Day 8 (2/4).
The fun part of being an architect is that one could never predict what the next project would be until the client knocks on the door. For Tadao Ando, while he completed his iconic Chapel on the Water in the late 1980s, he might never imagine that over two decades later he would get a chance to realize a Buddhist shrine that houses a 13.5m statue of Buddha in Hokkaido. Situated in Makomanai Takino Cemetery (真駒内滝野霊園), Ando’s take this time on creating a spiritual encounter with the Buddha image is consisted of an artificial mount planted with 150000 lavender plants and a large oculus over the Buddha’s head. From parking lot entry to the statue, the diversity of spatial experience allow visitors to cleanse their heart before reaching the Buddha, while the concrete finishes of the architecture offer a neutral environment for lights, shadows and rain to define a spiritual atmosphere for the shrine.
Before reaching Ando’s Buddha, we had a strange encounter with a row of what looked like to be replicas of the Moai statues in Easter island.
The forecourt is dominated by a water feature where visitors must walk around in order to enter the shrine.
it was windy and rainy and we quickly walked around the water feature.
Because of the wind and rain, we only had a quick look at the fine details of the water feature design.
An cool looking passageway then led us directly into the shrine.
At last, we arrived at the 13.5m Buddha statue.
We decided to walk around the circular shrine to check out all sides of the Buddha, as well as the smaller shrines at the circumference.
The statue is slightly higher than the egg like structure, and the head of the Buddha actually sticks out.
The surrounding wall panels are tilted inwards, allowing visitors to stay dry when walking around the statue even in the rain.
No matter at what angle, the Buddha and the concrete structure look in perfect harmony. The rippled concrete structure also makes the shrine to appear in a solemn and contemporary ambience.
Everything is in gradients of grey, except the offering flowers.
Most people would walk to the front of the statue to pay their respect, say their prayers and leave some coins for offerings.
Looking back out towards the entrance, the passageway appeared like a tunnel out of a science fiction movie.
Similar to the concrete structure in the shrine, the ceiling structure of the passageway also has a series of ripped vaults. Above the passageway is the mount planted with 150000 lavender plants.
In August, the Hill of the Buddha will be filled with the fragrance of lavender.
Before we left, we checked out a small display adjacent to the forecourt of water feature of Ando’s drawings, sketches and photos of the construction. For architecture lovers, the detour to the Hill of Buddha is well worth the time and effort.
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HOKKAIDO ROAD TRIP, Hokkaido (北海道)
Day 2 – Utoro
Day 2.1 SHIRETOKO FIVE LAKES (知床五湖)
Day 2.2 UTORO FISHERMAN’S WIVES CO-OPERATIVE DINER (ウトロ漁協婦人部食堂)
Day 2.3 FUREPE FALLS (フレペの滝)
Day 6 – On the road from Lake Akan to Furano
Day 6.1 FISHERMEN BELOW MISTY OAKAN (雄阿寒岳), Lake Akan (阿寒湖)
Day 6.2 TREATS OF OBIHIRO (帯広), Tokachi (十勝)
Day 6.3 ARRIVING IN FURANO (富良野)
Day 7 Furano & Biei
Day 7.1 LAVENDER BUDS, Nakafurano (中富良野)
Day 7.2 FARM TOMITA (ファーム富田), Nakafurano (中富良野)
Day 7.3 BI.BLE, Biei (美瑛)
Day 7.4 PATCHWORK ROAD & PANORAMA ROAD, Biei (美瑛)
Day 7.5 NINGLE TERRACE (ニングルテラス)
Day 8 – from Furano to Otaru
Day 8.1 CHURCH ON THE WATER (水の教会), Hoshino Resorts Tomamu (星野リゾート トマム)
Day 8.2 HILL OF THE BUDDHA (頭大仏), Makomanai Takino Cemetery (真駒内滝野霊園)
Day 8.3 SEAFOOD, CANAL, & HISTORY, Otaru (小樽)
Day 8.4 RAINY NIGHT IN OTARU, Otaru (小樽)
Day 10 – Sapporo
10.1 OKKAIDO SHRINE (北海道神宮 )
10.2 MORIHICO COFFEE (森彦珈琲本店)
10.3 KITAKARO SAPPORO HONKAN (北菓楼札幌本館)
10.4 SATURDAYS CHOCOLATE
10.5 GOTSUBO OYSTER BAR(五坪)
10.6 MOUNT MOIWA (藻岩山) & RAMEN HARUKA (ラーメン悠)
Day 11 – Sapporo
11.1 FORMER HOKKAIDO GOVERNMENT OFFICE (北海道庁旧本庁舎)
11.2 RED STAR & GENGKIS KHAN, Sapporo Beer Museum (サッポロビール株式会社)