The official opening ceremony of Azabudai Hills Campus, the Primary School campus for The British School in Tokyo (BST), was celebrated on 4th November 2023. Her Imperial Highness Princess Akiko of Mikasa and Her Excellency British Ambassador to Japan Julia Longbottom CMG attended the ceremony, together with over 300 students, staff, families, and guests from the international community of BST and local Japanese stakeholders.
Her Imperial Highness Princess Akiko of Mikasa, Her Excellency British Ambassador to Japan Julia Longbottom CMG, Chairman & Chancellor of Gakko Hojin Shibuya Kyoiku Gakuen Tetsuo Tamura OBE, BST Chair of the Board of Trustees Comino Tamura, BST Principal Paul Tough, and BST Head of Primary Eleanor Loran cut the ribbon, while two Secondary students and seven Primary students pulled the rope to split open the Kusudama - a traditional Japanese way to celebrate openings, marking the official opening of this remarkable facility. This unveiled a new chapter for The British School in Tokyo in its history.
Cutting the ribbon and opening Kusudama to mark the official opening of BST Azabudai Hills Campus
Founded in 1989, The British School in Tokyo has continually grown and flourished in the past 34 years, and developed a reputation as one of the leading international schools in Japan. The School is currently providing world-class education to over 1,100 students representing 60+ nationalities in its two campuses within Tokyo, starting with Nursery classes for children aged 3 years old through to Year 13 (aged 18).
BST students performing Taiko Drumming at the opening ceremony
The project of BST Azabudai Hills Campus was commissioned by Toranomon-Azabudai District Urban Redevelopment Association, with Mori Building Company Ltd. and Japan Post Holdings as its main contributors.
Designed by world-famous British architects Thomas Heatherwick Studio, the building spans eight levels, and covers an area of 15,000 square metres. Its brickwork exterior celebrates the famous Japan Post Office building that once stood on the site. At the same time, British Victorian-era style brick appears in the School’s foyer area. The facility hosts outdoor learning and recreational areas, with trees and other natural elements integrated throughout.
Representing the architect’s treehouse concept, the building’s balconies and garden terraces cascade down to offer views of the nearby landscape and Azabudai Hills development. The idea is genuinely that of a ‘landscaped school in the city’.
Internally on each floor, every year group has a shared area, referred to as ‘teaching plazas’, which has enabled the School’s educational philosophy to be articulated clearly with the creation of innovative, flexible and stimulating learning environments for students.
The Campus also holds a variety of facilities, including an indoor swimming pool, two libraries, an Art & Design Studio, a Digital Technology Studio for Science/Technology/Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) learning, a Sports Hall and two Sports Pitches, ensuring that students have access to a range of different areas of subjects which again demonstrates the heart of BST’s broad and balanced curriculum.
Mr Paul Tough, Principal of The British School in Tokyo, said:
‘The opening of BST's new Primary School campus in central Tokyo with such incredible facilities is a momentous occasion. It confirms BST's place as a leading British international school not only in Japan but also in Asia. The new campus will enable BST to support every student to face the world confidently and successfully by providing enviable learning opportunities and state-of-the-art communal facilities. Truly supporting the school's vision to "nurture each student's unique potential and strive to help them create a strong sense of self, built around purpose and passion".’