Japan House London | Kensington Cultural Centre
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’s packed in a restaurant, a gallery, an events space, a library, a shop, and more.
A contemporary Japanese number called AKIRA, the restaurant here 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.
The vast gallery space is home to a rolling roster of exhibitions from esteemed Japanese artists, designed to showcase the breadth of crafts practised across the country. So far, it’s seen sweeping surveys of design with architect Sou Fujimoto and a whole exhibition dedicated to the nuances of colour in Japanese art and textiles – but currently it’s filled with manga by artist Urasawa Naoki, coinciding with the British Museum’s huge exhibition. Here, you can see some of Urasawa’s most striking work, as well as watch his live drawing demonstrations, attend sake tastings, listen to live music and more.
And like all good museums, you’ll naturally be able to pass through the shop on your way out. It’s stocked with elegant, well-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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