Japan! The land of the rising sun. One of the fastest-growing countries globally with the perfect blend of historical and modern architecture in their planning. While on the one hand, Japan is known for its beautiful tradition and culture, be it its large-scale Buddhist temple buildings, their structured wooden houses, and elements that can be observed in their traditional architecture; on the other hand, it has undergone a rapid upgrade of westernization in order to compete with the developed nations.

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Kawasaki City Skyline_©IKEUTIyu/ Flickr.com

When we hear about Japanese style architecture or, as they call it, ‘Nihon Kenchiku,’ it is the contemporary use of wooden structures elevated slightly off the ground with tiled or thatched roofs, which was not favourable while Japan was going through the trend of urbanization. Japanese modern style with minimalistic characteristics came to be used widely across the country, creating a blend of cultural and contemporary architectural styles throughout the landscape.

Kawasaki- The Futuristic Abode

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Kawasaki City_©Takuya Hasegawa/ Flickr.com

One of the prime examples of this transition and upgrade has been the city of ‘Kawasaki’ located in the Kanagawa Prefecture amongst the main cities in the Greater Tokyo region and Keihin Industrial Area, lining the Tama river Kawasaki, Kanagawa is known as the futuristic town in the region because of its Industrial importance and beautifully lit skyline.

A Blast from the Past!

Kawasaki is an industrial town living between Tokyo and Yokohama. The city was the prominent historic landmark connecting Tokyo (then Edo) to Yokohama. It had started booming as an industrial town, being an area of importance to many upcoming industries until it was hit and destroyed by aerial bombing during World War II. It finally became a city designated by the government in April 1972. This was when it was divided into wards, namely, Asao, Kawasaki, Miyamae, Nakahara, Saiwai, Takatsu, and Tama wards. 

The city has developed as an industrialized expanse. It is now a hub with factories of influential brands like Ajinomoto, Daiichi Cement, Nippon Steel, Hitachi, Showa Denko, Toshiba, and Fuji Electric.

Structures of the Starlit City

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Kawasaki Factories_©Atsushi W-K/ Flickr.com

Being an area of utmost importance, the architecture of the city is majorly fire-resistant steel structures in the industrial areas, which were set up after the fire massacre in 1976. It is the focal point providing too many of the manufacturing units in Japan; hence, it has been designed to sustain any catastrophe. The lights from these industries that contribute vitally to the magical, sci-fi futuristic view each night, are there to keep the activity in the area going long after the sun goes down.

The Industrial port of Kawasaki has become a destination for the photographers to test their lenses and for the adrenaline junky tourists to indulge in adventurous activities combining a good mix of business and leisure in the busy city of Kawasaki.

The Cultural Blend

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Kawasaki Daishi Temple_©Kanpai-Japan.com

The city of Kawasaki has a mix of cultures and tourism prospects; being home to the top industries of Japan, Kawasaki has grown by its cultural roots as well. The Kawasaki Daishi Temple is one of the majestic temples also known as Heigenji Temple is what one can find a varied architectural palette in the city.

The Kawasaki Daishi Temple is one of the three mountains of the Kanto region. It is more than 1000-year-old, comprising prayer halls, gates, a beautiful large garden, a pagoda, and a Cemetery. The temple is visited by a massive crowd of tourists and locals regularly. It comprises a vast garden used as a recreational area, commonly by children as a play area, while many people use it to play sports and is also pet friendly for the pets to walk around. To add to its beauty, a small river with bridges spanning surrounds the whole garden enhancing the natural texture of the scene.

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Kawasaki Daishi Temple Landscape_©Kanpai-Japan.com

The temple’s original structure was destroyed during the war, and the current buildings are modern reconstructions of Heian Period architecture. The Dai-Hondo, or the main hall, was constructed of steel and concrete in the year of 1958.

The architecture of Kawasaki city is intensely functional. The town is trendy because of the diversity in structural form and detailed architecture of each Industrial facility. The alignment of metallic pipes & silos cast vast graceful shapes, all lit with bright lights of different colours. While the city of Kawasaki has been through everything from the air raid bombings during World War II to cultural reforms in its architecture, it has never been stagnant. It has consistently grown and adapted to modern architecture without losing the elements of contemporary Japanese style. 

The city of Kawasaki has always ensured itself to be prepared for the future with modern infrastructure upgrades in industries and the other buildings by adding new features to the buildings with cultural importance and using modern building materials to develop more robust structures to face any catastrophe in the future.

References

Japanvisitor.com. (2019). Kawasaki Coastal Area | JapanVisitor Japan Travel Guide. [online] Available at: https://www.japanvisitor.com/japan-city-guides/kawasaki-coastal-area# [Accessed 5 Aug. 2021].

www.city.kawasaki.jp. (n.d.). Kawasaki City:City Overview. [online] Available at: https://www.city.kawasaki.jp/en/page/0000038670.html [Accessed 3 Aug. 2021].

Author

Aditi is a creative soul and a firm believer in procedural learning. She looks towards building a sustainable milieu by linking the built environment to the roots of India’s culture. She is an ardent reader and holds a keen interest in art, architecture and aesthetics.

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