The Nakagin Capsule Tower By Kisho Kurokawa

nakagin capsule tower

Architect: Kisho Kurokawa

Location: Tokyo, Japan

Year: 1972

Have you ever heard of a “Capsule House”? If no, and you are amongst the people who are hearing it for the first time a capsule house is a tiny room that features a small bed and other facilities. Maybe this is not very common in your area, but in Japan, it is very popular.

nakagin capsule tower By Kisho Kurokawa

The Nakagin Capsule Tower is a perfect architectural example of Japanese “Metabolism.” This is the First Capsule Architecture Design that is built for actual use. It is located in the Ginza area of Tokyo, which is the most populated city in the world (Population: 37,435,191).

Theme And Design

The tower represents the Japanese history – as the ancient Japanese houses are made from natural materials, which are unpredictable and also not permanent. It perfectly shows the fast and compact lifestyle of Tokyo city.

Design of nakagin capsule tower

Kisho Kurokawa was very imaginative and innovative with the designs of this tower. Most of the pieces were built in the factory at Shiga Prefecture. And then, later on, all the pieces were transported by truck on the site.

You’ll be surprised to know that it was completed in just 30 Days. Shocking right!!

Tower Structure

This tower has 13 storeys with a total of 140 capsules. These capsules are stacked and attached to a central core. The amazing part is, they also rotate at various angles.

Each unit can be attached to the central core and could be easily replaced when neccessary. You can say that it is a prototype of the architecture of recyclability and sustainability.

Structure of nakagin capsule tower
Inside A Capsule

Each capsule has 4 x 2.5 meters dimensions, which is enough space for one person. The interior space is also modifiable by connecting one capsule to others.

inside of nakagin capsule tower

Another interesting fact about the Nakagin Capsule Tower is that each model is attached to the concrete core with only 4 high-tension bolts. So you can easily replace a single unit whenever you want.

nakagin capsule tower inside

Capsule interiors feature a built-in bed, bathroom, and also have modern utilities like T.V, radio & alarm clock. Each pod has a circular window; it is the common feature of all the capsules. Because of this, they kinda look like a cute small washing machine, when you look from outside.

facility in nakagin capsule tower
  • Nakagin Capsule Tower was also featured in the superhero movie “The Wolverine.”
  • A building that is very similar to Nakagin Capsule Tower appears in the “Transport Tycoon” video game.
  • The three documentaries – ‘Japanese Metabolist Landmark on the Edge of Destruction’, ‘Kochuu’, and ‘From Metabolism to Symbiosis’ have mentioned this tower.
  • A photographer Noritaka Minami published a photobook of this tower in 1972.

Here are some architecture photography ideas for buildings.


The arguments over this building started after 2000. In 2007, the residents of the building voted to demolish the building and demand to replace it with a much larger and modern construction.

Disputes of nakagin capsule tower

Their main concern hovers over earthquakes; the building has not proper resistance to that. Nakagin Capsule Tower had not been maintained from 47 years; that’s why residents face a lot of problems such as drainage and leakage of water. But architects all around the globe are working together and trying to preserve this building.

A firm told The Japan Times in 2014, “Right now, there are no ways to preserve the building at a reasonable maintenance cost, but the property cannot be destroyed without approval from at least four-fifths of [unit] owners.”


So what are your thoughts? No doubt, this is one of the finest examples of architecture. So until the fate of the Nakagin capsule tower is decided, know more about other breathing buildings and architectures around the world, for that visit Architecturesideas.

Read More:-

Rishi Goratela
Rishi Goratela
Rishi Goratela has over 5 years of experience in SEO and blogging, which he uses to help bloggers and website owners increase their online visibility and traffic organically. He is an expert in creating content strategies, conducting keyword research, publishing blogs, and optimizing technical issues.

Related Articles

15 Best Window Shades to Enhance Your Home’s Style!

Window shades serve both practical and aesthetic purposes in your modern...

Recent Posts

15 Best Window Shades to Enhance Your Home’s Style!

Window shades serve both practical and aesthetic purposes in...

5 Signs You Need Professional Roofing Services

Your roof is one of the most critical components...

Best Vacuum Cleaners to Save You Time and Energy: Effortless Cleaning

Choosing the right vacuum cleaner for your home can...