The 4th Sunflower Village Basic Plan Formulation Committee Meeting with Kengo Kuma and other townspeople

Monday, January 20, 2020

On Tuesday, October 22, 2019, the 4th meeting of the Himawari no Sato Basic Plan Development Committee was held in the main hall of the Community Center. A lively discussion was held with Kengo Kuma and other committee members, as well as bystanders.

Table of Contents


overall pattern
Audience participation.

General Moderator: Hiroyuki Yoshida, Chief, Commerce, Industry, Sunflower Tourism and Forestry Section, Industry Division, Hokuryu Town Hall

Hiroyuki Yoshida, Tourism and Forestry Section, Section Chief

We would like to think about how we can improve the name recognition of Hokuryu Town, have people come to Hokuryu Town throughout the year, and furthermore, how we can market and expand the town, and in order to do that, we would like to think about how we can make the entire town, including Sunflower Village, better known.

We are looking forward to the future of Hokuryu Town and hope to create an attractive and attractive Hokuryu Town that will excite everyone, both those inside and those who come from outside," said Section Chief Yoshida.

Facilitator: Terutaka Suzuki, Specially Appointed Professor, Rissho University

Kengo Kuma and Terutaka Suzuki

Architect Kengo Kuma: The direction of Himawari no Sato

Mr. Kengo Kuma

There are so many wonderful elements in Sunflower Village." Overall, we are looking to connect those elements. The way we connect them will create a synergistic effect. Our aim is to make it many times better and more attractive to many people without spending so much money.

Overall layout plan

1. new observatory "Big Tree Observatory": symbolic tree in the sunflower field

As a symbolic tree of the sunflower field, we tried to design the observatory to be a new monument, making it higher and more attractive.

The observatory is designed to be barrier-free and has an elevator. It is 9 meters high and can be reached by stairs. The top terrace is 6m x 7m in size, allowing plenty of room for visitors even during the busy season. The elevator is see-through so that visitors can enjoy the changing scenery of Sunflower Village as they ascend.

Although the main structure is steel, we want to make good use of wood to create a natural design that blends in with its surroundings. We are designing a covered viewing space with a 360° view, with the view changing on each terrace at different heights.

Large tree lookout

Floor Plan / Elevation Plan

Spacious view space
Barrier-free with elevator installed
We came up with the idea of a covered view space with varying heights and 360 degree views. The rooftop is open.

Large Tree Lookout "Plan and Elevation"

Large tree observation deck, reference image

1. COEDA HOUSE Cafe in Atami City, Shizuoka Prefecture

We will randomly combine 8cm square sticks of hiba wood to come up with a single giant tree-like structure.

2. "WOOD PILE" meditation facility in Munich, Germany

A contemplative architecture built in the woods near Ludwig II's Neuschwanstein Castle. The structure is made of glass with a view of the trees.

静岡県熱海市のカフェ「COEDA HOUSE」・ドイツ・ミュンヘン瞑想施設「WOOD PILE」
COEDA HOUSE, a cafe in Atami, Shizuoka Prefecture, and WOOD PILE, a meditation facility in Munich, Germany

2. new tourist center

As a new tourist center, we are considering a facility where rental bicycles, maze reception, etc. can be provided.

The design incorporates a frame-like concept: an L-shaped building is erected, and from the space in the center of the building, the Sunflower Village is symbolically visible. The village of sunflowers is framed like a picture and looks effective.

Tourist Center Majored in Sunflowers

U-shaped layout intersecting with sunflower fields: an attractive place for a special experience in Hokuryu Town.

As you enter from the parking lot, you will be drawn towards the "Sunflower Gate" and see the Sunflower Village. The "Sunflower Gate" is designed to look like a picture frame with the sunflower field framed by a picture frame effect, making it even more beautiful to appreciate.

Heading to the right, there is an observation deck, and further on, it leads to the "Nonno Forest".

The placement of a large eating and drinking area in front of the retail area is the same as the current tourist center. However, the area in front of the "sunflower field" will be different from the previous one, and visitors will be able to enjoy eating and drinking while looking at the sunflower field and chatting (drawing/green: store area, yellow: eating and drinking area, pink: plaza area).

Only in Hokuryu Town will you be able to have a special and fascinating experience in Hokuryu Town.

Sunflower veranda

This is an outdoor space with only a roof and a deck underneath. Tables will be placed outside for eating and drinking areas.

Layout and floor plan" of the tourist center, which will be mingled with the sunflowers.

3. new tourist information center

Renovation of the current tourism center as a facility specializing in a sports center and tourist information center. The design is to continue the current function as a winter sports center and renovate it as a facility that also has the function of a tourist information center.

