With a name that translates to “beautiful stars,” Bisei is a town in the Okayama Prefecture of West Japan that has long boasted a reputation as a popular stargazing destination. Now, a newly-added cluster of tea rooms in the Bisei countryside is making the nighttime activity even more enjoyable. Designed by Japanese architecture firm Moriyuki Ochiai, the sculptural Constellation of Stargazing Tea Rooms was completed earlier this year and offers stunning sky views.
Extended across the rolling hills of Bisei, the Constellation of Stargazing Tea Rooms draws inspiration from the region’s status as a stargazing destination and as the birthplace of Eisai, a Japanese Buddhist priest who is believed to have introduced green tea to Japan. Commissioned by Pasona Group and irbisei, the open-air structures are painted a variety of striking colors and provide shelter and connection with the outdoors.
“The Japanese tea room was developed as an enclosed microcosm called a “enclosure,” and as such, each unit is designed as a spatial installation where one can perceive minute changes in its natural surroundings and experience the wonder and mystery of natural phenomena,” wrote the architects at Moriyuki Ochiai. “Painted with stellar colors, each volume presents polygonal openings from which can be taken in the beautiful offerings of nature such as light, rain and the starry night sky. Moreover, mirrors placed on the exterior walls reflect the ever-changing outdoor environment like the water surface of rice paddies scattered across Bisei, thus modifying the look and perception of the constructions throughout the day.”
The open arrangement of the “galaxy of tea rooms” is also conducive for a variety of events. The site is expected to host gatherings and performances hosted by the Astronomy Club, the Tea Ceremony Club, as well as other groups throughout the year. The layout also responds to the undulating terrain and is crafted to look like an extension of the landscape.
Images by Fumio Araki