Translated by Shinji Takaramura
Moerenuma: A Beautiful Park Designed by Isamu Noguchi
Written by Keisuke Yamada
This article is about Moerenuma Park in Hokkaido, designed by the Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi.
Hokkaido 北海道 is the northernmost prefecture in Japan, and Sapporo 札幌, where the Hokkaido Government Office is located, is the fourth populated city in Japan.
Sapporo has many sightseeing places, such as the Television Tower, Ōdori Park, The Clock Tower and the former Hokkaido Government Office Building. It is also famous for its seafood, as there are several marketplaces and a large number of restaurants serving sushi and kaisendon 海鮮丼 (a bowl of rice topped with fresh seafood).
There is another interesting spot, not so well-known to the visitors. From downtown Sapporo, it takes 10 minutes by train, and another 25 minutes by bus to get there, but it's worth the time. The name of the place is Moerenuma kōen モエレ沼公園 ("Moerenuma Park") and it was designed by the sculptor Isamu Noguchi イサム・ノグチ.
The History of Moerenuma Park
Moerenuma Park is spreads on approximately 1.89 square kilometers and it was built on top of a landfill created by gathering 2.7 million tons of waste matter.
The words "waste matter" and "landfill" might make you wonder how this park came to be. Here's how.
In 1978, in order to preserve the natural resources in Moerenuma, the city of Sapporo planned to turn the area into a large park. The original idea was to build a baseball field and a botanical garden with 1,800 cherry trees. It was an ordinary park by Japanese standards, and the construction began in 1979, bringing in the waste matters to make the landfill.
However, in June 1988, Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi announced his full cooperation by revealing a design plan of the park. The concept was changed, and the wonderful Moerenuma park we can see nowadays came into being.
HIDAMARI: The Glass Pyramid
HIDAMARI, a glass pyramid which opened in 2003, is one of the prominent buildings in Moerenuma Park. Located near the entrance, it is the first facility the visitors should go.
HIDAMARI reflects the blue sky in summer and the snow-covered field in winter, merging with its surroundings.
Mount Moere モエレ山
This is the largest structure in Moerenuma Park. It's the only mountain in the Higashi-ku area where the park is located, and also a landmark as well.
Mount Moere モエレ山 was created by piling soil on nonflammable waste, and has five routes to the top. There are two types of routes - one that goes around the mountain and a straight one. Both routes take about 10 minutes, but the straight-line routes can be pretty exhausting, so be careful.
The mountaintop is an observatory which looks over the city of Sapporo. The width of the observatory is 2,004 centimeters, which happens to be the same number as the 100th anniversary year of Isamu Noguchi's birth.
Tetra Mound テトラマウンド
This is a must-see place for all visitors.
A triangular pyramid, made from stainless steel columns two meters in diameter, looms over a small mound. It may look like a simple structure, but if you take a closer look, you will see how dynamic it is.
The column surface has a unique polish, and its expressions change along with the sunlight. Climb the grassy mound, look at the sky, and you will be able to experience Isamu Noguchi's world of sculpture.
Music Shell ミュージックシェル
This facility, which was not originally included in Noguchi's last design model, is used as a stage for concerts and dance performances.
There are many famous sightseeing places in the urban Sapporo area, but there is also a place like this, a beautiful park utilizing the vast land. It is really worth the time riding the train and bus in order to reach Moerenuma Park.
Address: Hokkaido, Sapporo-shi, Higashi-ku, Moerenuma kōen 1-1
Hours: 7:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
*There are no closed days.
Credit Cards: -
Menus Available In: -
Station: Kanjō Dōri Higashi Station (環状通東駅) of the Sapporo City Subway Tōho Line
Access: From the Kanjō Dōri Higashi Station, take the Higashi 69 (東69) or Higashi 79 (東79) bus of the Chūō Bus, and get off at the Moerenuma Kōen Higashi-guchi (モエレ沼公園東口) bus stop.
Admission Fee: Free
Official Website: Moerenuma Park