Sayamaike Museum
2 Ikejiri-naka, Osakasayama-shi
Osaka-fu 589-0007

Tadao Ando 2001

The Sayamaike Historical Museum is located on the edge of Sayamaike Pond, a reservoir in Osakasayama, Japan, dating back to the seventh century which was converted into a flood control dam. The museum was built to house the relics of the site that were discovered during reconstruction and to inform the visitor of ancient Japanese water engineering.  

The museum is a large rectangular box and a smaller rectangular box flanked by a water plaza. The two rectangular forms are connected by a circular form that serves as part of the rich spatial sequence into the interior of the museum.

So as not to disturb the landscape the walls above ground are made of rough cut granite stone.  Following a path along the waters of Sayamaike visitors pass a wall of rough granite blocks to arrive at a concrete plaza. From here the visitor descends down a staircase, below the calm tranquil pools of water on the upper level that reflect the rectangular volumes, into a water plaza with cascading water falls on both sides.


The space is animated by the sound of water falling as one passes through the recessed walkway behind a curtain of water. This corridor is further animated not only by the sound of water but by light as it hits the water. 

  At the end of this corridor one enters a cylindrical volume that silences the sound of the water and leads the visitor into the interior of the museum.

The building's main volume, a triple height exhibition hall, was determined by the dimensions of the museumís main archaeological relic; a 15.4 meter tall by 62 meter long wall that was excavated through the old dam. A ramp winds its way around the excavated wall to other parts of the museum exhibitions. Openings on the upper level also allow views of the excavated relic.


Kari Silloway 2004

How to visit

From Osaka take the Nankai Koya Line to Osakasayamashi Station. The museum is a ten-minute walk to the west from the station.

The museum of open from 10am-5pm Tuesday to Sunday. 

For more information please call +81 72-367-8891 or visit

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Tadao Ando: Light and Water
Tadao Ando, Kenneth Frampton, Massimo Vignelli

Readable, beautifully presented book featuring this and other works by Tadao Ando


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