Kadokawa Musashino Museum – The Rock Floating On Water

by | Aug 17, 2020

NOT MUCH of interest happens in Tokorozawa these days. Back in the economic heydays of the 1980’s, the city decided to become a bedroom community for Tokyo commuters and plowed over many areas of historical interest for the sake of building high-rise condominiums. Today, Tokorozawa is more of a nuisance to me than anything else, a difficult to navigate maze of congested streets standing between my house and Costco.

Finally, however, Tokorozawa got something right. The Kadokawa Musashino Museum had a soft opening on August 1st, 2020 and by the looks of things, it’s going to be quite the destination for Saitama and Tokyo residents alike.

kadokawa musashino museum at sunset

The building was designed by superstar architect Kengo Kuma, also responsible for the more down-to-earth redesign of the new National Stadium that may or may not make the world stage during the Olympics next summer. Kuma is known for his work using natural materials, especially wood, so this granite covered behemoth of a building is a bit of a curveball in his formidable arsenal.

The design was said to represent a rock floating on water, as it can be viewed from a large reflecting pond at the east end of the building. If you are a fan of Star Trek, you might fear that the Borg have landed, as one of my friends noted. Whether you love or don’t love the design of the building, one thing that can easily be agreed upon is that this building is enormous. Given the weight of the granite slabs covering the building, one wonders how it doesn’t fall through the earth to China…er, Europe.

kengo kuma's kadokawa musashino museum
kadokawa museum in tokorozawa

Lynda Hogan at InSaitama has a nicely written review of the site known as Tokorozawa Sakura Town, which includes the museum, connected structures and a brand new teamLabs Acorn Forest exhibit in the park across the street. When completed later this year, the building will function as a museum, library and art gallery.

Much of the excitement is bubbling over the Bookshelf Theater, an 8-meter high browsable bookshelf with the capacity for 50,000 books. Because the building’s owner, Kadokawa, is a publishing company that built its fortunes largely on manga 漫画 (Japanese comics), manga will be a running theme in exhibits and design.

When the Japan summer weather is a bit less sweltering, I’ll spend some time exploring the site more closely, as it is reachable from my home by bicycle.

Like what you're seeing?

Let’s talk about how I can help your business in creating custom content promoting your products and services!

A Time To Grow

I’ve wished my life wouldn’t pass me by so quickly, that I would have time for myself. And now that my wish in some twisted way has come true, why am I not doing the things that I always said I would?

Driving at the End of the World

This is the Iya Valley of Tokushima Prefecture, sitting at the edge of the world, sometimes just beyond it.

The Vegetarian Food Culture of Kyoto

Kyoto is certainly rich in Japanese tradition and cultural history, but how well does it fare when it comes to vegetarian cuisine? I found out on a recent business trip to the old capital.

Riding the Friendly Skies – The Skyflyer Ultra Express

To be frank, I have been a long-time customer of the Keisei Skyliner train between Narita Airport and Ueno Station and have never once had anything critical to say about its comfort and service. No traveler loves the long distance between...

The Miracle of the Gorin Church

How the Japanese “Hidden Christians” of tiny and impoverished Gorin Village in the Goto Islands finally got the beautiful church building they prayed for.

Why You May Never Go To Kochi (Even Though You Should)

Ask many city-dwelling Japanese if they have ever visited Kochi Prefecture in the southern part of Japan's Shikoku Island, and the reaction might include a bit of teeth-sucking. 行くにのちょっと不便だねー Iku ni no chotto fuben da ne? "It's a little...

We, Like Ants

In thousands of years and the absence of social media, our descendants will be left wondering why we travel like we do.

When You Have A Dream Job

A former friend introduced me to Craig Mod's Ridgeline, a fascinating little newsletter about Japan, long walks, and writing, in random order. I say former friend because no true friend would introduce me to such an addictive source of...

Tokyo Street Fashion Inspired By Houseplants

"The city is so hard. Just cement on top of dirt on top of rock. Even weeds have trouble growing here." Butsu Shoku kicks at the asphalt beneath her feet. The long vine of pothos trailing down her sleeve swings freely. Butsu is part of...

How To Pack for a Spring Trip to Japan

So you're planning for the trip of a lifetime to see Japan in the Spring? So are millions of others, my friend, so let me start with the tip I always give to first-time visitors to Japan. Check off the major items on your Tokyo and Kyoto...

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This