Terunobu Fujimori’s Kodomari Fuji guest house features a roof lined with cherry trees

Cherry trees line the roof at Kodomari Fuji, Terunobu Fujimori's first accommodation facility design, a private guest house in Japan

hero exterior of Kodomari Fuji by Terunobu Fujimori
(Image credit: Kodomari Fuji)

Kodomari Fuji, a recently opened, private guest house, exemplifies Japanese architect and architectural historian Terunobu Fujimori's signature offbeat architectural style and idiosyncratic approach, placing nature at the forefront. The words playful and whimsical – both often associated with, and suitably descriptive of Fujimori's structures – are equally applicable to this latest project, his very first accommodation facility design in Japan. 

hero exterior in green context of Kodomari Fuji by Terunobu Fujimori

(Image credit: Kodomari Fuji)

The nature-inspired design of Kodomari Fuji by Terunobu Fujimori

Situated on a former rice field that was left dormant for decades, the private villa occupies a 4,000 sq m site offering undisturbed views of its surrounding, rural landscape. Resembling a large wooden ship overlooking a 'sea' of rice paddies, the elongated building features the architect's handcrafted architectural elements of charred timber cladding, hand-battered copper roof plating and hand-plastered white walls. Along the roof sits a row of planted cherry trees inspired by the village's local icon, a 300-year-old weeping tree of the same species, located just metres away from the property.

planted roof at Kodomari Fuji by Terunobu Fujimori

(Image credit: Kodomari Fuji)

Nestled in Fujimi, a remote village bordering Japan’s mountainous Nagano prefecture and Yamanashi prefecture, the building overlooks Japan's Southern Alps, with Mount Fuji even seen in the far distance. Whilst the owners provided a completely open architectural brief, Fujimori focused the design around the landscape's panoramic views. He explains: ‘My main intention was to pass the axis from the cherry blossoms in the background towards Mount Fuji.'

roof close up at Kodomari Fuji by Terunobu Fujimori

(Image credit: Kodomari Fuji)

Fujimori, known for his unconventional and wildly imaginative structures that exert a sense of jovial innocence – such as his suspended 'floating' teahouses or Tampopo (Dandelion House) residence – often refers to historical contexts, basic dwellings and traditional methods of construction in his designs. Self-described as an ‘architectural historian drawn to ancient housing solutions’, Fujimori's approach for Kodomari Fuji was simply finding ‘harmony with nature’.

wooden interior of Kodomari Fuji by Terunobu Fujimori

(Image credit: Kodomari Fuji)

Accommodating just one group booking per day, the 'small private villa' is comprised of three segmented spaces forming an entire volume; inclusive of a main bedroom, storage room, and dining and kitchen space with second floor lounge area. The main dining area connects to a large outdoor balcony and open deck, intentionally primitive in form so as not to detract from the scenic views. Fujimori also designed the interior furniture, creating a custom large, central table with chairs and overhead lighting, in addition to a working fireplace with a hand-battered copper-cladded chimney visible from the exterior.

window at Kodomari Fuji by Terunobu Fujimori

(Image credit: Kodomari Fuji)

Initiated by husband-wife owner duo Noriko and Kazunori Yamakoshi, the project was first envisioned 13 years ago by Noriko Yamakoshi, who approached the architect with the idea. Fujimori, who comes from the Nagano region, took over a decade to finally agree to the project, which was financially achieved through crowdfunding efforts over the course of a year. 

Nature, Fujimori believes, has always played a secondary role in architecture, something he aims to change to create an 'equilibrium of value for plants'. Continuing this philosophy for the future, the owners aim to revive the neighbouring rice fields and plant new trees, where the building can gradually ‘blend into its environment'.

night time of Kodomari Fuji by Terunobu Fujimori

(Image credit: Kodomari Fuji)