Exploring Architecture in Fukuoka2018.03.06
Fukuoka has many buildings designed by both Japanese and international architects. They really help to bring history alive in the present.
【World Architecture Avenue】
The Asia Pacific Exhibition (“Yokatopia”) held in 1989 in Momochi ward, where these modern buildings line the area starting with Fukuoka Tower. The buildings here were designed by seven architects representing seven countries, and consist of a housing complex around a central business district. The eclectic buildings fit harmoniously together, making for a stylish district.
Street of World Architects
【Ohori Park Noh Theater】
Ohori Noh Theater is a stage specifically for traditional Japanese Noh theater, as well as Kyōgen, which is a more lightearted comedic theater. Completed in 1986, it has an area of 2500 square meters, seats 470 people, and is one of Japan’s leading Noh theaters.
The theater has free performances throughout the year, so you can have the perfect chance to enjoy this classical art for yourself!
Noh Theater of Ohori Koen
This complex serves as the Fukuoka Symphony Hall, and is a hub of international cultural exchange.
Its theme is cleansing of the spirit through co-existence with nature.
The building resembles a mountain, and it is covered on all sides with lush seasonal greenery, making it an oasis of tranquility in the middle of the metropolis for all who visit.
The structure was designed by Emilio Ambasz, and the greenery was arranged by Michio Tase.
On a man-made island in the middle of Hakata Bay, on the Central Park Island City is the green study experience facility “Gurin-Gurin.”
The overall theme of this 1000 square meter island is flowers and greenery, and is combined with three spaces that each have their own respective themes.
The north block is a wide free space surrounded by tangling greenery; the central block is a space displaying the fauna of the subtropics as its focal point; and the south block functions as a space for workshops and hands-on horticultural activities.
Butterflies called “Ogomadara” are raised in the greenhouse.
The artificial plateau “Umetatechi” was designed by the architect Toyo Itō.
A seamless plane of concrete rises up a sloping curve. In order to pull off this complicated structure, a ton of optimization techniques, 3-dimensional computer-aided modelling, structural analyses, and countless blueprints were created in its design.
Many layers of vegetation over the top of the structure change according to the season.
【Kashii -gu Shrine】
The incomparably complex form of the Kashii-gu main shrine, with its main roof constructed in an impressive architectural style called “Kashiidzukuri,” makes this site a nationally designated cultural asset.
Because the main shrine is enclosed by a fence, I wasn’t able to go inside, however, it is worth having a look at the shrine from the outside. There is said to be a “fountain of youth” on the grounds that has survived for 300 years!
I couldn’t help but gaze up at the great green tree on the grounds of Kashii-gu. At around 1800 years old, its imposing presence seems able to tell you the long history of this shrine.
Hakozaki-gu is counted among the three great Hachimanguu, or shrines to the God of War. Of four nationally designated cultural assets, two of these are located in Fukuoka.
This cultural property has a history dating back to the tenth century when it was established. The grandest things to see within the grounds of the shrine are the imposing main shrine and worship hall, as well as the two-story gate called the “Rōmon.”
At Hakozakigu, there are two shrine gates called the First (ichinotorii) and Second Torii (Ninotorii).
And on the inside, the nationally designated cultural property “Ichinotorii Gate” is made of large stones piled on one another. It is extremely rare for the top and bottom stones to be the same length, and even more so for the pillars to increase in thickness over the whole length of the structure. It is miraculous that such a delicate balance can be maintained.
While walking home after visiting the shrine, I got to look at the seasonal flowers in bloom in the Japanese garden “Hanateien.” These sights really calmed my mind.
So much history is preserved in these architectural gems. Being able to feel and experience everything from the history of Hakata to the cutting edge designs of today makes Fukuoka a wonderful spot for an architectural tour.