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Shishi-Iwa House No.2: A Floating Wine Bar In A Sea Of Trees With A Magnificent Art Collection 

Shishi-Iwa house no. 2

What’s that in the middle of the forest? It’s a house, it’s a bar – no it’s Shishi-Iwa House No. 2! Designed by Japanese architect and Pritzker Prize winner Shigeru Ban, this hotel is a sight to behold.

Shishi-Iwa House No.2

The second project in the Shishi-Iwa House series of hotels, Shishi-Iwa House No. 2 had its grand debut in May 2022. Each of the hotels in the series are meant to be constructed in conjunction with nature, and ShiShi-Iwa House No. 2 is no different.

Shishi iwa house - patio
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Ban envisioned this particular hotel as an installation that disrupts the natural world as little as possible; the building itself is built around nature, rather than altering nature to fit the building.

Shishi iwa house - toilet
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In order to accomplish this, Ban commissioned a map of the trees in 2018, so as to design the establishment according to existing tree placements.

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The architect’s model of SSH2.

Image credit: ShiShiIwaHouse

The hotel is located close to Shishi-Iwa No.1, in the town of Karuizawa at the foot of Mount Asama in Nagano Prefecture, northwest of Tokyo.

The region is rich in all things related to culture and art, with multiple museums, art galleries, and art studios making a home in the area. Many wealthy people living in urban areas tend to own holiday homes in Karuizawa, so as to take advantage of its tranquil surroundings and fascinating local establishments.

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Karuizawa Senju Museum.

Image credit: ShiShiIwaHouse

More about ShiShi-Iwa House No.2

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ShiShi Iwa House

Known as the Skywalker House, ShiShi-Iwa House No. 2 features only 12 guest rooms, each painstakingly designed by Shigeru Ban. The design aims to showcase the natural elements of the materials used in the building of the rooms, without taking away from the beauty and functionality of it all. 

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Lounge area of SSH2.

Image credit: ShiShiIwaHouse

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The Hinoki Cypress Bath in one of SSH2’s guestrooms.

Image adapted from: @shishiiwahouse

The hotel includes a 30-seat restaurant that offers a seasonal menu, featuring delectable dishes made with fresh local ingredients.

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The two-storey establishment offers great views of the greenery outside, with the wine and whiskey bar on the second floor making one feel as if they’re on one of the floating islands of Pandora in Avatar.

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The bar lounge in SSH2.

Image adapted from: @katoriko1106

This forest paradise also features an extensive art collection, much like its predecessor – House No. 1 houses art from the Japanese avant-garde Gutai movement, whereas House No. 2 showcases works from old masters and contemporary photographers. 

Shishi iwa house - art
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ShiShi Iwa House

Visitors can appreciate the massive collection of art that fills the hotel in addition to the art that the nearby towns offer. 

Philosophy behind ShiShi-Iwa House

Designed to be a retreat for people wishing to relax and be surrounded by nature, art and solitude, Shishi-Iwa House is a series of hotels that hopes to encourage guests to make connections with nature and those around them.

Shishi iwa house - outside
Image credit:
ShiShi Iwa House

The decor and structure of each of their establishments give guests a place to retreat from worldly concerns, and stimulates their creativity. 

Getting to ShiShi-Iwa House No.2

The second in the ShiShi-Iwa House series, ShiShi Iwa House No.2 is the place to visit for art fanatics and people seeking a quiet place to wind down. Upcoming works from the series include hotels designed by Japanese architects Ryue Nishizawa and Kazuyo Sejima.

Bookings for ShiShi-Iwa House No.2 can be made now, on their website.

For those coming from Tokyo, ShiShi Iwa House No.2 is an hour’s ride by bullet train followed by a ten minute taxi ride, or a 3-hour ride by car.

Address: 2147-646 Nagakura, Karuizawa-machi, Kitasaku-gun, 389-0111 Nagano
Telephone: 080-7691-6020

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Cover image adapted from (clockwise from left): @katoriko1106, ShiShi Iwa House, and ShiShi Iwa House