The corner facing the parking lot will be renovated into a tourist information center and cooperative fee reception, and the exterior wall of that area will be made of glass to create a highly visible tourist center.

The central arena portion will be a year-round sports facility. Sports will be available even during the summer sunflower season. The current building has leaks and will need to be renovated with waterproofing for leaks.

Nonno Forest where relaxation is born.

A path connecting to the observatory will be developed, and street furniture for resting in the forest and lawn in the south direction will be widened to create attractions other than sunflowers.

We will maintain the NONNO forest. A walking trail will be developed to connect with the sunflower field. We are thinking of eliminating the current concrete walkway, expanding the sunflower field, and laying grass in the NONNO forest, so that the lawn will overlook the sunflower field in the landscape.

We will consider various uses (multi-use) of the south lawn area.

street furniture

Outdoor-specification furniture and lawns will be maintained as street furniture. An example of street furniture is the French pavilion "KOMOREBI (Chateau La Coste, France)". This organic, tree-like pavilion is located on a hilltop overlooking Mount Sainte-Victoire in the south of France, a favorite of Cézanne.

The Italian Papilion "CODAMA (Arte Serra, Italy)" is a 4-meter-high spherical pavilion made of 58-mm-thick solid larch wood combined with no hardware or glue in the forest of Arte Serra, a sacred place for environmental art in Italy. If such a symbolic pavilion is installed, people will be able to gather and enjoy it.

Nonno Forest and Street Furniture where relaxation is born.

5. trailer house

The café will be moved to coincide with the sunflowers' blooming season to enhance circulation. By connecting the entire area, the design is intended to multiply the value of the roundscape.

A mobile storefront that is in harmony with the observatory and tourist center in terms of design. We are thinking of installing a trailer house on the hillside with a shelter (tent) that provides shade on hot days and rest in case of rain.

Trailer House Cafe

exchange of opinions

This was followed by a discussion with town residents on various viewpoints.

Direct sunlight on the store side
Eaves, Glass, etc.
About the Observation Deck Elevator
Facilities that can be used year-round
New tourism resources
About the observatory that will be the symbol of the wooden structure
Sunflower Gate" with picture frame effect
Installation of restrooms
About the Dream of Sunflower Village Concept
I am impressed with the exciting plan!
Backyards and loading aisles of stores

Active exchange of opinions
Discussion pattern

Closing remarks by Kengo Kuma

closing remarks

These are just images, and we will continue to work on the budget and various other issues as we move forward. We will continue to work on what is best for Hokuryu Town," said Mr. Kengo Kuma, who then left the meeting due to flight time.

Masayuki Tanigaki, Chairman of the Board, Marche Corporation

Talk about the "Omusubi Contest."

Masayuki Tanigaki, Chairman of the Board, Marche Corporation

The landscapes of Hokuryu-cho are wonderful, but I think the sunflower rice of Hokuryu-cho is also of great value. On August 25, we held a "Omusubi Contest" at Sunflower Park Hokuryu Hot Springs.

The winning entry in the omusubi contest was test-marketed at 20 stores in the Kansai region over a two-month period starting in September. The two products, "Cheese Bacon Omusubi" and "Okonomiyaki Style Yaki Omusubi," together sold 2,000 servings. The staff was surprised at the considerable popularity of the products.

Many customers have told me that they love these omusubi because they are so delicious, and they have proven to be a sure-fire seller. It is my sincere wish that this omusubi recipe will spread more and more in the Kita Sorachi (Sorachi) area, centering on Hokuryu-cho.

student support group

I am a lecturer in the Department of Business Management at Osaka Prefecture University. For the final exam of that class, I assigned "Business Ideas for Sunflower Rice and Tourism in Hokuryu Town".

We think it would be interesting to organize some of the 80 students enrolled there as a student support group, such as having them volunteer in Hokuryu Town or come up with ideas for green tourism agricultural experience tours.

Artistic sunflower representation

Artistic sunflower representation

I found "Withered Sunflowers" as a work of art at the National Museum of Art, Osaka. I used to think sunflowers were valuable only when they were in bloom, but when I saw "Withered Sunflowers," I felt "life and death" and thought this is one of life. The fact that withered sunflowers also contain a message makes me realize that sunflowers can be expressed in an artistic form.

Naoya Ishikawa, Head of Tokyo Office, JAZY Tax Corporation

New Business Models in Hokuryu Town

Naoya Ishikawa, Tokyo Office Manager, JAZY Tax Corporation
business model

Proposed a company for local residents, tourists, and elementary and junior high school students to experience various things such as agriculture and workshops.

