Japan's Handmade Miso Experience Center Wins International Architecture Awards 2019

Japan actually has plenty of buildings that have won architecture awards from all over the world, but not many tourists actually stop long enough to take in their beauty. The Handmade Miso Experience Center in Ina, Nagano Prefecture, is a bit of a trek away from any major cities, but it is gorgeous enough to have won several international architecture awards since its opening in 2017. Keep reading to learn just what makes it special and how you can get a glimpse of this architectural wonder!


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Ina is a small town in Nagano Prefecture that's nestled between Japan's Central and Southern Alps. Right next to it is one of Japan's best sakura (cherry blossom) viewing spots, Takato Joshi Park. The picture below is what one can expect come sakura season, which falls from late April to early May.

Despite its small size, this town is actually home to several food manufacturing factories, with one such factory belonging to Hanamaruki. This well-established brand specializes in miso, a traditional Japanese condiment made with fermented beans, salt, and rice malt.

In 2017, the brand decided to celebrate its 100th anniversary by opening up a miso-making workshop right next to its factory. In true Japanese style, they went all out and ended up creating the strange architectural beauty pictured below.

Named the Handmade Miso Experience Center, this bizarrely shaped building houses an observation room and theater hall. You can tell why this structure won several architecture awards just from looking at its clean lines and pure white exterior.

This might look like a staircase, but it is actually a cleverly designed theater hall. Workshop participants can watch video projections on the miso making process while sitting down on the dimly lit steps. These videos come with English subtitles.

This is what the observatory looks like from the outside.

The building was purposefully built to face Japan's Southern Alps so that on days with good weather, workshop participants can make miso while gazing at the gorgeous rustic scenery in front of them.

It is clear to see that the building's eccentric yet clean design, as well as the stunning view that it offers from its windows, are the reasons why the Handmade Miso Experience Center has won so many architecture awards in just a few years. So, if you're looking for something a bit out of the norm, please consider paying this place a visit. People in Tokyo can even visit via direct highway bus from the Shinjuku Bus Terminal thanks to the town's partnership with Shinjuku Ward!

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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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