Yakushima Baton for the Future Project

projectTo a place where we can connect with people
and the world and learn from each other.

Ohzora High School has more than 10,000 active students across Japan, many of whom visit Yakushima each year as part of their lesson requirements.
Yakushima's unique climate and natural features, which cannot be experienced in everyday life, engage visitor's five senses and provide an opportunity for self-reflection and for learning to connect with people and nature. This experience is possible not only because of the contact with nature, but also because students from all over Japan can meet in Yakushima and share their sensations and emotions with each other.

While we do practice education through various hands-on experiences at our main school in Yakushima and Senvus Village, the "Yakushima Baton for the Future Project" was launched based on the idea that Yakushima itself, not just the school campus, is a place of learning.

This project will utilize the Yakushima main school as follows to create cultural value for the future of Yakushima.

A place where students from all over the country can meet and learn from each other through schooling.

A place for international exchange by receiving travellers from abroad.

A place to learn about Yakushima's culture and industry together with people from the local community.

We will work towards becoming a place where people can connect and learn together across regions, countries and generations.

Toward the realization of a place of connection and learning

The Yakushima main school is located on the south side of Yakushima Island overlooking the mountains and the sea. The school, conjuring an image of a blue bird soaring through the big sky (Ohzora means "big sky" in Japanese), is visited by many students throughout the year. With the launch of the project, a new school building will be constructed in order to make it a place not only for students to learn, but also an open place where they can connect with people in the community and the world.

When considering who would create this place with us, we had three important points in mind.

1. To value the local character of Yakushima and to provide a special experience that can only be had here.

2. To be able to convey a message to the children on campus and transmit it to the society.

3. To be able to communicate not only within Japan but also with the rest of the world.

Kengo Kuma's design philosophy of "architecture of defeat" and "soft architecture that integrates with nature" overlaps with our vision, and we decided to commission him to design the new school building.

Kengo Kuma Profile



Architect, born in 1954. Graduated from the school of Architecture at the University of Tokyo. After working as a professor at the University of Tokyo, he is currently a Distinguished Professor and Professor Emeritus at the University of Tokyo. He was struck by Kenzo Tange's Yoyogi Indoor Stadium, which he saw during the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, and aspired to become an architect from an early age. During his graduate school years, he traveled across the Sahara Desert in Africa to research settlements and became fascinated by the beauty and power of settlements. After working as a visiting scholar at Columbia University, he established Kengo Kuma & Associates in 1990. He has designed buildings in more than 30 countries and has received various national and international awards (including the Architectural Institute of Japan Award, the Spirit of Nature Wood Architecture Award from Finland, and the International Stone Architecture Award from Italy). Aiming to create architecture that blends in with the local environment and culture, he proposes gentle and soft designs on a human scale.

2023.11.24 School Principal Kenichiro Mogi & Workawayer

Yakushima, connecting people and the world

Workaway is a website that connects travellers with local hosts. In exchange for help with volunteer work, travellers are usually provided with housing and food. People from overseas come to the main school in Yakushima to volunteer, making it a place to enjoy international exchange.
This time, Principal Mogi had a conversation with two workawayers. We present the interview uncensored, based on Principal Mogi's strong desire to make you feel the international exchange as it really is. Please listen to their voices.

For those interested in Workaway

Yakushima Ohzora High School welcomes workawayers and volunteers from overseas. Would you like to experience the unique nature and culture of Yakushima through volunteer activities and exchange?


2023.08.24Architect - Kengo Kuma & School Principal Kenichiro Mogi
Dialogue about the new school building

"What immediately came to mind were the faces of the students, the coaches."
(in Yakushima Ohzora High School, we call all teachers 'coach')

Based on Kengo Kuma's architectural ideas, opinions were exchanged on how the new school building could be designed to take advantage of Yakushima's location. While discussing how visitors would use the space, Principal Mogi felt inspired imagining the visitor's reactions and how they would feel.
What came to mind during the conversation was how the faces of the students and coaches would light up as they saw the new building. The school will be a place where the students can connect with the local community and the rest of the world, helping visitors to grow emotionally and become the kind of adults they want to be. After the meeting, we now look forward to seeing the final design.

Conversation video

Past topics

Click to open.

▼Architect - Kengo Kuma & School Principal Kenichiro Mogi "Kickoff Conversation"

Media coverage


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