Manmade, Naturally: A Month in Hokkaido, Japan

Manmade, Naturally: A Month in Hokkaido, Japan

always had a fascination with
. I first visited in 2019 and, that same year, moved from
to Tokyo.
From here, I took a trip north to spend a month on the island of

Known for its volcanoes, hot springs and natural landscapes,
Japan’s second-largest island is unlike any other part of the
country. In creating this series of images, I wanted to step away
from Japan’s busy city stereotypes, while exploring my own personal
relationship with Hokkaido.

There’s an element of serenity in being away from the city and,
with it, a different pace of life. People interact with their
natural surroundings differently here, and I too felt inspired by a
fresh perspective.

Being drawn to architecture and design details, I was keen to
explore the interaction between natural and manmade elements, and
how this relationship can enhance our enjoyment of the landscape.
This is most strikingly evident in Japanese architect Tadao Ando’s
Hill of Buddha shrine. Concealed by an artificial hill in Makomanai
Takino Cemetery, the 13.5m-tall concrete statue of Buddha crowned
by a halo of sky is a sight to behold.

The landscapes are vast here. Dams appear carved into the
hillside, bolstering lakes of epic proportions. Buddha statues
stand tall in vast fields of green. Such features represent Japan’s
push-pull relationship with nature as they battle to contain the

Back in
, I know that I will return to Hokkaido again. I look
forward to seeing how the landscapes and colours transform with the
seasons, and how these manmade elements respond to the changes in

@benrich__ |

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