Tokyo International Forum

by Karen Zheng

Sitting around the dining table, a new friend shared his insights on tourists in Japan. According to him, there are two types – Group A consists of typical tourists who visit all the popular attractions, while those in Group B are the ones who know of hidden finds that even locals might not be aware of.

With that in mind, we went on an exhilarating photowalk around Tokyo and explored places that I might not have visited without guidance from this new friend!

Located between Tokyo Station and Yūrakuchō Station, the Tokyo International Forum is a sight to behold. On first account, the name may not evoke much interest but this magnificent building of lights, steel and space will stop you in your tracks with its sophisticated grandeur!

Completed in 1997, Tokyo International Forum is deemed an architectural marvel. In fact, it was a well-planned project that spanned over a decade before it materialised. Also known to be Tokyo’s first convention and art center, this building consists of a glass atrium and four buildings with a different design for each.

On one side, the building showcases a design of a glass ship supported by tall pillars. In addition to natural lighting, there are hundreds of beams, which cast a surreal experience for visitors within the building. Photography hobbyists would surely love this place for the patterns and lines that one can capture!

Although I am no stranger to beautiful architecture, I was quietly awed by the beauty of Tokyo International Forum. Easily accessible to the public, it is recommended to head for the basement where you can take a lift to the top floor (7th) for a greater view. It is also ideal to visit during the blue hour – just as the sun is about to set.

At one end, there is an aerial view of Tokyo Station and its interesting array of rail lines. Standing above, noises were muted. This cool vantage offers an interesting “silent movie”, as busy commuters went to and fro amid the evening rush. Life in the city seems so busy, as people take purposeful strides towards their intended destination. I kept waiting for someone to stop and look up. Nobody did.

Gentle slopes curve within the premises and offer an alternative route to the ground level. As we slowly made our way down, I cannot help but to marvel at the sleek lines and the beauty of it all. I must have taken a million pictures!

Besides the beautiful architecture, Tokyo International Forum is used mainly for meetings, conventions as well as arts and entertainment events. Many of the events are open to public. Hence, you may stumble upon some great works during your visit.

Also, do keep a lookout for artworks that are featured all over the vicinity. Falling under the theme collection of “A Boat of Diversity”, these art pieces were installed to elevate cultural awareness and enrichment for all visitors.

If you have worked up an appetite after all the photo taking (as I did!), you would be pleased to know that there are various restaurants, cafes and shops available for your choosing!



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