Yoyogi National Stadium

Yoyogi National Stadium

The Yoyogi National Stadium is another of Kenzo Tange’s brilliant works.  When I first saw the building, it reminded me of the curving roofline of traditional Japanese architecture. In particular, it resembles the sloping straw roofs of farmhouses one finds in northern Japan.  

Built for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, the roof is made possible through a suspension system. Nowadays, it’s used as an ice rink and a basketball arena.  As far as major sports venues go, it’s quite small, seating only 10,500, so the FIBA World Championships were held outside of Tokyo. But it did host an international skating competition just over a week ago. And I notice lots of high school events taking place there.

Yoyogi National Stadium

Even though it’s right across the street from well-used Yoyogi Park, and near bustling Harajuku, very few people walk through the grounds to admire the building. Which is a shame, because it’s one of Tokyo’s lovelier structures.

Although the top picture on this post make it seem like it has a very sharp verticality, you can see from the second picture that it’s actually a very long gently sloping building. But I liked this angle with the sun behind it because it reminded me of another of Tange’s masterpieces, St Mary’s Cathedral, which is nothing but verticality, but with a similar sloped roof. You can read about it on this post, strangely enough, one of my most popular.


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