All About Japan

2020's Kanji of the Year Revealed

As he does every December 12, the head abbot of Kiyomizudera Temple took his usual place in front of a blank board on the site’s famous balcony, raised a large brush, and began the strokes that revealed the top character for 2020.

A Musical Scale to Maintain Social Distance

A mural by Eisuke Tachikawa is helping visitors to the Minato Mirai Hall stay socially distant while possibly getting the first few notes of Erik Satie’s Gymnopédie stuck in their head.

Stylish Library Nicknamed Forest of Aphorisms

Residents of Nasushiobara City as flocking to the new library built by hometown designer Mari Ito.

Ceramics Workshop Designed by Kengo Kuma

Star architect Kengo Kuma puts his signature stamp on yet another building with this ceramics museum and workshop in Komatsu.

Eye-Catching Pieces from ArtKyoto 2020

ArtKyoto is back and we've got the scoop on some of the coolest artworks on exhibit this year.

The Great Wave of Lego Bricks

Japan’s only certified professional Lego block builder pays homage to one of Japan's most influential woodblock prints with this epic Lego masterpiece.

Tokyo Building Shaded by Hinoki Wood Curtain

Witness the cool and cooling wood-curtain collaboration made by the team of Tsukagoshi Miyashita Architects and structural engineer Yasuhiro Kaneda.

Artist Makes 3D Sculptures of Strange Pet Pics

For one artist, scrolling past cute viral pics of animals is enough to inspire crafting sculptures that imagine new creatures.

Tokyo's Stunning 'Mizuhiki' LED Christmas Tree

One of the most modern and innovative designs we've seen this year for Christmas trees features the traditional craft of 'mizuhiki' hand-twisted cords.

Japan's 'Word of the Year' for 2020 Released

Dictionary company Sanseido had a lot of strong contenders for its annual Word of the Year contest, as a lot of new words sprung up into everyday conversation like "lockdown" and "social distance." But, the chosen word for 2020 was still a big surprise!

Turning Fashion Trash to Functioning Treasure

A Japanese designer has created a stunning, yet functioning chair that's made entirely from excess fabric from the fast fashion industry.

Tree Rubbings of Artist Stranded in NYC

When the pandemic hit, Japanese artist Keiko Miyamori found herself stuck in New York, missing exhibitions in Japan. As a way to keep her spirits strong, she created tree rubbings, placing them in charming glass boxes. Check out the fruits of her labors.

AI Takes Guesswork out of Choosing Sake

This artificial intelligence sommelier helps you choose the sake of your preference just by giving it descriptive expressions.

Fukuoka's Giant Gorilla Is Symbol of Strength

Since the Amabie didn't swoop in to save Japan from the pandemic, one town in Fukuoka decided to bring in a straw-based specialist to, well, smash the virus with fearsome fists and glowing red eyes!

8 Things Office Workers Didn't Miss in 2020

A recent survey by the Japanese Internet portal Biglobe asked Japanese workers, many of whom have transitioned to telecommuting, what they don’t miss about their old workdays. Here are the Top 8 responses.

Hayabusa2 Returns with Asteroid Samples

Japan’s Hayabusa2 space explorer brought 5.4 grams of substances believed to be from the asteroid Ryugu on a capsule that returned to Earth earlier this month.

Celebrities Pose for Playful, Stylized Photos

Welcome to the imaginative world of art director Yuni Yoshida, who has been using celebs to create magical images that play with the way we see reality.

Yokoo's Contemporary Misaligned Ukiyo-e Prints

Tadanori Yokoo celebrates the common problem of woodblock misalignment in a new series.

Naohiko Shimoda's Creative Corner Kamidana

Kamidana are miniature altars that can be found in many Japanese homes. However, architect Naohiko Shimoda came up with one that highlights the corners of rooms, blending traditional and modern aesthetics.

COVID Vaccines May Be Available in May

Sources say Japan's government plans to deliver COVID vaccinations to the general population in May.

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