Awaji Island is an interesting place in Japan; it’s a small island that sits between Honshu and Shikoku and is more famous than an island that small really should be. People around Japan know about Awaji’s famous naruto whirlpools (which I assume are caused by chakra or something), and it was also the epicenter to the devastating 1995 earthquake.
But beyond its famous natural phenomena, humans have created a beautiful world on Awaji Island. The architecture on this small island is more “world-class” than “small island.”
Awaji can thank architect Tadao Ando for all of the beautiful, interesting architecture on the island. Ando is one of Japan’s most “Japanese” architects, and has won countless awards for his work. But it seems interesting to me that he’s focused so much on Awaji.
Dream Stage (夢舞台)
The Dream Stage is sprawling, multi-use complex designed by Ando. While it’s mainly billed as a conference center, it’s a lot more exciting than that. Dream Stage has lots of different sections, each of which boasts its own architectural beauty.
Miracle Planet Museum of Plants (奇跡の星の植物館)
The Miracle Planet Museum of Plants (besides being a ridiculous name) is, essentially, a giant greenhouse with five different sections, each showcasing a different climate or style.
Hundred Step Garden (百段苑)
One of the most iconic parts of Dream Stage is the Hundred Step Garden, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. The garden is divided up into little square plots of land, which each have different flora growing in them.
Water Temple (本福寺)
Years before Ando designed the Dream Stage, he drew up plans for the so-called Water Temple. While most people think of that hellish level in Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time when they hear the words “water temple,” the Water Temple Ando built is a much less stressful place.
Built for the Shingon Buddhist sect, one of the oldest and most secretive sects of Buddhism in Japan, the Water Temple is an extremely clean, modern, and minimalist building on the outside, mostly comprising smooth concrete and water; but the bright red woodwork on the inside exudes traditionalism.
(Hat tip to Jasmine from Zooming Japan)