Through woods in Aomori -
From Hakkoda to Towada :
Hakkoda Hotel - 1
(Aomori city, Aomori, Japan)

In the Meiji era, one of the hotels created for the acquisition of foreign tourists was the Towada Hotel. Because of the same appearance and classic impression that logs were piled up, I thought for a long time that the Hakkoda Hotel was one of the same hotels as the Towada hotel. In fact, it was a relatively new hotel completed in 1991, designed by Masao Hayakawa, an architect who was also a disciple of Sutemi Horiguchi.

The management firm was the same as the Sugayu Onsen Hot Spring Ryokan and it was born from the idea that the owner wanted to run a hotel in the forest, and the hotel was also planned on the assumption that it would accept the guests of the Sugayu Onsen Hot Spring Ryokan at the time of a disaster. In fact, at the time of the Great East Japan Earthquake, the Hakkoda Hotel, which had its own electricity generation, accepted the guests of the Sugayu Onsen Hot Spring Ryokan, which became unable to operate due to blackouts, and offered meals.

It takes 10 minutes to go up the road from the Sugayu Onsen Hot Spring Ryokan to the Hakkoda Hotel and the altitude increases 20 meters. The national road which passes from Aomori city to the Towada lake is closed to traffic at the point near here during the winter, due to snow cover. Although it is not the observation point of the Meteorological Agency, it is a place where the altitude is higher than the Sugayu Onsen Hot Spring Ryokan and the snow is deeper.

From the spring to the autumn, this place is surrounded with the greenery of beech forest but it is isolated in the snow in the winter and all is in white. Since there are no roads from here onwards, visitors other than guests are rare and their signs are also absorbed by the snow. It is a hotel in silence and its quietness and snow are the supreme luxury.

The hotel consists of the main building and five guest room wings extending like branches from it.

The main building with common facilities such as the lobby and the restaurant is the space with the ceiling height exceeding 8 m, which exposes the large gable roof and the frame that supports it. In order to realize this large space, Masao Hayakawa developed the Kanzashi (long ornamental hairpin) Construction Method.

It is a method of inserting a jointing material called "yatoi" into a pillar of Oregon pine with 52 by 52 square centimeters to fix the combined beams of rice glue laminated wood with a 48 centimeters high on both sides of the "yatoi". Since its appearance associated a Kanzashi of courtesan, he named it as the Kanzashi Construction Method.

As the material of the outer wall and the inner wall, it adopts a log structure that assembles red cedar log, which brings the atmosphere of the mountain hut to the hotel.

It is interesting that the structure of the building is carried by the pillars and beams of the Kanzashi Construction Method mentioned above and the log of Red Cedar is a curtain wall that is independent from the structure. Although it is a traditional mountain-like style at first glance, it follows "free plan"and "free elevation" in Le Corbusier's "Five Principles of Modern Architecture", which he advocated that the pillar supports the architecture, the plan and the elevation are released from the structure and freely designed.

The Kimura Industry Laboratory, which was built with reinforced concrete by modernism architect Kunio Maekawa and was located in Hirosaki near hear, did not completely succeeded to realize "free elevation" due to the limit of technology in 1930's and severe climate. The Hakkoda Hotel seems to be the answer from the side of wooden structure and the climate of Tsugaru.

The guest room wings extends in the forest while bending. Because the building were arranged avoiding the big trees at the time of planning. So when walking to a guest room, the line of flow that gradually changes is a sense of walking through the small path in the forest.

The guest room wings are built with wooden similarly to the main building. However, since the total floor area is 6200 square meters and the wooden part area is 4500 square meters excluding the underground concrete part, the hotel contravenes the fire protection provisions of the Building Standard Law if it is built as one building. In order to avoid from the fire spreading, each building is separated from others with 12 meters, and the corridor connecting the buildings is built with reinforced concrete.

When walking the interior, no one would notice the difference because the interior finish is continuous. But, when seen from the outside, the bridge corridor finished with a gray paint on the concrete sticks a little incongruous because the air of a town seems to be brought in the forest.

To Japanese Version

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Transportation
From Tokyo to Aomori
by train
: 3 hours 20 minutes from “Tokyo Station” to “Shin-Aomori Station” by Shinkansen (high speed train), one service per one hour. Then, 10 minutes from “Shin-Aomori Station” to “Aomori Station” by local train connected with Shinkansen, one service per one hour .
by air : 1 hours 20 minutes from “Tokyo Haneda Airport” to “Aomori Airport”, about 6 services ecah day. 30 minutes by bus from “Aomori Ariport” to “Aomori Station”.

From “Aomori Station” to "Hakkoda Hotel"
70 minutes by bus from "Aomori Station" or " Shin-Aomori Station" to "Sugayu Onsen", 3 - 5 services per day. 10 minutes by private bus for a guest from "Sugayu Onsen" to "Hakkoda Hotel".

Link
Hakkoda Hotel

Aomori City Office
Aomori City Guide

Aomori Sightseeng Guide

Accommodations
Acoommodations in Aomori

References
"住宅建築1992年2月号" (建築資料研究所, 1992) 

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2018.01 Photos in English version, and photos and text in Japanese version

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Hakkoda Hotel

Photo by Daigo Ishii