As a measure for year-round use of the Tourism Center, we will increase the number of visitors by holding a marché periodically and offering various experience plans (agricultural experience, sunflower experience, buckwheat noodle making experience, workshops, etc.) to the people who gather at the center.

Agricultural experience case studies, Hokkaido Agricultural Stay Symposium materials
About the Example of a Business Start-up Plan

Yuji Sasaki, Planning Section, Planning and Coordination Department, Building Research Division, Hokkaido National Research Institute

Results of the Himawari Festival Survey

Yuji Sasaki, Planning Section, Planning and Coordination Department, Building Research Division, Hokkaido National Research Organization

A survey of visitors to the Himawari Festival was conducted and about 1,500 questionnaires were analyzed.

Questionnaire results

Many households with children and young adults are repeat customers, 40% of whom are repeat customers.
Many visitors come by car from Sapporo and stay an average of 1.7 hours.
Many people came to the festival after learning about it by word of mouth.
High evaluation and satisfaction with meals and souvenirs
Intention to participate in the next Sunflower Festival and evaluation of the Sunflower Festival were generally high.

As an issue

The number of visitors who ate during their 2-hour stay was about 41%. The average rating of food was 4.6 points.
The average satisfaction score for souvenirs was 4.6, with 14% of respondents having purchased souvenirs. Regarding what they would like to have as a souvenir, sunflower-related food items were the most common.
The image of Hokuryu-cho is strong for "sunflowers" and weak for "rice. It is necessary to promote Hokuryu-machi rice in the future. I think it will be necessary to devise a way to sell rice in 2-pack packages that are easy to take home as souvenirs, etc.

As a "community development perspective" that needs to be considered in the future

Creating "new value" for Hokuryu Town by attracting immigrants and entrepreneurs
We are looking for people who share and support the values and community development of Hokuryu Town.
We need a new perspective on community development that other municipalities are not doing.

Opinion of Makoto Umehara, Designer

Mr. Makoto Umehara

Regarding your proposal for the "Sunflower Sable," instead of using the shape of a sunflower as is, it would be more impactful if the symbolism of the sunflower is casually incorporated as part of the design.

Even if each sunflower sable costs 200 yen, it is still a souvenir. It will be propaganda to promote Hokuryu-cho while receiving money. When you take it home as a souvenir, all your family members and friends will know about Hokuryu-cho. The package they buy will have the Hokuryu-cho mark on it, and this will spread widely.

Around 20 years ago, Ama Town, a remote island in the Oki Islands of Shimane Prefecture, launched a turban shellfish curry using turban shells, a common catch in Ama, as the main ingredient. We designed the package title to read, "Shimaja-joshiki: Curry with turban shells".

On that island, there are things that are common sense, but can only be done in a small town. We created a logo for that island that reads, "What we don't have, we don't need. Everything important is here)" was created. We received an award for these words this year (2019) on the 50th anniversary of Ama Town's establishment.

In the opinions of this committee, we have gone from talking about working as a full set with one team to a proposed product. In other words, doing something with intention is acceptable to the world.

I hope that in the future, 'sunflower sable' will be born here in the town of Hokuryu," said Umehara.

Closing remarks by Terutaka Suzuki

I believe that the "Bright Farming Method" may make the world a brighter, richer, and happier place in the future. I believe that the future development of Hokuryu Town will depend on how the will and ambition of its residents are demonstrated.

It is important for us to move forward in a positive manner. Today, we have incorporated and summarized many of the opinions of Mr. Kengo Kuma and others involved, and we look forward to continuing to assist you in the future. Thank you very much," said Mr. Suzuki.

The 5th meeting of the Sunflower Village Basic Plan Formulation Committee is scheduled to be held at the end of February 2020.

Sunflower Village in Snowy Landscape

With boundless love, gratitude and prayers for the attractive and dreamy Sunflower Village concept that will thrill the hearts of everyone, both residents and visitors to Hokuryu Town.

More Photos

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Kengo Kuma, reference site

interpoint (interword separation)Kengo Kuma and Associates Website

<Takagi Gakuen Kindergarten Souzouen (Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture)Design and design of preschool buildings
Yusuhara Website Yusuhara O Kengo Kuma Building
Hearst Fujingahosha, Inc. Interview with Kengo Kuma, Architect: "Playing with blocks is my starting point Foundation Message from Kengo Kuma, Architect, on the New National Stadium
Kengo Kuma's "Mori no Stadium," the new National Stadium

Arai Corporation - Blog

interpoint (interword separation)President's Site Patrol for "Yawara Nursery School Construction(October 15, 2019)

◇ Photography and Editing: Noboru Terauchi Reporting and Writing: Ikuko Terauchi