TeamLab: Borderless – Athletic Forest and En Tea House

If you follow Japan at all on social media, chances are you’ve seen pictures of exquisite projection mapping displays in a darkened warehouse. This is a special exhibit by the art team TeamLab at the Mori Building Digital Art Museum. It is a large area with expansive displays that are a treat for the senses. As such, I’m going to break these posts up so you can get the full details on some of my favorite sections!

Athletic Forest

The museum is split into three different zones: the athletic zone, which encourages movement, and two different art areas. It’s a bit confusing at first, but I assume the layout is designed to get you exploring and interacting with the exhibits while fostering that feeling of discovery.

Athletic Zone Climbing Area - Two Second Street -
You can climb through this. Every time you touch the same color on your journey, you activate a new sound!

The athletic forest is a large open area with slopes and hills and all manner of uneven ground that has constant projections dazzling the walls and floors. There are special areas dedicated specifically to moving for babies, children, and adults.

Athletic Zone Magnet Walls - Two Second Street -
Move platforms and blocks to get the little guys across the walls!

The coolest bit about the children’s areas is that the walls have these magnets you can place that interact with the lights. Some send up balloons, while others create walking paths for the little creatures that zip across the walls of the room.

Children's Room - Two Second Street -
One interactive children’s room

The real awesome bit for us was the ability to create your own art and have it become part of the exhibit. You can do this in two areas: the main Athletic Forest floor and in the side aquarium room. We opted for the aquarium room.

You go in and grab yourself a design. It’s essentially an outline of a sea creature.

You then sit down and color in the outline with your own design. They have special crayons there for your use, along with rows of tables and small stools for you to work.

After you finish, you take your work to the exhibit attendant and they will scan your creation.

Then, they will show your new creature being dropped into the tank! From there, your creature will swim along the exhibit and interact with other creatures on its own! It’s so wild to see your own drawing appear on the walls! You can also tap creations to give them a sudden burst of movement, making the whole display very dynamic.

En Tea House

On the same floor as the Athletic Forest is En Tea House, a nice little retreat where you can sit down and enjoy a reasonably priced 500 yen ($4.56) cup of hot or cold tea. You place your order at the front desk and pay before you are escorted to a seat in the main drinking area. It has a series of U-shaped, rectangular bar-like seats that you cozy up to. In the middle of the U, the barista comes in and pours your drink into your bowl. From there, you may notice your cup begins blooming flowers!

En Tea House Tea - Two Second Street -
There’s something in my tea…

You can watch for a while as many blossoms come forth, but when you move your cup away and take a drink, the petals burst forth and scatter to the wind.

En Tea House Flowers - Two Second Street -
…And there they go!

With a full house, you can see the place exploding with colorful flowers all around. The drinks were pretty good, too! My wife got the Yuzu Green Tea (cold) and I got the Roasted Green and Chamomile Tea (hot). They both had a wonderful, refreshing flavor to them, and the added bonus of the blossoming flowers in the cup added a wonderfully whimsical touch to the whole experience!

Also keep in mind that the whole museum is pretty dark to accommodate all the light projections. It’s also a pricey endeavor: 3200 yen ($29.21) to visit and re-entry is not permitted. It gets very crowded quickly, so try and hit the Athletic Forest and En Tea House as soon as they open to ensure a nice, relaxing experience (and great people-free photos, if that’s your goal). You’ll also want to try and buy your tickets ahead of time, because even on weekdays, there’s no guarantee you will be able to walk up and buy entry. Plan accordingly!


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