Experience the works of the master Tadao Ando, at the forefront of modern Japanese architecture

A spectacular church that combines sanctity with the wonders of nature (Yufutsu, Hokkaido)

View of the Chapel on the Water designed by Tadao Ando (1988)
View of the Chapel on the Water designed by Tadao Ando (1988)

Surrounded by the majesty of nature, the Chapel on the Water in Tomamu, Hokkaido is one of a “trilogy” of churches designed by Tadao Ando. Made from concrete, glass and wood, the space inside the church opens out onto water surface reflecting blue skies, with a large cross seemingly floating in the middle. The church is open to the public.

Hoshino Resorts Tomamu Chapel on the Water

Address: Naka-Tomamu,Shimukappu, Yufutsu, Hokkaido

Getting there: Free bus from JR Tomamu Station

Hidden depths – The Buddhist space where the ordinary meets the extraordinary (Sapporo, Hokkaido)

The Atama Daibutsu (the Buddha’s Head) at Takino Cemetery (2015)
The Atama Daibutsu (the Buddha’s Head) at Takino Cemetery (2015)
Full view of the Atama Daibutsu (the Buddha’s Head) at Takino Cemetery (2015)
Full view of the Atama Daibutsu (the Buddha’s Head) at Takino Cemetery (2015)

As part of improvements to this cemetery, Ando took an existing great Buddha statue and surrounded it with a lavender-covered hill, so that just the head is visible. Based on the concept of showcasing hidden depths, the space creates a boundary between the ordinary and the extraordinary, providing a genuinely moving experience when you come face to face with the great Buddha. The lavender is best viewed in July.

Takino Cemetery Hill of the Buddha

Address: 2 Takino, Minami-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido

Getting there: From Makomanai subway station, take Sapporo Chuo Bus 102 to Takino Reien. The cemetery is directly in front of the bus stop.

A Buddhist temple based on the concept of entering Nirvana (Awaji, Hyogo prefecture)

Aerial image of Honpukuji Temple (1991)
Aerial image of Honpukuji Temple (1991)
Inside the Water Temple at Honpukuji Temple on Awaji Island (1991)
Inside the Water Temple at Honpukuji Temple on Awaji Island (1991)

Awaji Island in Hyogo prefecture is home to the Water Temple at Honpukuji Temple. Considered a classic example of Buddhist architecture, the building itself is a large cylinder, topped with lotus plants growing in a pool. The main entrance leads through a vermillion lacquered gallery to the main hall. The temple is particularly beautiful when the water lilies (May-September) or sacred lotus (June-July) are in bloom.

Honpukuji Water Temple

Address: 1310 Ura, Awaji, Hyogo prefecture

Getting there: Approximately 10 minutes on foot from Tateishikawa bus stop on the Awaji Kotsu Express Line

Other renowned work

Benesse House
Benesse Art Site Naoshima(Naoshima, Kagawa prefecture 1991/1995)
Chichu Art Museum
Chichu Art Museum(Naoshima, Kagawa prefecture 2004)

Buildings designed by Tadao Ando are scattered throughout Japan, and many are accessible to the public. Next time you visit Japan why not try adding one to your itinerary?