Bask in Hikari no Yakata (House of Light)

House of Light is a wooden house with traditional Japanese-style rooms. It sits on top of a cliff in the small Japanese town of Tokamachi, in northern Honshu.  “Hikari no Yakata” in Japanese, it’s no ordinary house. On most days at sunrise and sunset, visitors flock to see the house come alive with dazzling lights showcasing many different hues that add depth to the natural lighting.

Screengrab from Al Jareeza’s video.

The House of Light was built by the American contemporary artist James Turrell (born 6th of May 1943). His art mainly focuses on Light and Space, an art movement related to optical art, minimalism, geometric abstraction and the manipulation of light. He is best known for his work Roden Crater, a natural cinder cone crater located outside Flagstaff, Arizona. Turrell’s work on The House of Light was inspired by the book “In Praise of Shadows” by one of Japan’s most popular contemporary author and novelist Jun’ichirō Tanizaki (24 July 1886 – 30 July 1965). In Praise of Shadows consists of 16 sections of essays on traditional Japanese aesthetics.

Check out Al Jazeera feature of House of Light:

Turrell’s “Hikari no Yakata” features a traditional Japanese bath, or ofuro, on the first floor. The ofuro is also lined with fiber optic tubes on the edges of the door and tub that glow in blue, red, and green. The bath leads to an outdoor garden and during sunny summer days, the ceiling of The House of Light can be slid open to allow natural light to further enhance the experience. The house is a popular art exhibit as well as a meditative place for guests to spend the night.

Tokamachi is also host to one of Japan’s largest modern art festivals, Echigo-Tsumari Art Trienniale, held each summer.