Kengo Kuma’s Works in Yusuhara Town
Its landscape blanketed in forest, Yusuhara is a small mountain town with lots of architectural cachet.
Tucked away in remote Kochi Prefecture on Shikoku Island, it’s home to multiple architectural masterpieces designed by the renowned architect Kengo Kuma. He was also behind the Japan National Stadium, which was built for the 2020 Olympics.
Kuma took inspiration from Yusuhara’s natural surroundings and history as a logging town, incorporating cedar, thatch, and traditional carpentry techniques into his designs. While the buildings are unmistakably modern, they also have a distinctly Japanese feel, fitting naturally into the mountainous landscapes and pedestrian-friendly streets.
Kuma’s connection with Yusuhara began in the 1980s, when the then up-and-coming architect helped to preserve its pre-war Yusuhara-za theater. The collaboration never ceased, as he went on to design one building after another for the town over the next three decades.
Yusuhara now boasts six Kuma creations: the Town Office, Machi-no-Eki Yusuhara (Community Market and Hotel), Kumo-no-Ue-no Gallery, Kumo-no-Ue-no Hotel, Yusuhara Town Integrated Welfare Facility, and Kumo-no-Ue Library.
Walking around Yusuhara, visitors will get to enjoy these beautiful architectural wonders, a perfect complement to the town’s lush forested backdrop.