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Awaji Yumebutai is a complex of buildings consisting of a conference center, a hotel and a memorial in the city of Awaji located in an island of the same name in Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan. The complex was designed by architect Tadao Ando and built on the side of a mountain from which soil had been taken away in the early 1990s to cater to huge landfill development in the Osaka Bay area, including the building of the Kansai International Airport.

Tadao Ando convinced the authorities to purchase the surrounding land and turn it into a park. He wanted to turn the natural environment which was once destroyed by expansion activities into a new place where people could gather and interact. But before the park could be completed, a violent earthquake shook Awaji island in 1995 and the region around Kobe claiming the lives of more than 6,000 people. This forced the architect the revise his construction plans and converted Awaji Yumebutai into a memorial instead. The project now includes a hotel, a conference center, a small amphitheater and restaurants, and plazas.

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The 100 Stepped Garden at Awaji Yumebutai is the complex’s most distinctive feature. Photo credit

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