Tree houses are excellent places for exploration and play — and for the children of Sendai, Japan, one exquisite tree house is also a site of healing and education. In his film series, “Through the Lens,” retired pro surfer Rob Machado traveled to the country to meet Takashi Kobayashi. The fellow wave-rider is known throughout the nation as the “Tree House Guru,” and he has built over 120 arboreal abodes over the past two decades. For the kids of Higashi-Matsushima, Kobayashi created a house inspired by a dragon in an effort to help them cope with the devastating tsunami that occurred in 2011. Watch the moving video above to learn about the making of this incredible tree house and read on for more poignant details.

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The “Tree Dragon” is intended to serve as an extension of the woodland classroom and an area for children to feel safe and secure. The creators of the project strongly believe that nature is beneficial to developing minds. The builders decided that a height four to six meters off of the ground would be the right placement for the house in order to create enough of a feeling of independence without causing too much adrenaline to flow. The structure is complete a with hobbit-like room at the base that features a stone fireplace. It winds up a steep slope that encompasses a sycamore and cherry tree along its route, and sports multiple decks, plant covered landings, and stained glass windows.

Kobayashi wanted the children who experienced the tsunami to have positive memories of their childhood. The tree house was finished in June, and has since been helping to repair the hearts of the area’s young people. By reconnecting them with nature, Kobayashi hopes to mend their fears of the environment and create meaningful experiences in the forest. Like the dragon it was modeled after, the tree house stands as a symbol of resilience, strength, and luck.

To see more of Kobayashi’s incredible structures, visit the TreeHouse People page.

+ TreeHouse People/Rob Machado Foundation

via Huffington Post

Images via Rob Machado Foundation