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!

Escape to paradise with 14 of your closest friends

Atagoya is one of those special places combining history and luxury, the product of a young entrepreneur restoring Japan’s historic kominka folk houses.

Tea Ceremony, Rebooted

This past weekend, I finally exhaled. Well, that was the feeling anyway, as my tea ceremony teacher along with another group of teachers and students hosted a tea ceremony event at a lovely venue in Nihonbashi. When COVID struck Japan...

Hello Again, 2020

With the state of emergency triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic lifted across all of Japan as of yesterday, is it too late to salvage the year 2020?

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?

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.

Finding Gohime – Connecting With Japan’s Hidden Past

Discover the story of how Gohime, daughter of the Japanese warlord who first made Christianity illegal in Japan, became a Christian herself.

Desperately Seeking Shoyu In Saitama

Let Chiba have their giants of mass-produced soy sauce. I’ll head west to Kawagoe, where three craft shoyu makers are still creating cedar barrel-aged masterpieces of sweet umami flavor.

Blooming Alone In Tokyo

Why risk gathering in crowds to enjoy cherry blossoms in Japan? It seems every neighborhood has a hidden gem of a place waiting to be discovered where one can enjoy Spring sakura.

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...

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.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This