Hokkaido Lake Akan
Akan Tsuruga Bessou HINANOZA
Overall Planning/Concept Work/Logo Design/Interior-Design Planning/Sign Design
Restaurant Ware Design/Interior wear and Uniform Design/Promotional Tools Design/Furniture - Fixture Coordination
The Local Power of Akan
Hina no Za is near Hokkaido's Lake Akan. This was my first work for the Tsuruga Group, and this was also the inspiration for me coining the phrase “Local Power.” This is a place where the Japanese minority Ainu People have lived since antiquity, and a place where the natural treasure trove of the Kushiro marshland can be found. When I first came to Lake Akan, it was hidden in the deep snows of cruel winter season. I remember feeling "What a powerful, mysterious place this is..."
Akan-cho is a place where Ainu people in the Ainu Kotan and Japanese coming from the rest of Japan coexist.
The Ainu preserve their ancient respect for Kamuy, the spirits of the primeval forest, and the Japanese coming from the distant main island continue to long for their ancestral homes. When building this hotel, I wanted to combine the two ideas of "Home," so I used the word "Hina," home, and "Za," the seats gathered around a fire, to make the name Hina no Za, fusing the idea of a simple traditional Sukiya style building and an Ainu "Chise" house.
So this building, based on the root of Ainu culture still found in the topography of the primeval forests, was my first time to use the phrase Local Power.
In Ainu culture, there is a ceremony of prayer to the gods called Kamuy-nomi. It is a ceremony to return gods to the heavens. The gods of the Ainu people are without number, lying in plants and animals like bears and owls, or things we cannot hold, such as wind or lightning. The Ainu bear sacrifice Iomante is a kind of Kamuy-nomi. This is a ceremony to show thanks to the Kamuy of the bear for bringing meat and fur to the people, and to return the spirit to the land of the gods.
The entranceway is decorated with woodcarving and Ainu patterned wrought iron. Ainu patterns are based on plant thorns or animal eyes. They say putting these patterns on cuffs, collars and the back is a way to ward off evil. This entryway incorporates Ainu teaching, as well.
Within the dirt floored Doma gallery with its stucco walls, a carving of a Kotan Kamuy (a Blakiston's fish owl, which serves as a village guardian spirit) watches over the hall.
Proceed into the lounge, where you can see Lake Akan spreading out in front of the entryway. Ainu patterns are inlaid in the bar counter, which is made from a single huge log.