Japanese Treehouse Creator Takashi Kobayashi has built over 120 treehouses in the past 15 years. When it comes to treehouses, his name is known across Japan and overseas. So when he was approached by the Risonare resort in Atami to create a treehouse for them, Kobayashi had his reservations. After all, he had plenty of other offers.
But “the quality of the treehouse is fully dependent on the tree itself,” says Kobayashi modestly. “Encountering a good tree is everything.” That’s why, when he visited the potential site and met the towering 300-year old camphor tree, it immediately fueled his imagination and he accepted.
Completed in March of 2014, Kusukusu (it borrows its name from kusu-no-ki, Japanese for camphor tree) is a marvelous feat of architecture, engineering and technology. Working with Hiroshi Nakamura of NAP Architects, the team came in and 3D-scanned hundreds of points on the tree. Based on that 3D data they then created a steel trellis that threaded through the tree, interlocking perfectly and acting as an architecturally weight-bearing yet visually stunning support system. What’s amazing is that the treehouse in its entirety, never touches the tree. It’s completely self-standing so as to not harm the tree.
Leading up to the treehouse is a 120-ft long pathway of lush greenery. As visitors approach the structure there is a large base, followed by a 2nd mezzanine. There is a coffee stand, a picnic area and athletic activities like zip lines where kids can play. It’s worth noting though that the treehouse is only open to guests of the Risonare Atami resort.
Resting perfectly like a birds nest, the treehouse is Kobayashi’s biggest undertaking to-date and is also the largest treehouse in all of Japan.