Yasuhiro “Hiro” Yamashita x (Atelier TEKUTO + Amami Design Firm)
1. First of all, what is DenPaku?
DenPaku (伝泊) is a brand of tourist accommodations that aims to pass down traditional / legendary architecture, villages and culture to future generations.
Atelier TEKUTO’s principal architect Yasuhiro “Hiro” Yamashita conceived the initial idea when he was hired to design a resort hotel in his home island, Amami Oshima. As he started to visit the subtropical island more frequently, he noticed that there were increasing number of abandoned houses, and local government officials and residents came to him for advice. In order to make use of the vacant houses, he restored and converted them into lodging facilities by stripping down later additions, bringing them back to the original state as much as possible. Bathroom and kitchen facilities were replaced where needed, for the guests’ comfort. Thus, in 2016, the first two DenPaku inns opened in the northern part of Amami Oshima.
DenPaku, where guests can feel at home as if they visited their relative’s house, was well received and by 2019, 15 DenPaku vacation-rental type accommodations opened, not only in Amami Oshima, but also in two nearby islands, Kakeromajima and Tokunoshima. Run by TEKUTO’s sister company Amami Innovation Co., Ltd., DenPaku also provides immersive activities for tourists to interact with local people.
2. Variety of DenPaku brands
In 2018, DenPaku Hotel, a boutique hotel type accommodation, opened in a complex facility called DenPaku + Magun Plaza. The complex comprises the hotel, restaurant / event space, local food & souvenir shop and an elder care facility. It was repurposed from a closed down supermarket where the locals used to gather and chat. Renovating the building it to be a community hub was a way to reinvigorate the local community, bringing back fond memories and legend of the good old days.
At Magun Plaza, Yamashita started to have monthly meetings with community representatives and local government officials to discuss community needs and issues. He found out that the region frequently hosted sports events for elementary and secondary school children from other parts of Amami Oshima and other nearby islands. There was a need for low cost accommodation with a laundry facility. As Amami is blessed with abundant rainfall, the local residents would also benefit from a laundromat, where they can wash large futon and other laundry on rainy days. In order to address this need, a former karaoke facility was converted into a casual lodging facility with a laundromat, DenPaku Dormitory & Laundry.
DenPaku The Beachfront MIJORA ,designed by Yamashita, was the last brand to join the group, the only newly built accommodation among the DenPaku brands.
3.DenPaku The Beachfront MIJORA
After 2013, the demand for upscale tourist accommodations increased significantly along with the growing number of foreign tourists visiting Japan. Since there were very few luxury lodging facilities in Amami, supplying high-end facilities was / is needed before Amami gets officially listed in the UNESCO World Natural Heritage sites. In order to meet this demand, DenPaku The Beachfront MIJORA was designed for affluent travelers.
Thirteen villas that consists DenPaku The Beachfront MIJORA are located on two separate plots of land on the west coast in north Amami. A modern interpretation of Amamian traditional wood roof, perched on a resolute, origami-like concrete structure, and a large floor-to ceiling window (actually the largest size possible to ship to Amami) that connects the interior with the outdoor nature are the main architectural features of the villas.。
The southern site called Kamesaki has seven villas, with a choice of four different floor plans. Each villa has its own charm, even villas with the same floor plans has different moods, according to the position and the way the branches of screw-pine trees frame the view.
About 400 meters north from Kamesaki, six villas on Midoriya are composed of five villas with same floor plans and one with a reversed floor plan. In the near future, Yamashita is planning to add an intimate outdoor gathering space, Mijora Plaza, among the villas. It will be a place where the guests and the locals come together and interact; after all, that is the most important mission of DenPaku.
Deluxe Double #9-13
Deluxe Twin #3-5
Deluxe Twin #2, 6
Standard Double #1
Standard Double #7
|location||Kamesaki988-1, Midoriya 861-4, Soto Kaneku, Kasari-cho, Amami City, Kagoshima Prefecture|
|building use||Tourist accommodation|
|site area||894.33㎡（Kamesaki), 1,092.21㎡（Midoriya）|
|building area||30.24㎡～47.89㎡ （×13 villas）|
|total floor area||30.24㎡～37.41㎡（×13 villas）|
|construction||Reinforced concrete + wood|
|floor number||single floor|