Photo/Illutration The Kadokawa Culture Museum in the Higashitokorozawa-Wada district of Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture, is covered with granite plates. “It represents the Earth’s energy that breaks through the ground,” designer Kengo Kuma said. (Harufumi Mori) 

TOKOROZAWA, Saitama Prefecture—The peculiarly designed Kadokawa Culture Museum opened early here to help reinvigorate the culture and art sectors hit hard by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The museum, the core facility of the Tokorozawa Sakura Town cultural complex currently under construction, pre-opened on Aug. 1.

The pandemic has wreaked havoc on the schedule.

Sakura Town was originally slated to fully open in July, but it was postponed to at least November. The museum was initially scheduled to open on June 6.

“We’d like visitors to enjoy an encounter with all sorts of things that pop up in unprecedented combinations,” Seigo Matsuoka, museum director and head of Editorial Engineering Laboratory Co., said during the opening ceremony.

Built on the ruins of a sewerage center covering about 40,000 square meters, the sprawling Sakura Town complex is a joint project of the Tokorozawa city government and leading publisher Kadokawa Corp.

In one corner of the premises stands the five-story Kadokawa Culture Museum, which houses a library and a gallery.

The library, boasting a collection of 25,000 comics and “light novels” for young adults, and the gallery on the first and second floors opened on Aug. 1.

One highlight is the building itself.

Designed by architect Kengo Kuma, the exterior is covered with 20,000 granite plates that give the impression that the building has cracked open the ground to rise above the surface.

The museum is currently holding a special exhibition devoted to Kuma’s works, including a model of the new National Stadium.

Known for his use of natural materials, Kuma emphasized domestic wood for the main venue of the Tokyo Olympics.

Reservations are required to prevent crowds at the venue. Only 50 people can visit simultaneously every 30 minutes.

Visitors must wear masks and can stay up to about 90 minutes.

Other parts of the Kadokawa Culture Museum, including the “Hondana Gekijo” (bookshelf theater) surrounded by 8-meter-tall bookshelves and an anime museum, will open on Nov. 6.

A book production and distribution plant, an anime-themed hotel and the publisher’s office will also be built on the premises of Sakura Town.

Admission to the Kadokawa Culture Museum is 1,600 yen ($15) for adults, 1,000 yen for junior and senior high school students, and 700 yen for elementary school students. The fees include entrance to the special exhibition.

The complex is closed on Tuesdays except on national holidays.

For information, visit the official website at (