Japanese architect Tadao Ando has concealed a huge stone statue of the buddha within a hill covered in lavender plants at the Makomanai Takino Cemetery in Sapporo.
The top of the statue’s head just crests through a circular well at the centre of the verdant mound, which is carpeted in 150,000 of the purple-flowering plants.
Visitors must pass through a 40-metre tunnel to get to the foot of the 13.5-metre-tall statue.
Made up of arches of folded concrete, the tunnel is dimly lit to create a “womb-like” atmosphere, while the opening at the centre is naturally lit and surrounded by concertinaed concrete walls that narrow towards the sky.
The vegetation provides a seasonally appropriate backdrop for the statue, changing from green in spring to purple in summer and finally white in winter, when the mound is heaped in snow.
Some people might argue this is “manicured” landscape but all good designs respond to its context, and it works exceptionally here.
The drone footage is useful for an aerial overview, but the real beauty lies in the journey on foot – from the first glimpse of (the tip of) the statue to the grand reveal.