Contemplative Space – A Visit to D.T. Suzuki Museum in Kanazawa, Japan

While on a visit to meet lacquer artisan Akihiko Sugita at his studio in Kanazawa I took a short trip over to the D.T. Suzuki Museum, commemorating the life and work of Buddhist philosopher Suzuki Daisetz Teitaro.

Opened in 2011, the museum is situated in the same district of Kanazawa in which D.T. Suzuki was born. The space and architecture is very unique, although the building features stark, rigid outlines, the flowing nature of the rooms, three buildings connected by a series of corridors, and the movement of the water that ripples in the main courtyard sets for an intriguing contrast.

Inside the museum is a learning space that looks over a garden, in here people can enjoy many of D.T. Suzuki’s books and reflect on his ideas and thoughts. As you walk outside in to the main courtyard you are greeted by a flat open pond titled “Water Mirror Garden” and an open building where one can sit and reflect looking over the water.

When designing this building Taniguchi Yoshio, a talented Japanese architect who is best known for his redesign of MoMA in New York, looked to the Zen philosophy and Suzuki’s teachings for inspiration. The words ‘tranquility’ and ‘contemplative’ are key and make for a peaceful journey throughout this space, easily enjoyed for many hours.

Both morning and evening on a clear day are a unique spectacle, the reflections in the water and calming nature of the build really help you think clearly, presenting a small oasis for us to reflect on our lives. The serenity is something that will stick with me for a long time. Here I leave you some photos and hope you will be able to admire the architecture and get a feel for the atmosphere surround this build. If you have the opportunity please take a visit for yourself, more information about the D.T. Suzuki Museum can be found on the Kanazawa Museum website.

“The truth of Zen, just a little bit of it, is what turns one’s humdrum life, a life of monotonous, uninspiring commonplaceness, into one of art, full of genuine inner creativity.” – D.T. Suzuki

More photos can be seen on my personal website here →


Special discounts on OEN Shops curated collection

  • Exclusive behind-the-scenes content
  • Early access to content from our OEN publication
  • Deep dive into design concepts
  • Curated guides to the worlds top art and design cities
Become a patron at Patreon!
This content is available exclusively to members of OEN Patreon at $5 or more.