Ganbou Rock is a 78-meter-high rock located near the town of Engaru in Noboribetsu county, Hokkaido and is designated as one of Hokkaido’s 100 Natural Spots.
There is an observation deck at the top of the rock, which is a 15-minute walk up.
This rock is the symbol of Engaru and is popularly known as ‘the rock that is the first place to receive the morning sun in this town’ or ‘the rock that is settled warmly in the evening sun’.
The name ‘Ganbou’ is derived from the Ainu word ‘Ingarushi’ (which means ‘the place with a fine view’). It is also known as an historic battlefield of the Ainu people. The view from the observation deck gives a marvelous 360-degree panoramic view.
Sun’s Hill Engaru Park, much loved by the town people, marks the starting point of the hike to the top.
Born 1959 in Yamagata City, Yamagata Pref., Japan. Mr Okuyama worked for auto manufacturers in various strategic roles including as chief designers for GM (USA) and Porsche (Germany), then as creative director at Pininfarina S.p.A.(Italia), later he became independent. He is well known worldwide as a designer for Maserati Quatrroporte, Enzo Ferrari and Ferrari Scaglietti. He also worked on industrial design projects in a wide range of fields including public transportation with trains and planes, furniture, product design, interior design, spatial design and urban planning. He created and marketed the “KEN OKUYAMA” brand for eyewear. In 2006, he established the “Yamagata Koubou” furniture brand. He is currently an honorary professor for the Industrial Design program at the Art Center College of Design (USA) and at the Kanazawa College of Art (Japan). He is also vice chair of the jury for the Good Design Award and runs the Yamagata Carrozzeria Project. He lives in Italy.
In 2005, at a department-store event sponsored by Dunhill, an established English brand, urushi (Japanese lacquer) was adopted as the wall material.
Urushi lacquer gives a temporary space a very luxurious finish, but the Dunhill creative team wanted to create a mysterious space like a black hole; the smooth and elegant appearance, which only urushi can express, drew the attention of passers-by. This was the most important reason why they decided to use urushi.
The surface of the urushi wall is also decorated with lines of silver foil. The contrast between ebony and silver produces a modern touch.
Ubushima produced the urushi area of the event space. It took them about half a year considering the project from many angles, to inspect and solve the task of using urushi in a public space. This event makes us understand and learn about some of the special qualities of urushi and take new steps with the material.
■Dunhill event space
*acrylic black lacquer
*designed by Kenichi Otani
■produced by Ubushina, Yudai Tachikawa
This farmhouse is presumed to have been built in the late 17th century or even earlier. Very old architectural style is used for this house. The three sides of the housed except the front are huge walls with a thickness of more than 20 cm. The lath used on top of rafters is made of round bamboo and other miscellaneous wood. The house has two main transverse beams, which are supported by pillars. Horizontal beams are used at two points to support the main transverse beams instead of the pillars when removed to and reconstructed at the present place. All the other pillars stand in the original forms. The pillars are made of square timbers of the same size, which were scarped with chona (a Japanese hand ax) and finished with a planer. The inner room called “dei” has an alcove, which was very rare in those days. As is seen in old-fashioned houses, the heavy lintels are used instead of tie beams to fit around pillars. To get less air circulation for the sake of warmth, doma (the earth floor space) and the adjacent room are partitioned with a wood door with a lattice window and the store room has a single sliding door.
Ota Residence located in Tomo, Tomo-cho, Fukuyama City, Hiroshima Pref. was a residence of the Nakamura family, who brewed and sold the town’s regional product, Homeishu (Japanese sweet herbal liquors), from the middle of the 17th century to the early 19th century. The main building stands in the southeastern corner of a vast site surrounded by alleys, along which other eight buildings including storehouses used for brewing liquors stand side by side. The white-walled storehouses look very impressive. These buildings were all built in the late Edo period (from the late 18th century to the early 19th century). The buildings as well as their interior are preserved well enough to show the atmosphere of the Edo period sake brewing store. These buildings form an important part of the historical neighborhood of Tomonoura. The residence was handed over to the Ota family in the Meiji period.
Walking past the red pine grove, you will marvel at the exquisite view of the Rikuchu Ria Coast. Unosu Dangai, or Seagull Nesting Cliff, where 5 columns of 200-meter high and 4-km long precipices layer with one another, is a raised beach that is typical to the Rikuchu Kaigan Coast. Below you, you can see the nests of Japanese cormorants and seahawks on the cliff face. From the observatory, you can command a panoramic view of the whole cliff like a huge Japanese folding screen. The sea that changes colors depending the time of the day is especially beautiful. You can follow a promenade along the coast to Shimanokoshi.
Tokiwa Ohashi Bridge crosses over the Nakagawa River in Kamo-gun, Shizuoka Pref. The railings with a length of 30 m are decorated with Namako-kabe (sea slug walls). At the end of the railings are the pictures of swallows and cherry trees, which are drawn with plaster. Namako-kabe is made of flat tiles with white plaster used to seal the joints. The plaster is so thickly applied that the wall is very strong against wind, rain and fire. The rounded lines of the plaster look like sea slugs, so it supplies the name. This technique has been used in a lot of buildings in this area since the ancient times. The construction of the bridge was completed in 1985. It was designed by Osamu Ishiyama, who is known for designing Chohachi Museum of plaster art in Izu Peninsula. In the vicinity of the bridge are classic streets, along which stand a lot of buildings with Namako-kabe walls including Nakase Residence, the preserved shop and residence of a dealer in kimono fabrics in the Meiji period.
Kura and dozo are storehouses that are built according to traditional Japanese architectural styles, with outer walls hardened by mud and plaster.
Buildings such as kura and dozo were predominantly built for fire and theft prevention, but later on began to be built as a sign of wealth. Formerly used to resist fires during the Edo period, the kura or dozo are known to be strong enough to withstand and retard any fire, as already proved during the American carpet-bombings of World War II.
The walls of kura and dozo have characteristic bumps that have led to them being dubbed 'sea-cucumber walls'. Currently, these kinds of buildings take advantage of their distinct look and are used as restaurants or shops.
Plasterers who complete the walls with mud and plaster work hand-in-hand on traditional architecture projects. Plasterers have always been unbelievably skilled workers who took wall-making to artistic levels.