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Interior Decorating in 1933: Architectural Materials and People at the Former Prince Asaka Residence

Discover the charm of Prince Asaka's Residence through its materials

Once per year, the Teien Art Museum hosts an exhibition to showcase the architectural beauty of our building, the Former Prince Asaka Residence, completed in 1933. This year’s exhibition focuses on elements of the interior design—wood, stone, tiles, wallpaper, and furniture—and introduces the materials and craftsmanship, as well as the carpenters and companies involved in construction, by drawing upon construction specification manuals, catalogs, and other documents from the time. This exhibition aims both to highlight the work of Japan’s artisans, and offer a new way of seeing and enjoying the architecture of this cultural property.

Former Residence of Prince Asaka

The Asaka branch of the imperial family was founded in 1906 by Prince Yasuhiko, the eighth son of Prince Kuni Asahiko. In 1922, while serving at the Military Staff Col lege, Prince Yasuhiko went to France to study military affairs. After he was injured in a traffic accident there, his spouse, Princess Nobuko, joined him, and together they remained in France until 1925. Their stay coincided with the golden age of Art Deco in France. Fascinated by the beauty of Art Deco, the prince and princess decided to incorporate its glories into their new residence, for which they commissioned the French artist Henri Rapin to design the interiors of the principal rooms. The architect in charge of designing the building, Gondo Yokichi of the Works Bureau of the Imperial Household Ministry, had been a passionate student of modern architecture while training in Europe. The superb craftsmanship long cultivated in Japan was, moreover, utilized in every aspect of its construction.
The Prince Asaka Residence is, thus, itself a work of art, the result of the enthusiasm of the prince and princess and the combined abilities of Japanese and French designers, architects, and craftsmen.
While it is now used as a museum, no significant changes have been made to its interior. A valuable historic structure that accurately embodies the Art Deco style and provides a glimpse of receptivity to other cultures that flourished in Tokyo in the early Showa period, the residence has been designated as one of the Japanese nation's Important Cultural Properties.

Visiting information


Interior Decorating in 1933: Architectural Materials and People at the Former Prince Asaka Residence


Saturday, 20 July, 2019 - Monday, 23 September


Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum
5-21-9, Shirokanedai, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Tel +81(0)3 3443 0201


Closed on July 24, August 14 and 28, September 11

Opening Times:

10:00-18:00 *Last admission at 17:30
(July 26, August 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 opening until 21:00 *Last admission at 20:30)


  General Advance/Group
Adults General¥900 Advance/Group¥720
College and vocational students General¥720 Advance/Group¥570
Junior high and high school students General¥450 Advance/Group¥360
Senior (65 and over) General¥450 Advance/Group¥360

・Figures in parentheses are group admission fees (for groups of 20 or more).
・Admission is free for elementary and younger students and for middle school students residing or going to schools in Tokyo.
・Admission is free for visitors (and one accompanying person) with a Physical Disability Certificate, Intellectual Disability Certificate, Rehabilitation Certificate, Mental Disability Certificate, or Atomic Bomb Survivor's Certificate.
・Admission is free for seniors (65 and above) on the third Wednesday of each month.
・Pre-purchased tickets are available online from e+:


Organized by

Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture, Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum

With the co-sponsorship of

Toda Corporation
Bloomberg L.P.

Highlights of the exhibition

  • Cutting-edge & finest quality from top to bottom
    The Former Prince Asaka Residence makes ample use of the most cutting-edge and finest techniques and materials available 90 years ago. The building incorporated the newest techniques and materials, including a patented method of lacquering concrete, and washable wallpaper from the German company Salubra. Moreover, the rooms are decorated in the highest quality tiles manufactured by Taizan Ceramics and Tsubakigama Ceramics, among the most renowned artisan tile makers of the time. Enjoy the refinement of this early 20th century architecture as you learn more about these irreplaceable techniques and materials.
  • Princess’s sitting room & bedroom furniture
    Furniture that was used in this area of Prince Asaka’s residence is on display for the first time since being restored. This set of furniture was used in the princess’s living room and bedroom. Pieces that had been altered were carefully restored based on research into the original appearance.
  • Special opening of the Winter Garden
    This exhibition includes the opening of the Winter Garden on the 3rd floor of the main building, which is ordinarily off-limits. This room that was designed as a greenhouse is equipped with flower beds, water faucets, and drains. Please take note of the modern features, such as the floor with a checkered pattern of white and black stones.

    [Please be aware]

    1. Due to the maximum capacity, we request that guests limit viewing of the Winter Garden to ten minutes during busy periods.
    2. There is no elevator from the second to third floor.
    3. Please do not lean over the low banister of the stairs.
    4. In emergencies, please follow the instructions of staff members. In the event that the stairs cannot be used due to fire, you can evacuate from the roof using drop-down ladders.

Programs and Events

  • Summer Night Museum 2019 (extended nighttime hours)

    Each Friday from July 26 until August 30, the museum will be open until 21:00. There are also related promotions at the restaurant and shop.

    Admission for students is free after 17:00, while regular and senior visitors may enjoy the discounted group rate.

  • Enjoying photography

    During this exhibition, photography is permitted in the main building (Former Prince Asaka Residence). Those who wish to take photographs in the museum are requested to respect the following rules.

    [Photography rules]

    1. Photography is only allowed inside the main building of the art museum. Please do not take photographs in the exhibition hall of the annex building.
    2. Staff may ask you to refrain from taking photographs in crowded areas and near the stairs in order to protect visitors and the building. Please follow the instructions of the staff.
    3. Please refrain from using flash, tripods, reflectors, or selfie sticks.
    4. Photography should be limited to non-commercial personal use only. Regarding commercial photography, please see here.
    5. Please be aware that publishing photographs on the Internet may infringe upon the portrait rights of other visitors. Users assume all responsibility in case of use. The museum does not assume any responsibility.

Top from left:South side of main building, Veranda

Middle from left:Private Dining Room, Small Drawing Room, “Bucharest” chandeliers by Réne Lalique

Bottom from left: Front Entrance Hall, Etched glass with bronze framework and bronze, spray detail by Max Ingrand, Door of the Princess’s Bedroom