For an authentic insight into Japanese art, design, technology and gastronomy, Japan House is a breath of fresh air for those seeking a burst of culture. Designed as part of a global initiative by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it’s the perfect place to be absorbed completely in another culture, not to mention the educational benefits. There are only two other Japan Houses in the world, one based in Los Angeles and the other in São Paulo.
The house includes an exhibition gallery, Japanese restaurant, events spaces and a whole floor dedicated to a range of Japanese products. They also regularly host a range of exhibitions, events, workshops and seminars. It has been designed with spatiality in mind so that visitors can go from the bustling streets of London and escape to a tranquil and calm setting.
The ground floor is a shop filled with imported Japanese goods, including books, toys and utensils. Light, airy and minimalist – it’s presented almost like an exhibition itself. Akira, a Japanese restaurant, is located upstairs. For a traditional dining experience providing omotenashi hospitality, this is the best place to experience the diversity of Japanese cuisine. Akira is open Monday to Saturday 12 – 3 pm for lunch and 6 – 11 pm for dinner. Sunday and Bank Holiday opening hours are 12 – 4 pm.
If you don’t feel like having a proper sit-down meal, The Stand is a take-away drink and snack bar located at the entrance on the ground floor. Selling Japenese tea like matcha, hojicha and sencha and coffee such as kissaten, you won’t have to travel to Japan to get an authentic experience. A selection of baked goods are also available to purchase, as well as a range of sweet and savoury items from Happy Sky, a Japanese bakery.
Downstairs is a curated library and large event space for special film screenings and performances. There are also interesting regular temporary exhibitions, such as Anno’s Journey: The World of Anno Mitsumasa. As one of Japan’s most beloved artists, the exhibition explores the notorious work of Mitsumasa including his popular picture books published from the late 1960s.
Performances include traditional Japanese dances such as the sacred Kagura. The dance is accompanied by a talk by chief priests from the shrines, Kasuga Taisha and Niukawakami, to explore the kagura dance to the Japanese religion of Shinto.
For those looking to pick up a language, Japan House is the perfect place to gain a new skill with special Japanese language workshops. An exciting way to learn written and spoken Japanese, the programmes are led by performer Komura Tomoko in the cosy setting of the reading cove.
The Japan House Gallery and Shop are open Monday to Saturday 10 am – 8 pm and 12 – 6 pm on Sundays and Bank Holidays. It’s suggested that you always check the website before visiting, as certain events may affect opening hours.
If you’re hungry after visiting The Japan House, come and visit us at Aubaine for a plate of authentic French cuisine.
Next up: Garden Lodge