Tennoz Isle is a waterside neighborhood surrounded by canals offering a unique and relaxed experience away from the hustle and bustle of central Tokyo. It has a reputation as somewhat inaccessible, but in fact you can walk there from Shinagawa Station!
A leisurely 15-minute stroll along the canal takes you past a gallery, an art studio, an art supply lab, a popular restaurant and brewery, and a shop and café specializing in preserved foods. It’s time Tennoz Isle had an image makeover!
Let’s walk along the canal from Shinagawa Station and take in the sights. With bayside views and multiple art spots, this route makes a perfect date course.
Our tour starts from the Konan Exit on the east side of Shinagawa Station.
Pass through rows of towering office buildings and you’ll arrive in at Shinagawa Central Garden, a leafy plaza styled after New York’s Central Park. Shinagawa is full of office workers during the week, but thins out with a laid-back atmosphere on weekends.
Coming out of the park, head east toward the canal. The skyscrapers fade away and scenery similar to Tokyo’s older, quainter Shitamachi neighborhood comes into view.
It’s fun to watch how drastically the scenery changes and the neighborhood transforms in even a short distance. Stand on the bridge spanning the canal and you’ll see the architecture of Tennoz Isle. A bit off in the distance is the brewery and restaurant T.Y. Harbor. Look to the left, and you’ll see something that looks like a giant mural.
Along the canal there’s a running course where you’ll spot joggers on weekends. Keep strolling and admiring the scenery, and before long you’ll arrive in Tennoz Isle.
Crossing the bridge takes you to a road called Tennoz Isle Bond Street. Once lined with warehouses storing oil and other raw materials, this street is turning into a trendy place as time goes by.
While there are a number of popular restaurants here, we recommend the off-beat Terra Cafe Bar, which specializes in preserved and emergency ration foods.
The shop is stocked with pre-packaged dishes and snacks from around the world. You can even defrost and eat them at the café! From frozen foods to canned goods and freeze-dried items, the shelves are lined with goodies you’ve probably never seen before. It’s a real preserved food lover’s heaven.
A bit further down Bond Street, we came across an artist at work painting when we visited in October during the mural art festival Pow! Wow! Japan. This event filling the area with street art produced the giant mural visible from the canal.
*Some Pow! Wow! Japan murals are still on display after the festival.
Warehouse Terrada, which operates storage, preservation, and real estate services in Tennoz Isle, is well regarded for its technology used to store and preserve highly specialized merchandise such as art, wine, and film. As one of several initiatives in the art world, it runs T-Art Gallery, a renovated warehouse it has converted into a gallery. From October 30th (Friday) through November 22nd (Sunday) 2015, T-Art Gallery held Terrada Art Award 2015, an exhibition of prize-winning artworks.
Warehouse Terrada also runs a complex of artists’ studios called T-Art Kȏbȏ.
Not far from the gallery is a renovated former warehouse with rooms of all different sizes. There are plans to allow Terrada Art Award 2015 winners to use this studio space free-of-charge as a bonus prize. In the future, the rooms may be rented out as galleries or opened up to art collectors. The space seems poised to become a new center for supporting artists.
Right next to T-Art Gallery is an eye-catching building designed by architect Kengo Kuma with a façade resembling curving bamboo blinds. This is Pigment, an art lab boasting an extensive lineup of rare traditional painting materials.
In this shop there are around 4,200 kinds of pigments alone, as well as antique ink stones and paintbrushes of all sizes and bristle types. Some of the ink stones are shockingly valuable.
Another feature of Pigment is that its staff includes experts with doctorates in researching paint materials. They can give advice on everything from the special traits of the merchandise to how to use it, and the shop also holds workshops on using the paint materials. Pigment doesn’t just sell paint supplies, it fulfills an academic role as well.
And there you have it, a full day of art in Tennoz Isle! How did you like it? Warehouse Terrada, based in Tennoz Isle, is bringing out the artistic potential of waterfront warehouses by making the most of their unique layouts and locale. The ways to spend your days in Tennoz Isle are sure to take on new dimensions going forward, so head out here for your next weekend art adventure!
Text: Koushiro Tamada
Photo: Tadamasa Iguchi (except for the first photo and award site images).