Tokyo International Forum

sights / Architecture

Tokyo International Forum information

Tokyo , Japan
Address
Street 3-5-1 Marunouchi
Extras Chiyoda-ku
Getting there
train JR Yamanote Line to Yūrakuchō, central exit
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Lonely Planet review

Located between Tokyo and Yūrakuchō Stations, the Forum is one of Tokyo’s architectural marvels. Architect Rafael Viñoly won Japan’s first international architecture competition with his design, which is hemmed in by train tracks on the east side. It was completed in 1996.

The eastern wing looks like a glass ship plying the urban waters, while the west wing is a cavernous space of vaulted steel and glass. At night, the eastern glass hall is lit by hundreds of precisely placed beams, and takes on the appearance of a space colony. Although it’s used mainly for its meeting halls and live-music venues, many events are open to the public, and casual visitors are free to wander its courtyard-cum-sculpture garden and the glass eastern wing. Take the lift to the 7th floor of the eastern wing and look down on the tiny people below. There are restaurants, cafes and shops.

The Oedo Antique Market, held in the courtyard of the Forum on the first and third Sunday of every month (9am–4pm), is a colourful event and a good chance to bargain for retro and antique Japanese goods, from old ceramics to kitsch plastic figurines.