When you think of ‘gram worthy locations in Osaka, the city dump is hardly something that springs to mind.
Yes, it is a building full of garbage, but it happens to be the coolest building full of garbage in the world.
It seems just about right that 30% of foreign tourists mistake the place for Universal Studios.
Upon establishing that this building is Maishima (not USJ), nerding out on the plant tour obviously isn’t going to be for everyone. The other reason they run tours at Maishima is for the unique architecture.
This clever harmony of technology, ecology and art was designed by famed German artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser.
Every surface of the exterior is brightly coloured, and no two walls or windows are the same.
That wasn’t a mistake either. The whole point of the design is that no two things on the building are exactly the same.
Obviously Maishima Incineration Plant is not the same as the world-famous theme park, which contains attractions from some of this century’s biggest film franchises, but it’s pretty cool nonetheless.
The process from garbage truck arrival to the final product is incredibly complex, and it is explained in great deal on the plan tour, run by passionate employees who are experts when it comes to Maishima.
It runs round the clock to effectively dispose of waste by incinerating it, because not only is ash one fifteenth the size of the original material, but the heat energy is used to power the plant so it is pretty much self-sufficient.
Excess water is also treated so it is up to standard before going back into the public system, and exhaust gas is treated to make it less harmful before release into the atmosphere.
Speaking of self-sufficiency, the plant has been able to sell the electricity it generates, and put it back into the city grid. Thanks to the sales, Maishima made nearly 10 million Yen in a single year.
A Japanese plant, designed by a German, inspired not only by African artists, but also the Dutch master Van Gogh. Maishima was one of Friedensreich Hundertwasser’s last few creations, and one which is truly remarkable in both purpose and design.