Kengo Kuma Architecture in Yusuhara

隈研吾設計建造物群(Kuma Kengo Sekkei Kenzo-butsu Gun)
Beautifully organic buildings designed by architect Kengo Kuma in a little town above the clouds
The mountain town of Yusuhara is dotted with architectural wonders designed by famous architect Kengo Kuma, who created the main stadium for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Yusuhara was once a logging town and is still over 90% forested land. Kuma was inspired by the town’s history and natural surroundings, and his buildings reflect this sense of place by incorporating elements like Japanese cedar, thatch and traditional carpentry techniques. Despite being strikingly modern, the buildings still retain a Japanese feel, and fit in well with the mountain views and pedestrian-friendly streets.

As of February 2021, there are six Kengo Kuma-designed buildings in Yusuhara.
Kumo-no-Ue-no Hotel: the hotel was inspired by Yusuhara's nickname, “the town above the clouds.” The oblong roof represents a cloud and the pond below is meant to resemble a rice field, with the water reflecting the skies. Honey-colored lengths of Japanese cedar frame massive windows, transforming them into ever-changing natural paintings of the surrounding mountains.
(The Kumo-no-Ue-no Hotel will be closed for renovations from the end of September 2021 until the spring of 2024.)
Kumo-no-Ue-no Gallery (Wooden Bridge-Shaped Art Gallery):this art gallery/bridge is located right next to Kumo-no-Ue-no Hotel. The imposing structure was created with local cedar, and brings to mind the eaves of Buddhist temples, which almost seems to float on a thin supporting beam.
Kumo-no-Ue-no Library (Yusuhara Town Library): this “library above the clouds” was completed in 2018. Sure to enchant any bibliophile, the airy structure building is open to visitors. Inside, the books are cocooned within glowing polished cedar surfaces, while the ceiling looks like an inverted forest, with crisscrossing beams that create an interplay of light and shadow.
Yusuhara Town Office:built in 2006 to house local municipal government offices and services, the playful exterior opens up into a lofty hall once you step inside. Visitors will see a stylized tearoom on the first floor, installed to create a sense of welcome and history in this important community space.
Machi-no-Eki Yusuhara (Community Market and Hotel): right in the center of town, this community market and hotel is the only structure that also incorporates thatch, although Kuma plays with expectations by using this traditional material to cover the outer wall rather than the roof. The cozy rooms within also feature the golden cedar used in other buildings.
YURURI Yusuhara (Yusuhara Town Integrated Welfare Facility): tucked behind the Kumo-no-Ue-no Library, this welfare and care facility is not usually open to casual visitors, but you can still admire the Japanese cedar boards on the exterior.
Culture & Art
Address 高知県高岡郡梼原町 (Yusuhara Town, Takaoka Gun, Kochi Prefecture, Japan)
DirectionsAbout 1 hr 15 min drive from Susaki-chuo IC on Kochi Expressway to Yusuhara Town Office
Public Transport Access Details PDF
Website Website
Map Code392 801 555*85

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