Five Japanese Libraries That Are Just Too Beautiful
Places for people to gather
Everyone loves libraries. Even those who don't identify as book lovers can still enjoy dropping into a library to browse the shelves and enjoy some peace and quiet. Wherever countries and regions have flourished throughout history, a library has always been there. Here we introduce five of the most interesting and beautiful libraries in Japan today.
1. Seikei University Library
Photo: Seikei University
The library at Seikei University has over 12,000 square meters of floor space, extending from five floors above ground to two below. More noticeable than its size, though, is its exciting near-future design. The most eye-catching features are the glass-domed bubble-shaped meeting rooms called "planets," a couple of which can be seen from below in this photograph. There are also hundreds of "crystal carrels" for individual study. If you'd like to see the library in person, you can contact the staff through the home page to arrange a visit.
2. Nakajima Library, Akita International University
Photo: Nakajima Library
"We want to provide a place where you can always study": this is the philosophy behind Akita International University's library, which is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The library was reportedly designed around the theme "Book Colosseum," and generous use of timber throughout lends warmth. The wood used in the library is actually Akita Cedar grown in the same prefecture as the library—if you close your eyes, it's almost like being in a forest.
3. Tama Art University Library
The library at Tama Art University's Hachioji campus was designed by Ito Toyo, one of Japan's leading architects, and is as beautiful as you'd expect for an art school. A fusion of glass and concrete, it melds with its natural surroundings to create a place of peace for study.
4. Takeo City Library and Historical Museum
The Takeo City Library and Historical Museum runs according to a slightly different system from most public libraries, and inspired debate as soon as its redesign was unveiled. The first thing visitors notice as they enter the building is the smell of coffee. Yes: right in the library is a Starbucks coffee shop and a Tsutaya bookstore. You can even enjoy the drinks inside the library.
5. Kanazawa Umimirai Library
The Kanazawa Umimirai Library in Kanazawa, Ishikawa has a pop design featuring around 6,000 round windows to let the light in. Its unique construction was recognized by a number of Japanese and international architectural awards, and a US travel guide included the Kanazawa Umimirai Library in its list of the world's 20 most appealing libraries.
So, what did you think? Autumn in Japan is traditionally a time for reading—why not drop by your local library?