If you’re heading to the Setouchi art islands this year, do yourself a favor and stop by Mt. Yashima in Kagawa prefecture. Just a 15-minute drive from Takamatsu Port, which is the gateway to the many islands, the summit of Mt. Yashima now boasts a gorgeous, snaking, mountaintop pavilion that recently opened. Walk around the elevated pathway as it undulates according to the terrain and take in the views of the Inland Sea on one side and Takamatsu City on the other. Then grab lunch at the renovated Reigan Chaya.

The Yashima Exchange Center “Yashimāru”

Nicknamed “Yashimāru,” the snaking pavilion was designed by architect Takashi Suo, who created a corridor-like structure that snakes around the summit. Two hundred meters long, the elevated pathway undulates as it reacts to the terrain. The roof is made of 30,000 thinly cut aji stone tiles, a local stone known for its use in tombstones.

Reigan Chaya Teahouse

The Reigan Chaya, previously a dilapidated teahouse, was also renovated by the same architect. Pre-existing for decades, the teahouse had undergone extensions and renovations during the Taisho, Showa, and Heisei periods. The architect described the structure as an accumulation of time so heavy and deep that it evaded adjectives like new and old. So the decision was made to preserve the unique structure but elevate it with an undulating topography similar to the mountaintop and pavillion. In this way, the architect managed to create a type of new order without introducing anything new at all.