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September 29, 2021

The Magical Structure of Maishima

Deciding to live and teach in Japan for years usually means that you are destined to become a frequent visitor of international airports. While I was living in Kobe, I would visit my home country at least once a year, and every time I would usually get on the express bus. The bus goes to the Kansai International Airport along the coastal highway, and there was one peculiar building that stood out like a sore thumb. The road to the airport goes mostly through Osaka’s heavy industry zone, full of gray chimneys, tanks and plain concrete structures that stretch for miles, but there was one building in the distance that did not fit into the landscape at all

Its magical aesthetics would be more at home in Disneyland than the docklands of Osaka. After some research and talking to locals about it, I was even more surprised to learn that it is in fact a garbage incineration plant on the island of Maishima. I had to organize a day trip to visit it, and as expected, it did not disappoint. The Maishima Incineration Plant was designed by a world renowned Austrian architect and artist, known for his work in the field of environmental protection, Friedensreich Hundertwasser.

The plant was built in 2001 to promote environmental awareness and deal with the rising problem of waste disposal in the area at the time. Once getting to the island, not only are you allowed to look around and marvel at the facade full of bright colors, spirals and curvy lines, mosaics and gold towers, but you can also schedule a visit and get a free tour inside of the plant as well. While the plant tour is an enjoyable couple of hours, there are also plenty of sport centers, seaside parks and seasonal flower gardens to enjoy afterwards. Not a lot of people plan on visiting garbage plants when thinking about their trip to Japan, but if you ever get the chance, I would strongly recommend saving some time for this unusual, magical place.

About the author:

Hi, I’m Dragana and I’m from Serbia. I came to Japan in 2010 and I spent 7 wonderful years in the city of Kobe before moving to Tokyo. I’ve been with Gaba Corporation for the past 7 years, first as an instructor, and now working as a recruiter. I enjoy taking photos of all the amazing places I got the chance to visit in Japan, and all the food I got to try, too.

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