Which Rocks Hokkaido Rock House Is Built on?

A virtual hotel built on the bedrock of Daisetsuzan

Recently our company launched Hokkaido Rock House. It is a virtual hotel built on the bedrock of Daisetsuzan in Hokkaido. I am sure that anyone who was born and raised in Hokkaido can feel sympathy for its concept. However, Sou Fujimoto, the architect of Hokkaido Rock House, doesn’t reveal exactly where this hotel is located. Today, let’s consider which landscape it is modeled after.

The only clue is its exterior

The only clue is the above image. The overall appearance is characterized by whitish-brown rocks. The main building is terraced on the cliff wall of the canyon opened at a very sharp angle. A waterfall seems to pour into the building from a very high position. The hardwoods are relying on the soil accumulated in the slight hollows of the steep slopes, and the life of a lifetime is shining through them.

Memory of climbing Daisetsuzan

By the way, I was a member of the mountaineering club in high school here in Asahikawa. This is the reason why I am familiar with the landscape of Daisetsuzan—I would like to say that, though I have little memory of it, unfortunately. At that time, climbing was too painful for me to enjoy the scenery or the romance of geological dreaming. The only thing I can barely remember is that I enjoyed sliding on the remaining snow on the slopes.

“Mount Asahidake, in Daisetsuzan”, Photo Credit: https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6776.html

On the way to go bike hill climb

Let’s go back to the landscape research. What has been on my mind recently is this Gama Rock (see the image below). It’s located on the way from Higashikawa to Asahidake Onsen in Daisetsuzan. This road is a great for hill-cyclists to practice. Since learning that from a colleague at work, I have been sneaking out to go there. The exhilaration of the nonstop descent after long climbing has become so addictive. I know, you must think I’m crazy to start biking again after such a painful mountain climbing experience in high school.

Let’s examine the Gama Rock

Funnily enough, this rock has a signboard with the name but no explanation. It is scary that a huge rock of about 5 to 7 meters in diameter suddenly appears on the cliff. I guess it’s a lava block due to its foamy surface. The reason why such a huge rock is located at this high place is once a great amount of lava flowed here.

A lava bank is one of the surface features of lava. When magma flows, the sides and fronts cool first and stop moving, and the sides remain like a dike after the liquid part in the center flows away. The Gama Rock is said to have been left on such a lava bank.

Photo Credit: Michael Ryan, U.S. Geological Survey. – earthquakes krafla8

Evidence of huge eruption of Daisetsuzan

Some popular hot spring areas (Asahidake Onsen, Tenninkyo, and Sounkyo) are located on the Asahikawa side of Daisetsuzan. These are famous for their columnar joints. The columnar joints are pentagonal or hexagonal cracks formed when lava cools and hardens. When you drive around and look up, the spectacular columnar joints will take your breath away. Looking at the size of this area and the size of the Gama Rock that flowed from the crater, we can imagine  the volcanic eruption must have been massive at that time.

Dystopia shrouded in location mystery

The Gama Rock is a black lava block, which is completely different from the surroundings of Hokkaido Rock House. The Hokkaido Rock House is probably on granite. Perhaps it is hidden in some unexplored region. Consequently, I’ve found the places where the hotel could not be located in Daisetsuzan at least. If anyone knows, please let me know and shall we go to see the world of dystopia?



Nami