Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Yoro : Site of Reversible Destiny

Yoro in Gifu prefecture is famous for the Yoro Park, a site with a number of attractions and things to do. This large park has a Children's park, a public park, camping and Barbecue area, golf area, tennis courts, nature trail , Alpine Rental cabins and the famous Yoro Waterfalls. But perhaps the most unique of all is ' The Site of Reversible Destiny'. 

The Site of Reversible Destiny is an 'experience park' that opened up in October 1995 . It is the creation of Nagoya-born New York based Arakawa  Shusaku and his partner Madeline Gins. Together they co founded the Reversible Destiny Foundation, an organisation dedicated to the use of architecture to extend the human lifespan. 

Visitors to the site are "challenged to rethink their physical and spiritual orientation to the world and instead of being fearful of losing balance, look forward to it ", in Arakawa's own words as per the Park's brochure. 

The site is spread across 2000 square feet area at the foothills of the surrounding mountains. The absurd architecture of the buildings, weird angles at which objects appear suspended, sloped floors, endless mazes make it an interesting sight. A garden in the park is planted with 24 species of medicinal herbs. 5 Maps of Japan are also set in the various architectures. 
The first building that one encounters on entering the park is the Reversible Destiny Office, which is built as a pastel colored maze and visitors need to cross the maze to access other parts of the park. The ceiling design is a reflection of the floor. 
The Insect Mountain Range is a tall pile of rocks that one comes across upon exiting the Reversible Destiny Office. It was Arakawa's way of showing that humans don't have to be subjugated to the natural world but can create alternative nature instead. The name is derived from the fact that people clamber up the rocks in a manner similar to insects in search of water. A good view of the entire park can be enjoyed from the Insect Mountain Range.      
The next building one reaches is the Critical Resemblance House which is a cramped maze like structure.
Furniture, appliances, toilets and household stuff are all crammed in the narrow corridors and even on the ceiling. 

The roof of this building is shaped like the map of Gifu Prefecture, where the park is located. 

The directions for enjoying the park also encourage visitors to try stuff like walking backwards, swinging around suddenly or even walking with eyes closed.The challenge is to be able to overcome the fear of losing balance and instead looking forward to losing balance !

The Elliptical Field is backed by a hollow concrete wall and consists of nine pavilions which are a reproduction of the Critical Resemblance House. 
Visitors have to clamber unsteadily up some steep slopes. Some of the sections have interesting names like Exactitude Ridge, Imaging Navel, Trajectory Membrane Gate. The walls and floors are painted with interesting street names and maps.

A long walkway takes visitors up a narrow wall which gradually rises and offers a great view of the park and the surrounding areas. 

The Geographical Ghost is hidden beneath trees and the narrow path inside leads to a pitch dark dead end. 
The only light is from a map of Japan shaped opening in the ceiling. 
The Destiny House represents the ruins of an ancient building. Under the glass one can see furniture. This is also called the Landing Site depot, where one is encouraged to pretend being an extra terrestrial !
The Kinesthetic Pass sits on an area which represents Kyushu on the big map of Japan. Like most other places in the park, here too furniture is placed at weird angles. Once you sit, its difficult to stand up easily. 
Children will especially love walking around and exploring. Our 6 year old kid said it was like an adventure in topsy turvy land ! In all it is a fun experience for the whole family.

Opening hours: 9:30 am -5:00 pm (Entry closes at 4:30 pm)

Address: Gifu Prefecture, Yoro gun, Yoro cho, Takabayashi 1298-2

Phone: 0584-32-4592

Admission: 710 yen for Adults, High School students 510 yen and Children 300 yen.
                  (We were charged 510 yen /Adult when we visited the park on 23rd March 2014)

Closed on : Mondays,( in case Monday is public holiday, closed on Tuesdays);
                   December 29-31 

Note: The Park may be closed in case of inclement weather. 

Parking: Paid parking available in Yoro Park. 

Access: By car: Less than an hour's drive from Nagoya. 
             By train: JR Tokaido Line from Nagoya to Ogaki Station and change over to Yoro                    Line to Yoro; 15 minute walk or 5 minute taxi ride from Yoro station to the park. 

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