Isn’t this building incredible? This whimsical fantasy is the work of an Austrian architect called Friedensreich Hundertwasser.

This is one of two huge buildings, designed by Hundertwasser, on the island of Maishima in Osaka’s port area. They are waste treatment (incineration) plants. Their façades, rich in detail and humour and primary colours, seem to rebel against the forces of sterile modernity, efficiency and maturity. They seem to say “Why not?” and never fail to bring a smile to my face.

The chimneys are gold-topped minarets.  With portholes.

Trees are planted at various levels on the exterior of the buildings, and on a helical ramp encircling the lower levels of the chimneys like ivy.

Clearly Mr Hundertwasser had a great love for windows (and no desire whatever to make any two the same).

I reached the island by walking across this bridge, one of an incredible number of suspension bridges that criss-cross the harbour area, linking all the artificial islands. It was a very hot day for this kind of walk!

While walking across, I felt the bridge shaking up and down under my feet in a way that felt a bit alarming. But looking back at the structure from underneath, and seeing how thin the deck is, it’s not so surprising that it flexes along its length.

The incineration plant apparently has a garden that is open to visitors—I wonder what fanciful delights are to be found within?

Unfortunately by the time I reached this point after walking for an hour, with precious little shade, I was getting dangerously overheated and couldn’t risk staying any longer in the open.

Here’s an information plaque with a picture of Mr Hundertwasser.



9 thoughts on “Hundertwasser

    1. Thank you very much for dropping by and taking the time to comment.

      To be precise, one building is a thermal treatment plant (waste incinerator) and the other is a water (sewage) treatment plant.

      I don’t think it’s very easy to get to Maishima from anywhere! There is no train or subway station. I did see bus stops but I don’t know how to look up the city bus service timetable. BUT you should definitely go! It’s well worth a visit, especially for someone with your interests. I have been enjoying reading your blog and it’s clear that this is the kind of thing that would interest you. By the way, I had also been planning to do a post about the Gate Tower building in Umeda (it’s fascinated me since I first found out about it)!

      Tell me, what did you mean about what is going on in Amerika-mura?

      1. Thanks for your reply. Go ahead mate, post about the Gate Tower Building, I’m sure myself and many others are curious to read your perspective! The Umeda Sky Tree looks a bit aloof too (in others words, fits a Japanese city quite well), but the escalators stand out IMO.
        As for Amerika Mura, well, as I’m from the states, having a giant sadist clown represent is a bit…appropriate…but there’s a bunch of unusual graffiti and signs too that wouldn’t be too out of ploace in NY or LA.

  1. Came across your blog on bicycles a few days ago and then saw these amazing looking buildings. I had previously visited a toilet block in New Zealand designed by Hundertwasser. We rode our bicycles from Abeno-ku to Maishima using a combination of bridges and ferries: Senbonmatsu & Tenpozan ferries, Namihaya-ohashi (toll road), Chitose-ohashi and Konohana-ohashi and returning by Tsuneyoshi-ohashi (in your photo above). Unfortunately, by the time we arrived the light was going and a storm was looming so we saw the incineration plant but not much of the water treatment plant. It took quite a while to get there because we took a lot of photographs on the way. We plan to go again and explore more of Maishima. We had ridden to Taisho-ku before and we are plotting all the ferries and bridges in the bay area that are accessible to pedestrians and cyclists. I have found your blog really interesting and have now read it all! Good stuff! Actually my original quest was to find traditional Irish music in Osaka. If you can help me find some outlets I would be really pleased. Thanks.

  2. Hi Dale, I’m very pleased that you found my blog interesting and took the time to comment. Your trip to Maishima (with photos) sounds like it would make a very interesting blog post! I would certainly be interested. I think the free ferries around the port area are a great service.

    I don’t know where you can listen to Irish music in Osaka. The only lead I can think of is Knit’s official page But the only event they have listed is a tin-whistle workshop next Sunday 9th. You could try sending an email to Knit and ask them about Irish music events in Osaka.

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