Now & Zen: 5 Cool Spaces to See Now

Cool, calm and perfectly balanced, these spaces, from traditional to cutting edge, make you feel instantly relaxed and inspired. Zen Buddhism has had a huge influence on Japanese design, with its emphasis on simplicity and emptiness. Zen spaces also take inspiration from nature, embodying the ideal of beautiful imperfection.

Jikoin Temple

This serene temple was conceived by renowned tea master Sekishu Katagiri in 1663, as much a minimalist space for tea ceremonies as for worship. The main room, is a vast tatami space that seems to flow into the south garden and the valley below. | History & Culture | Yamato Koriyama

Nara City Museum of Photography

Designed in 1989 by famed architect Kisho Kurokawa, the Nara City Museum of Photography was designed to complement nearby Shinyakushiji Temple. The bold, modern design is surrounded by water and appears to float. Inside, soaring ceilings and smooth stone surfaces put all the focus on the contemporary photography. | Museums | Nara Park

Ishii (Sanjo Dori)

This elegant white space is dedicated to products made from Gojo's persimmons. Duck through the gauzy white noren curtains into the minimalist interior of pale wood and white. With just a slab counter and a few wooden stools, there is nothing to distract from the rich orange persimmon sweets. | Edible Gifts | Nara Park

Toshodaiji Temple

The grand main hall has been compared with the Parthenon for its perfect balance and rows of pillars, but it’s the moss gardens behind the temple complex that foster calm contemplation. Follow the paths towards the Kaizangobyo Mausoleum to a quiet green space, shaded by maple trees. | History & Culture | Nishinokyo


Once a farmhouse, now a stylish retreat, this beautiful home is remotely located and set amongst rice paddies. With only one group accepted at any one time, there is plenty of opportunity to relax and contemplate. | Rental Properties | Asuka

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