Subscribe to the Mountains of Wisdom Mailer

* indicates required



Local business, local knowledge

In the middle of the rice fields on the edge of Tsuruoka City in the Shonai region of Yamagata, Japan, lies Suiden Terrasse, a newly built hotel designed to blend into the surrounding rice paddies. It was designed by world-renown architect, Shigeru Ban, who also designed Christchurch’s Cardboard Cathedral, and was won numerous awards for his architecture around the world, including the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize.

The thing is, Shigeru Ban is not a local. No matter how great an architect is, no matter how prestigious or how well-known around the world, local knowledge is a necessity when it comes to great design. Don’t get me wrong, Suiden Terrrasse is a great building. It is mainly wooden, has a great design features all throughout, and is designed to appear to float above the rice paddies. Functionally, the interior is great, with the paths of the patrons well thought out, and a wooden aesthetic that I just can’t get enough of.

I was shocked when the other day I went to Suiden Terrasse and saw these giant icicles hanging right above the main entrance. At that time I also heard that since the structure is built on the edge of the rice fields, there’s no way to get outside to clean the windows.

But hey, he certainly did a better job than I could ever do. It’s also led to some work for me, I translated their website, and all the times I’ve been there, I’ve had an enjoyable time. Next time, more consideration of local knowledge may be necessary to make the ultimate location.

Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi


Hi, I’m Tim Bunting AKA the Kiwi Yamabushi, a New Zealander who became a Yamabushi Ascetic in the Dewa Sanzan mountains of north Japan. I’m part of the Yamabushido team, and we host life-altering Yamabushi training on the Dewa Sanzan (website link). People come to us for the ultimate mindfulness experience, to reach the next level, or simply connect with nature and themselves.

I’m on a mission to summit all 100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata Prefecture to spread the splendour of this fabulous location, and in dedication to all those who lost their lives out in nature, including my father.

On my daily blog I post thoughts of a practicing Yamabushi that I hope people can use to better themselves and live as fulfilling a life as possible.

Sign up to the weekly Mountains of Wisdom newsletter, follow me on social (Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, Clubhouse, all @kiwiyamabushi), or send me an email via the link below to stay in touch.



Subscribe to my weekly yamabushi newsletter


painting of a boxer on wall
Hit the Ground Running: Start your New Year’s Resolutions Now
selective focus photography of traffic light
Life is all the permission you need
painting of a boxer on wall
The ultimate Dojo


Quality over quantity
The Holy Fool
woman draw a light bulb in white board
Don’t sit on it


At least the meringue was good!
Building from scratch
The on switch


Get In Touch

Sakata City, Yamagata, Japan 


All photos my own. Contact for more. 

Share this:

Like this:

Like Loading...
Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: