Tadao Ando’s Hill of Buddha

I’ve yet to visit Japan, but when I do, I’d love to visit Makomanai Takino cemetery in the northern city of Sapporo.

For 15 years, the cemetery was home to a stone Buddha that sat alone in a field, before the owners decided they wanted to do something that would give visitors a more serene appreciation of the statue.

Makomanai Takino BuddhaThe statue before Tadao Ando’s project.

Cue self-taught architect Tadao Ando and his striking idea: hide the statue.

Tadao Ando Hill of Buddha

Tadao Ando Hill of Buddha

Tadao Ando Hill of Buddha

The hill is planted with 150,000 lavenders — green in spring, purple in summer, and white with snow in winter.

Tadao Ando Hill of Buddha

Tadao Ando Hill of Buddha

Tadao Ando Hill of Buddha

When the hall is reached at the end of the 40-metre approach tunnel, visitors look up at the Buddha, whose head is framed by a halo of sky.

Tadao Ando Hill of Buddha

Tadao Ando Hill of Buddha

Stunning.

Makomanai Takino cemetery was established in 1982, and is open all year. It’s about a 30-minute drive from central Sapporo, or you can take a subway from Sapporo Station to Makomanai Station and then catch the #2 or #3 bus. Visitor information here.

Via Spoon & Tamago.

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