About the Location, Amami Oshima
Amami Oshima is a subtropical island of Japan, halfway between Okinawa and Yakushima (an island known for its ancient forest which is designated as a natural World Heritage site since 1993.) With a population of 60 thousand, it is the largest of the Amami Islands, an archipelago currently* nominated to be inscribed on the World Heritage List. It is easily accessible, with Amami Airport boasting 44 incoming and outgoing flights a day.
Amami’s unique culture and natural environment have been preserved for thousands of years. Especially prominent are the folk songs and dances, influenced by cultures of both the Ryukyu Dynasty of Okinawa and the Satsuma Domain which covered a large part of Kyushu during the Edo period (1603-1868.) It has forests rich in flora and fauna such as dark-furred Amami rabbits and is surrounded by beautiful beaches with coral reefs. Sugarcane and fruit farming are currently its major industries, while Oshima Tsumugi textile production (silk kimono fabric dyed with mud, rich in iron) used to be the key industry in the past. In spite of all its beauty based on its natural environment preserved from antiquity and its adorable culture, one thing Amami lacked was luxurious accommodations for high-end travelers.
(*As of May, 2018)
Research on Existing Tourist Accommodations
TEKUTO’s chief architect Yasuhiro Yamashita was commissioned to design this resort complex for several reasons: Being from Amami, having created numerous pieces of characteristic architecture with compact spaces, having developed original construction methods and structures utilizing local materials of various regions, and having studied resort facilities for a long period of time.
Upon embarking on this project, Yamashita conducted an extensive survey of the existing accommodation facilities on the island.
The survey revealed that despite its potential to be an attractive tourist destination, Amami lacked spacious, luxurious resort facilities. In view of this result, the team decided to target high-end travelers in order to supplement and co-exist with preexisting accommodations, and to expand the tourism infrastructure of the island.
Finding the Ideal Building Plot
Yamashita himself searched for the ideal site, starting in March 2015. Finally, a piece of land was chosen which gently slopes toward the sea to the southeast with a height difference of 25 meters. Tranquility and intimacy dominates the gentle path leading down to a beautiful beach on the quiet inland sea. The landscape was constructed in such a way as to restore the original indigenous seascape of Amami and embed the structures into the surrounding vegetation and nature. The construction began in August of 2016 and completion was achieved in November 2017.