Tokyo Bunka Kaikan is a concert hall located inside Ueno Park. It was designed by the modernist architect Kunio Maekawa (1905 – 1986) and opened in 1961. This building is considered to be Maekawa’s most famous work. In the past Tokyo Bunka Kaikan has hosted performances by stars of classical music such as Leonard Bernstein, Maria Callas, and Herbert von Karajan, and it continues to host world-class musical performances to this day.
Inside the building is a Main Hall on the 1st floor which has seating for 2,303 people and which is used for opera, ballet, and large orchestral performances. There is also a Recital Hall on the 2nd floor which has seating for 649 people and which is used for performances of chamber music. Both halls are well-known for their excellent acoustics. In addition to these halls, there are rehearsal rooms and meeting rooms which are available to rent, and also a music library on the 4th floor. To check the current events schedule, please visit the official Tokyo Bunka Kaikan website.
The Music Library
The music library’s collection is devoted exclusively to music and includes books, magazines, musical scores, and past performance programs. There are also thousands of audio and visual materials such as CDs, vinyl LPs, and DVDs which can be listened to or watched. The audio-visual collection consists of mostly classical music, but also includes some traditional Japanese, and ethnic folk music. All of these things are free to access on-site by anyone over middle school age, but library materials cannot be checked out. Photocopying of some materials is also permitted and can be done on-site.
In order to use the library you will need to bring some identification and proof of your address and then the staff will make a library card for you. The library is open from 11.30 to 18.30 Tuesday through Friday, and from 11:.30 to 17.00 on weekends and holidays.
Shopping & Dining
This building also includes a souvenir shop and two dining facilities. Café Hibiki is located on the 1st floor and has a large outdoor terrace. It serves a variety of light meals, drinks, and desserts. Forestier is a Western-style restaurant on the 2nd floor. The extensive menu features beef steak, hamburger steak, pasta, and seafood dishes. Both the café and restaurant are usually open from 11.00 to 19.00 and the souvenir shop is usually open from 10.00 to 19.00. However, these opening times may change according to the performance schedule.
Tokyo Bunka Kaikan is located just inside the main entrance of Ueno Park and is a 2 minute walk from the Park Exit of JR Ueno Station. Here is a map showing the location.
Box Office Opening Hours: 10.00 – 19.00
Telephone bookings can be made from 10.00 – 18.00 at Tel. +81-3-5685-0650.
Tokyo Bunka Kaikan and all of its facilities are closed on Mondays.
Article and original photos by Michael Lambe. All rights reserved.