Jason Allen 09/10/23

Japan House

Japan is frequently referred to as the Land of the Rising Sun.

So it’s probably a good thing that it’s brought a little of it over to London.

You’ll find it in the form of Japan House, a “cultural and creative crossroads” that already has outposts in LA and São Paolo. Taking up residence in a gorgeous Art Deco building on Kensington High Street, it packs in a restaurant, a gallery, an events space, a library, a shop, and more:


Japan House

A contemporary Japanese number called AKIRA, the restaurant at Japan House is headed up by esteemed chef Akira Shimizu. Perched on the first floor, it’s a sleek, understated space dressed in pale wood and harbouring a huge open kitchen at its centre. Here, chefs char meat and fish over the charcoal robata grill and painstakingly assemble bento boxes with multiple compartments, each filled with a perfectly composed, bitesized dish. Tacked onto the restaurant is a Japanese bar, with an array of sakes to try by the glass and a cocktail menu packed with Japanese spirits and flavours.


Japan House’s vast gallery space is home to a rolling roster of free exhibitions from esteemed Japanese artists, designed to showcase the breadth of crafts practised across the country. So far, it’s hosted an impressive 360° video journey through Tokyo and an exhibition devoted to the graphic design behind the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Japan house exhibition: design discoveries

Their current exhibition, Design Discoveries: Towards A Design Museum Japan runs until 8th September and is free to visit; just drop by.

As the home of the bullet train, the emoji and the heated loo seat, Japan is synonymous with design. It’s also the nation of the shokunin, the (frequently anonymous) artisan who dedicates years to perfecting a single craft. So it might come as a surprise to learn that Japan doesn’t actually have a dedicated Design Museum. The producers at Japan’s broadcasting house NHK have sent seven creators from the worlds of fashion, homeware and technology out on a kind of ‘treasure hunt’ for design wonders across the country, and this free exhibition displays what they unearthed – from 10,000 year old Jomon period pottery and the national rugby kit, to the ceremonial patchwork robes of trainee priestesses. The result is an inventive sandbox of ideas about what makes a museum, and how to present stories about the process of design, as much as it is about the objects themselves.


Japan House

And like all good museums, you’ll naturally be able to pass through the shop on your way out. The ground floor of Japan House is stocked with elegant, beautifully-designed pieces by Japanese designers, from ceramics and tableware to stationery, prints, books, and clothing.

They’ve got it down to a tee.


NOTE: Japan House is open daily, and admission to exhibitions is free – you can find out more at their website right HERE.

Japan House London | 101-111 Kensington High Street, W8 5SA

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Japan House

101-111 Kensington High Street, Kensington, West London, W8 5SA