Tokyo International Forum

It’s been a few days now and I’m kind of getting my bearings. When it comes to the area surrounding the hotel and Tokyo Station, I’ve realised that – including the time taken to navigate the two stations – riding the Yamanote between Tokyo and Yarakucho takes far more time than simply walking there.

The corollary of this is that it’s also just a short walk to the Maranouchi Building and the Tokyo International Forum: the former sports a Belgian beer bar in its nether regions while the latter is a fairly spectacular piece of modern architecture housing an exhibition centre, cinemas and many other cultural delights.

Both stay open late so make for a perfect combined after-hours activity having returned from Nikko.

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It doesn’t really show here but the International Forum building is modelled on a ship’s hull. You enter into a vast seven storey oval-shaped glasshouse which contains a small visitors’ information booth and entrances to the cinema and exhibition halls.

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Even though it’s late and nothing is open, the public area is diversion enough. The upper levels feature a network of walkways which afford wonderful views of the ground floor.

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These upper levels are eerily quiet (although I spot a few youngsters lurking in the shadows) and the walkways a little un-nerving…but a sign assures me in wonderfully understated Japanese language that:

modern materials and superior craftsmanship together made this unique design possible

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