Japan House Opens in Kensington, London

Japan House has opened in Kensington and lucky Londoners now have a brand new centre for Japanese culture on their doorsteps.

Occupying a stunning art deco building on Kensington High Street and spread over three floors, Japan House is home to an exhibition gallery, events space, library, travel centre, cafe and retail floor, bringing visitors authentic insights into Japanese culture and an opportunity for talented creatives to showcase their work.

With Tokyo 2020 and the 2019 Rugby World Cup just around the corner, and two other openings in Sao Paulo and LA, Japan House has arrived at a time when interest in Japanese culture is well and truly on the increase! 

 Sou Fujimoto, Futures of the Future at Japan House. © Lee Mawdsley

Sou Fujimoto, Futures of the Future at Japan House. © Lee Mawdsley

The Design

The interior of Japan House fuses the Japanese aesthetics of elegance and minimalism, with each area flowing naturally into another. Renowned interior designer Masamichi Katayama designed the space to reflect tokonoma - the raised alcove within Japanese homes from which objects of art are admired. The ground floor is a mixture of glass walls and low surfaces, separating the space into 'zones', allowing you to appreciate the whole floor at once, before moving on to explore each area individually.

Authenticity flows throughout the design of Japan House - from the magnificent spiral staircase which was shipped over from Japan and reassembled in London, to the floor tiles sourced from Japan's Awaji Island.

The Stand and retail space at Japan House, London © Lee Mawdsley

The Retail Space

Japan House offers a retail space with a difference. Shelves aren't crammed full of stock, instead items are presented in a subtle way which allows you to admire their aesthetics and feel as though you're browsing a gallery space rather than a shop. All of the items here are sourced from Japan and range from fashion accessories to homewares, beauty products to stationery.

The retail area successfully introduces the aesthetics of Japanese art and design, giving it that extra element of discovery. If you're in need of some refreshment or relaxation you can take a seat and enjoy a cup of green tea and a snack from The Stand whilst browsing Japanese books. Whether you're planning your first trip to Japan or want to discover new experiences, the travel area is a great place to get some free and friendly advice and pick up leaflets and maps.

Ohitsu rice container by Shibata Yoshinobu Shoten

The Library

With exhibitions curated by Yoshitaka Haba of Japanese book specialists BACH, the library space not only gives visitors the opportunity to discover a wide array of Japanese literature, but also offers a rolling programme of exhibitions. June - August features photographer Risaku Suzuki's Nature of Japan whilst September to November will revolve around mingei folk art.

 Yoshitaka Haba in the library at Japan House London

Yoshitaka Haba in the library at Japan House London

The Gallery and Events Space

Take the sweeping staircase downstairs and you'll discover a large exhibition and events space bringing visitors a varied programme of events showcasing diverse work from the best of Japan's creative talent. First up in the rolling programme of exhibitions is SOU FUJIMOTO: FUTURES OF THE FUTURE. This innovative exhibition of small scale architectural models is the work of Sousuke Fujimoto, contemporary Japanese architect and the design brains behind the 2013 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion.

In September, The Biology of Metal: Metal Working from Tsubame Sanjo will move into the gallery space, followed by Subtle: Takeo Paper Show in November directed by Japanese graphic designer and Japan House creative director Kenya Hara.

Sou Fujimoto Futures of the Future - Beton Hala Waterfront Center2

The Restaurant Akira

Named after Chef Akira Shimuzu, the Japan House restaurant and bar Akira brings diners a diverse and imaginative menu serving everything from sushi to kushiyaki skewers, prepared with authentic and seasonal Japanese ingredients. Chef Akira bases his menu on the concepts of food, tableware and presentation. Watch your food being cooked in the open kitchen on the robata charcoal grill, then beautifully presented on tableware sourced from Japanese artisans.

Akira - the restaurant at Japan House London offers an authentic Japanese dining experience based on Chef Akira’s ‘trinity of cooking’ principles – food, tableware and presentation

If you're celebrating a special occasion, Akira also has an exclusive private dining room, complete with traditional Japanese kotatsu tables and tatami mats. 

 

Whatever your interest in Japanese culture, Japan House is the ideal place to explore and discover new aspects, from the traditional to the contemporary.

  • Japan House, 101-111 Kensington High Street, W8 5SA. 
  • Website: https://www.japanhouselondon.uk
  • Free entry
  • Open 10am - 8pm Monday - Saturday and 12pm - 6pm on Sundays