History and Buildings of the Embassy
History of the Embassy
The Australian Embassy in Tokyo is located in the Mita district of Tokyo. The 13,000 m2 site was owned by the Hachisuka family during the Tokugawa period to enable it to meet its obligations of residence as laid down by the shogunate.
The first Embassy building was built by Marquis Masaaki Hachisuka and his son Masauji in 1927. They had both been educated at Cambridge University and decided to build a western style residence that reminded them of their time in England. The land and residence were purchased by the Australian Government in 1952.
In 1988, as part of the redevelopment of the site, the old residence made way for the new Embassy, Ambassador's residence and staff apartments which were completed in 1990.
Design of the Embassy
The Australian Embassy building, designed by leading Australian architects Denton Corker Marshall Pty Ltd, seeks to present a modern image of Australia in Japan. Housing the Embassy offices, Ambassador's residence and staff apartments, it provides a unified and modern face of Australia.
The complex has an E-shaped plan. It is faced in PVF2-coated aluminium, albeit detailed in such a way as to suggest a classical base.
While retaining elements of the original building and garden, the Embassy reflects also a contemporary image of Australia - innovative, forward-looking and committed to our tremendously important relationship with Japan.
The Embassy garden
The garden located behind the main Embassy building dates back several hundred years. It was part of the plot purchased from the Hachisuka family by the Australian government. A conscious effort has been made to retain some of the characteristics of the site in the new Embassy complex.
The original garden was set in two parts: the higher section close to the buildings and the lower garden beyond the lawn. Today only the higher section is part of the Embassy.
The lawn area is overlooked by the tsukimi (moon-viewing) hillock. Several historical stone objects are located in the garden, including a stone lantern with Paulownia and Phoenix decoration from the Edo period. There are also two garden sculptures, the Sun and the Moon, by Akio Makigawa. These were commissioned at the time of the redevelopment. The porte-cochere of the former residence has been retained as a small gazebo, serving as an entrance to an Australian native garden.
The Australian Native Garden
The Australian Native Garden was an idea waiting to happen. The original location was an area of bare lawn and lacking in plants and seldom used by Embassy residents and staff. Our proposal was to develop the area into an "Australian Native Garden", consisting primarily of Australian Native Plants landscaped to complement a typical Australian setting.
Read more about the Australian Garden.