Discover Tokyo’s New Spot Azabudai hills – Embark on a Boundless Journey at TeamLab Borderless

People wander through the world, exploring with intention, creating and discovering a new world with others.

teamLab Borderless.

A museum without a map 

In bustling Tokyo, taking the subway has always been a special experience. Walking through the underground passages of the nearest subway station to Azabudai Hills, Shinbashi Station, amidst the intersecting pathways and people, one can only wonder how many stories brush past each other.

Perhaps, this is what teamLab Borderless aims to convey – in a world without boundaries, there’s room for wandering, exploring, and discovering.

Stepping out of Shinbashi Station, Azabudai Hills stands distinct and avant-garde in the distance. Cloaked in a grid-like exterior, it’s called a building, but resembles more of a colossal organic entity coexisting with architecture, calmly seated in the heart of the city.

Photo from 麻佈臺Hills-AzabudaiHills a multi-use complex designed to enrich lives through a “Green & Wellness” concept.
People are the lifeblood of a city— a people-centered design.

A few days before our visit, Tokyo had experienced heavy snowfall, leaving traces of snow shoveling everywhere. The streets were swept by bitterly cold winds, and we practically ran our way to Azabudai Hills. The main tower, Mori JP Tower, offers a panoramic view of Tokyo Tower, overlooking the Skytree and Rainbow Bridge. Completed in November 2023, it soared to become Japan’s tallest skyscraper, also becoming the newest iconic landmark of Tokyo. It embodies the globally acclaimed values of Green & Wellness right in the heart of Tokyo.

The low-rise buildings and public areas, led by the London-based architecture firm Heatherwick Studio, are designed with the concept of “green corridors and pergolas” as the inspiration core, creating a composite space that integrates urban and natural elements. Through a staircase-like layout with approximately 18 meters of height difference, the rooftop of the building is transformed into a green space, turning the architecture itself into a small hill.

The entire architectural complex includes galleries, public art, PACE Gallery (scheduled to open in spring 2024), and Shueisha‘s first permanent gallery, ‘SHUEISHA MANGA-ART HERITAGE‘.

That area, covered with vegetation and trees, thrives in the world’s busiest city, where humans and nature coexist in harmony. This holds incredibly special significance for teamLab, a symbol of technological art.

Photo by teamLab Borderless

From the shopping mall’s escalator, moving upwards to the entrance of teamLab Borderless, it’s truly unimaginable that behind the small black doorframe lies a space as large as a football field. In contrast to the massive architecture of ‘Tokyo Toyosu teamLab Planets’, the Azabudai Exhibition Hall boasts a completely different design aesthetic.

Photo by SOL.

The ‘teamLab Borderless: MORI Building DIGITAL ART MUSEUM’ was originally the team’s first permanent museum in Odaiba. After relocating in 2023, it occupies a 10,000 square meter space. Through the use of 520 computers and 470 projectors, it creates a brand-new borderless world and an immersive digital art experience.

Experiencing teamLab is all about following your heart. Thus, naturally following our intuition, we entered a place where waterfalls flowed. The spring water slid down the protruding rocks, with digital light and shadow outlining nature. The combination of technology and art with reality brought a magnificence never experienced before. Continuous moments of mini-dramas kept occurring, leaving me wondering, ‘Where am I? Am I really in a floor within the Mori Building mall?

Photo by SOL.

Light Sculpture –Line

Pulling aside the exhibition room’s curtains, we entered a space akin to the universe. Everyone gathered in the center in confusion, forming black silhouettes. We quietly moved towards the back of the space, waiting for the light to bloom, a moment when our hearts were utterly captivated.

Photo by teamLab Borderless
Photo by teamLab Borderless
Photo by teamLab Borderless

Through the control of computers and machinery, spotlights overhead dance to the rhythm of the music, casting over 20 themes of light sculptures such as whirlpools of light, seas of clouds, dark planes, and trapped cores of life. Accompanied by the rising mist in the space, tangible light that one could reach out and touch expands rapidly, encircling and dispersing, creating an unparalleled immersive art experience and a mysterious beauty that is irresistible.

Photo by teamLab Borderless  Animals of Flowers, Symbiotic Lives

That day, after a long trumpet sound, an elephant made of petals appeared, and we followed it, walking a great distance.

Tens of thousands of petals danced in the air, reassembling to form creatures of dreams right before our eyes. Through real-time computational processing, the images change with the viewers’ actions, intertwining invisibly to create an incredibly enchanting and healing technological interaction.

In the originally spacious exhibition room, suddenly a small entrance appeared, from which the sound of bells and shouts could be heard. Out of curiosity, we looked inside to find a winding passageway, and those sounds were coming from countless frogs and rabbits.

They were moving towards the depths of the passageway, some playing traditional instruments, others holding umbrellas. They proceeded one after another, continuously moving forward, dancing along the way. The scene was lively yet carried a serene feeling, reminiscent of the frogs working in the bathhouse in Spirited Away, and at the same time, it brought to mind Haruki Murakami‘s novel ‘Dance Dance Dance, speaking to the notion that life is an unending dance.

I never imagined walking shoulder to shoulder with frogs and experiencing a Zen-like philosophy along the way. ‘Walk, Walk, Walk: Search, Deviate, Reunite’ unsurprisingly became my favorite work in teamLab Borderless.

Photo by SOL.

Due to the sheer size of the ‘teamLab Borderless’ exhibition hall in Tokyo’s Azabudai, the immersive experiences and the fantastical blend of virtual and physical spaces make it an unforgettable visit. Thus, it’s recommended to allocate at least 2 hours to fully enjoy the digital art beauty brought by the team.

Stepping out of the exhibition hall, it becomes clearer the original intention behind teamLab’s establishment here. The hills of Tokyo Azabudai cover an expansive area, with over 24,000 square meters of greenery weaving through Tokyo’s concrete jungle. It serves as a transitional space from the boundless to reality, where the trees, cherry blossoms, hills, and highlands, the light, and even our reflections in the glass, bring us more resonance and reflection than our daily lives.”

Access to Azabudai Hills

  • 4 minutes walk from Exit 2 of Roppongi-Itchome Station on the Tokyo Metro Namboku Line
  • Directly connected to Exit 5 of Kamiyacho Station on the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line
Map from 麻布台之丘

Azabudai Hills Garden Plaza B B1
1-2-4 Azabudai, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Map of Azabudai Hills

Address in local language:
麻布台ヒルズ ガーデンプラザB B1
東京都港区麻布台1-2-4

——————

10:00 – 21:00
*  Closed at 5:00 p.m. on Apr 16, May 14, May 28
*Last entry is one hour before the museum closing time.
* EN TEA HOUSE opens 30 min after the museum opening time.

CLOSED:
3.05(Tue), 3.19(Tue), 4.17(Wed), 4.18(Thu), 4.23(Tue), 5.07(Tue), 5.21(Tue)

teamLab Borderless playlist:

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