The most beautiful Japanese libraries 日本の図書館

dream libraries

Japan has exceptional libraries in terms of its architecture, history, and collections. Discover in this selection, the most celebrated and inspiring!


  • Seikei University Library (Tokyo)

Completed in 2006, Seikei University Library has seen its futuristic design crowned with several design awards. Nonetheless, its traditional glass and red brick facade blend in with the historic campus. Large raised glass domes, called planets, bathed in natural light from the atrium give their occupants the feeling of working in zero gravity! Send your visit request by email at least two weeks in advance.


  • The Umimirai Library in Kanazawa

This public library inaugurated in 2011 was designed as a simple box with punched walls of 6000 small round windows. It consists of a single room, the reading room, benefiting from soft light and great tranquility.


  • Sendai Mediatheque

Inaugurated in 2001, the Sendai media library is the work of architect Toyo Ito, winner of the prestigious Pritzker Prize in 2013. Transparency prevails in its design. From the street, the different floors seem to float in the air, the slabs being supported only by steel columns. Its innovative aesthetics and engineering have earned it international acclaim.



Workspaces in bubbles at Seikei University Library


The Umimirai Library in Kanazawa

Asturio Cantabrio / Wikipedia

Sendai Mediatheque

Facade of Sendai Mediatheque.



  • The Nakajima Library in Akita

Nakajima University Library likes to present itself as the library that never sleeps by offering a 365 days a year and 24 hours a day opening. Following a semicircular structure of local cedar and reinforced concrete, its design recalls that of ancient amphitheaters. The imposing framework gives a pleasant feeling of warmth to the students and the local population, invited to frequent the premises.


  • The Shiba Ryotaro Museum Library in Osaka

In the Shiba Ryotaro Museum (1923-1996), the library holds a very special place. Adjacent to the writer's house, the museum, built by star architect Tadao Ando, has been open to the public since 2001. The impressive 11-meter high library houses the novelist's 500 works as well as his collection of books from the whole world. The visitor faces more than 20,000 works. Real walls of books for a completely striking and fascinating effect!


  • The Iwaki Picture Book Museum

Offering a splendid view of the sea, this library in reinforced concrete, glass, and wood was designed by Tadao Ando in 2005 for three kindergartens in the city. The decor is minimalist. Ando leaves plenty of room for books whose covers are enough to bring the space to life with their colorful patterns. The interplay of light and shadow, characteristic of Ando's work, finds its proper expression in an alternation of wide-open areas and closed and dark areas. Take advantage of open house Fridays to immerse yourself in one of the books and fall back into childhood.


Akita's "colysium" library

Nakajima Library Akita International University


The impressive library of writer Shiba Ryotaro

Forgemind ArchiMedia


The Iwaki Illustrated Book Library


  • Gifu's "Minna no mori Media Cosmos"

Gifu's " Forest for All " is the work of Toya Ito. Huge transparent curved globes like lace lampshades suspended from the wooden lattice ceiling define the different areas of this open library: spaces for reading, resting, studying, or for children. The rounded shapes and the furniture arranged in a spiral provide the feeling of being in a real cocoon!


  • The International Manga Museum in Kyoto

This museum is the go-to place for manga fans around the world. Open since 2006, it presents more than 300,000 manga! Books fill the rooms from floor to ceiling. It is impossible not to sit down to leaf through a few!


  • Awashima Sea Library

Resolutely sleek and stylish, the Awashima Sea Library was created as part of the 2013 Setouchi Triennale. A Scandinavian architectural firm has renovated a 1920s school to transform it into a small library dedicated to the sea Located on the seafront on the island of Awashima, the architects in their absolute search for aesthetics have highlighted the original wood. The old material is enhanced by brass elements and furniture creating mirror effects reminiscent of the wavy reflections on the surface of the waves.


Minna no mori library in Gifu

Musée international du manga

Libraries of the International Manga Museum.



Awashima Library

STATE arkitekter


  • Musashino Art University Library (Tokyo)

The architect Sou Fujimoto followed here a precept that was audacious, to say the least: to create a library as simple as possible. To do this, he only used wooden shelves! Inside, these constitute the walls and delimit the spaces. To create the facade, the shelves are enclosed in a glass frame.


  • Tama University of Art Library

Designed by Toyo Ito, the Tama Art University Library uses arches, a classic architectural element, which the architect skilfully reused and modernized. In reinforced concrete and steel, arches of different sizes energize the spaces. A spatial diversity that we experience by walking in the bays and which evolves from the cloister to the cave according to the height of the arches and the light!


  • Takeo's Library

Following its renovation in 2013, the Takeo Public Library has seen its attendance jump from 250,000 to 800,000 visitors per year. The reason for this is its new concept combining library, bookstore, and a Starbucks coffee, all in a huge and open space. It is wise to speak in this case of a real rebirth!


  • Sangosan Tomie Library (Fukue Island)

The Tomie Community Library on Fukue Island is the result of the rehabilitation of an 80-year-old traditional house by architect Junpei Nosaku. According to the wishes of the population, the architect endeavored to reuse materials and techniques inherited from the local culture. Since its opening in 2016, everyone has been invited to drop off their three favorite books along with the explanation of their choice for the benefit of the whole community.


Musashino Art University Library





Takeo's Library


Sangosan Tomie Library

Junpei Nousaku Architects

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