadium for Japan’s hosting of the next Olympic Games.

 

Kadokawa Mushashino Museum by Kengo Kuma

photo by @haya981124

Constructed from 20,000 stones of granite, arranged into triangles which altogether make up this impressive structure, Kuma envisioned a building built with the purpose of paying reverance to the sacredness of the land on which it was built.

Model outside Kadokawa Musashino Museum

photo by @hinechi_pageboy

Tickets for general admission are priced at ¥1,200 for adults. 

Torii gates outside Kadokawa Musashino Museum

photo by @ch_080

Behold the changing lights of these torii gates. They light up with a different color each time someone walks underneath the gates. The surprise you get with the illumination color is kind of like your lucky fortune! In the background you can see the latest installment, a painting of an owl on the building’s exterior by contemporary artist Tomoko Konoike.

Bookshelf Theater inside Kadokawa

photo by @hide_photograph

Taking a peek inside the Kadokawa Culture Museum, you’ll find a room that encapsulates any avid reader’s dream. An amphitheater made up of walls and walls of books. Are we standing in Belle’s library in the Beast’s castle, or are we in a massive bookshelf theater inside a gigantic rock fortress? This is the ‘Bookshelf Theater’ including books, TV screens, interactive displays, and projection mapping shows.

Bookshelf theater inside Kadokawa

photo by @h.hirohiro

There are multiple platforms from which you can walk up to access the books on the higher shelves.

Books, books, books

photo by @daikongogogo

The airy roominess of these spaces is a rarity that is difficult to come by in the jam-packed city of Tokyo. It’ll be well worth the trip!

Anime shrine

photo by @vivicasaroli

Next to the museum, there is also a modern anime shrine, the Musashino Reiwa Shrine.

teamLab acorn forest day

photo by @daikongogogo

In the neighboring Musashino Jurin Park, you’ll find a permanent outdoor installation by the Japanese art collective, teamLab. This time, they have created an immersive installation called the ‘Resonating Life in the Acorn Forest.’ In daylight, the acorns mirror the world around them, as seen above with the photographer’s reflection.

teamLab acorn forest night

photo by @haya981124

In the evening, the acorns light up in colorful hues that sync to the sounds of the forest. Is it just me, or does this scene evoke a modern-day Harry Potter vibe?

In any case, with so many attractions, colors, and art to admire, Tokorozawa Sakura Town will definitely leave you feeling spellbound.

 

Access:

3 Chome-31-3 Higashitokorozawawada, Tokorozawa, Saitama 359-0023

Train: 0.7 km from Higashi-Tokorozawa Station, via the Musashino Line (JM30)

 

Written by: Maya Kimura Watts

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