Tadao Ando, the Japanese architect famous for his minimal designs, has produced an open-air prayer hall for a 13.4m-high statue of the Buddha in Sapporo’s Makomanai Takino Cemetery, on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.
The head of the 1,500 tonne Buddha peeks out of a circular opening in the concrete hall, as a sign of respect.
The 15-year-old statue previously sat alone in a lavender field, but locals thought that the Buddha alone may be too imposing.
Ando said: "The design intention was to create a vivid spatial sequence, beginning with the long approach through the tunnel in order to heighten anticipation of the statue, which is invisible from the outside.
"When the hall is reached, visitors look up at the Buddha, whose head is encircled by a halo of sky at the end of the tunnel."