Doors Open Toronto 2024: Timeless Japan

The Japan Foundation, Toronto is back for the city’s annual Doors Open event! We will be opening our doors on May 25 and May 26, along with more than 100 other buildings and sites across Toronto. This year’s Doors Open Toronto the theme is “Hidden Histories,” and we are pleased present our all-ages programming under the banner of Timeless Japan for everyone to enjoy.

We will be open from 10:30 AM – 4:30 PM on both days. Drop-ins are more than welcome!

Join us for a special weekend filled with animated films, Japanese ceramics, library games, and fun for the whole family!

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Doors Open Toronto 2024 Activities
Saturday, May 25 & Sunday, May 26:

Extended Gallery Hours

Our current ongoing exhibition is the thought-provoking From Meiji to Edo: Transformation of Japanese Ceramics and will be open for public viewing with extended hours on both days.

This is a special presentation of the ceramics collection from the Royal Ontario Museum, which reveals how Western modernization and the demand for exports influenced Japanese ceramics during the transitional era from the late Edo period to the Meiji period.

Pre-registrations are open. Pre-registered guests will have priority entry to our exhibition if we are at full capacity. Pre-registrations are not mandatory for our Doors Open activities.

Extended Library Hours

Our library will also be open with extended hours on both days.

Visitors are welcome to browse our collection of 20,000+ Japan-related books, manga, and audio-visual materials, covering a wide range of topics including history and heritage. If you’re new to our library, we can help you sign up for a library card. We have also organized a few fun activities for you enjoy! More details below.

Animated Short Film Program

Soak in a lineup of impressive animated short films in our event hall, created by current and former animation students of the Tokyo University of the Arts.

Curated by acclaimed animation filmmaker and educator YAMAMURA Koji, these animated films were chosen with the themes of history, memory, and nostalgia (to reflect this year’s Doors Open theme, “Hidden Histories”).

Read more about our selection of short films here.

Let’s Write Japanese! – Kanji Character Workshop

Participants are invited to learn how to write their names or favourite Japanese phrases in Japanese kanji characters using brush pens while uncovering hidden stories behind each character.

This workshop is also available on a drop-in basis throughout both days and are open to everyone.

Origami Crafting Workshop

To align with Children’s Day in May, we will host origami workshops in our library to teach our guests how to fold a “kabuto” (samurai helmet) and a “koinobori” (carp streamer).

Workshops are available on a drop-in basis throughout both days and are open to everyone.

Library Display: Hidden History of JFT

Enjoy our library display highlighting the history of the JFT Library and how our collection of books and materials has grown over the years. This display will also feature books and items that have been at our library since Day One!

You can also take a walk down memory lane to see past events held at the Japan Foundation, Toronto in our 30+ year history.

Library Display: Hidden History of Japan

Our second library display will feature books and items that focus on Japanese traditions and history. This includes a historical manga section that covers different periods of Japanese history.

JFT Staff Mixtape – Vol. 2: Nostalgia

The JFT staff is back with a new mixtape of our favourite Japanese music. With the theme of “hidden histories”, we have curated a diverse selection of cherished nostalgic songs. This playlist will be played throughout both days in our library.

Read our staff testimonials for volume 2 and listen to the mixtape here.

QR codes will be available on-site for you to scan so that you can listen to the playlist after your visit.

Listen to our 2023 playlist here.

Stage Beyond Borders Program

Enjoy our selection of recorded stage performances and short documentaries from the “Stage Beyond Borders” catalogue, which will play in our seminar room.

Started in 2021 and still ongoing, the Stage Beyond Borders project was initiated by our Japan Foundation Headquarters in Tokyo to present a series of traditional and folk performance arts videos online, worldwide, for free, and with subtitles of various languages.

About the Building


Year: 1973
Style: Commercial/Industrial
Original Architect: Crang & Boake

Building Description

Located in the heart of the city, Japan Foundation Toronto (JFT) is on the third floor of the 35-storey Hudson Bay Centre, which comprises a 535,000 square feet office tower, the Bay department store, Marriott Hotel, condominiums and an extensive retail concourse with a variety of shops and services. The tower stands at 135 metres in height and is at the northeast corner of Yonge and Bloor Streets. The International Style office skyscraper was designed by architects Crang & Boake in 1973. The Japan Foundation, Toronto established its office and cultural centre in the Colonnade in 1995 and was designed by international and Canadian design icon Yabu Pushelberg. In 2015, the office moved to the current location and was designed by the global firm Interior Architects. The inspiration of the modern interior can be traced to design elements of traditional Japanese interiors.

Join us after our Doors Open Toronto activites on Saturday, May 25, for a special screening of Hotel Hibiscus:


Saturday, May 25, 6:30PM (ET)

Doors open 6:00PM | Free Admission

The unusual and international Nakasone family owns the small and cozy, if somewhat run-down, Hotel Hibiscus with only one room for rent. One summer, after her older sister and brother have left to begin new lives, little Mieko embarks on a magical journey to her cultural roots.

Hotel Hibiscus director NAKAE Yuji will be in attendance for a Q&A conversation following the screening.

As part of our ongoing Keep Dancin’, Okinawa! film series, in celebration of Okinawan stories, culture, and history.