Art Biotop Nasu has closed. This website is an archive.

What is Water Garden?

Water Garden is an elaborate creation combining speculative and modern garden elements. It is a garden that changes and is created while being close to nature and making compromises. The garden varies in appearance according to both time of day and time of year, creating a unique space for meditative dialogues between nature and man. It is the ideal spot to retreat from the bustle of daily life and to recalibrate mind and body.

Schule im Berg (The Mountain School)

“Schule im Berg” which ignited the birth of Water Garden is a forum to learn, hold conversations, to express thoughts and develop thinking on philosophy, economics, biology, literature, design, architecture, music, Japanese studies, etc. Please take a look at the archive. Among them, the 2018 talk series “Garden” specializing in “Water Garden” by architect Junya Ishigami is well worth reading.



Major Awards include The Architectural Institute of Japan Award in 2009, The 12th Venice Biennale International Architecture Exhibition Golden Lion Award in 2010 and many more.

Major Works / Projects:
2008 Kanagawa Institute of Technology KAIT Studio (Kanagawa Prefecture), etc.

Major Exhibitions:
The Venice Biennale 2008 11th International Architecture Exhibition / Representative of the Japan Pavilion.
“Another scale of Architecture” Exhibition (Toyota City Museum of Art) in 2010.
“Junya Ishigami Free Architecture” Exhibition (Paris Cartier Contemporary Art Foundation) in 2018

In recognition of “Water Garden, Botanical Garden at Art Biotop”, the 69th Best Newcomer for Fine Arts, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Prize was awarded in 2019.

もともと牧草地であった敷地は、それ以前は、水田であった。 もっと前は、周辺と同じ雑木林。

この場所の環境的なポテンシャルを最大限呼び起こし、それらを自然界には存在しないような密度と関係性で、 複層的に重ね合わせ、新たな風景を出現させる。

具体的には、新しいホテル棟の計画地である隣地の雑木林の樹木をそのままこの場所に移動させる。 新築工事で伐採される樹木をなんとかこの場所に留まらせる手段である。 また、昔、水田であった時に川から水を引き込むために利用していた枡を使って、 美しい水の流れを再び敷地内に呼び込むことを試みる。 さらに、周囲の森に自生する絨毯のように広がる苔を移植しこの場所に敷き詰める。

樹木、水、苔。 これらの既存の3つの要素が重ね合わされ新しい景色として姿を現す。

既存の林の中で、パズルのピースが組み合わされるように、まるで肩を寄せあうようにひしめき合っていた 樹木の群れを、一つ一つ、その種類と形状を調査し、それぞれのピースがあえて組み合わされないように、 この敷地内に注意深く再配置していく。

そのようにできた各ピース(各樹木)の間に生まれる隙間(余白)に、無数の池(ビオトープ)を計画し、 樹木の間から引き込まれるように注がれる太陽光をそれらの水面に反射させる。 また、それら敷地内に満たされる樹木と池との間を埋めるようにして、青々とした苔を敷き詰めてゆく。

こうして出来上がる新しい風景は、この場所にかつて存在していた環境であるとともに、 未だかつて、出会うことのなかったそれぞれの要素が重ね合わせられることによって生まれる新しい自然である。

人間では、決してつくりだすことのできない自然の中で育まれつくり上げられた要素を、 人間の手によって、自然界には存在することのない関係性で再構成し、新たな自然を生み出す。

The site was originally heavily wooded before it was cleared for rice fields. Later, it became meadowlands. By maximizing the environmental potential of this land, we will create a new landscape that fuses “density” and “relationship” which do not coexist in nature.

Specifically, we will transport and replant trees from adjacent meadowlands, the development site for a new hotel complex. The plan is for the trees which would be cut down for the development to be saved and remain in this area. We will use traditional tools used for leveling water when the site was rice fields as a way to bring the beautiful flowing river onto the site. We will replant and have carpets of moss growing wild on the surrounding forest floors.

Trees, water, moss. These three existing elements are combined and re-emerge to form a new landscape.

We researched the species and configuration of the original trees on the property and carefully rearranged them in different places. We will create numerous ponds between the trees to allow the reflection of the sunlight that filters through and plant moss to fill the spaces between the trees and ponds.

The landscape created by this method consists of the same environmental components originally on the site but will become “new nature” by combining the various elements in a new configuration emphasizing aspects of nature that could not be made by man and the elements of manmade art that cannot be found in nature.

  • Awarded the 2018 Best Newcomer for Fine Arts, the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Prize
  • Received Cool Japan Award 2019
  • Received the 1st “Obel Award”
  • Selected as Good Design 2019 “Good Design Best 100”

A part of the tour fee is used to maintain Water Garden and to protect the environment.