staying in a yard

A completely new blend of light,
greenery, and water, and of local culture,
creating a yard where people can stay.
Perhaps there is a place to just do nothing,
that nobody has ever discovered.

YAWN YARD is a place to stay. After experiencing this location and breathing the atmosphere, we gave a great deal of thought to what could be done here. Chatting with local people led to the idea of creating a yard where we could slow down and take things easy in the way that we had discovered, tucked away on this land. We wondered what sort of house would be best for getting to know the local breezes and greenery. And if the style of life here were a chair, what sort of chair would it be? Could we adopt the core spirit of home cooking, use ingredients sourced from within 100 kilometers, and prepare food from a contemporary perspective? We tried out our ideas one at a time, without unnatural modifications or ornamentation, keeping our focus on putting together a farsighted, satisfying way of It’s a pleasure to meet you. Welcome to the Yawn Yard.

LocationKouri Island, Okinawa.
Arrive before the sun goes down.

Kouri, home to just four hundred people, is a small island that you can drive all the way around in about fifteen minutes. The Yambaru region of Okinawa is a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site just ninety minutes by car to the north of Naha Airport. Close to forests that have been there for a hundred million years, crossing two bridges takes you onto the island of Kouri, which nestles in the sea near the coast of Okinawa’s main island. Kouri does not have many shops or tourist attractions, but you have sea on all sides, and wherever you go, you can feel the ocean breeze. There are three emerald green beaches on the south side, and three on the north side. And any of the narrow lanes will take you into a place where people live in tune with Okinawan culture. Best of all, there is no better island for enjoying the sights produced by the sky, the sea, and the sun. YAWN YARD is open to the sea, and it makes a perfect vantage point for watching the setting sun. Make sure to arrive before the sun goes down.

FoodEating together, the best medicine

Seeking a contemporary version of Yambaru kusuimun, we went full in on foods and ingredients produced within about 30 km. Kusuimun is the idea that all food acts as medicine, and it informs a way of life passed down through the generations in Okinawa. We find fish, shellfish, and mozuku seaweed harvested from the sea around the island, pork from pigs native to Okinawa, Haneji rice, Okinawan miso and unrefined cane sugar, and even spices and condiments produced in Yambaru. We work with the local community to bring to our table foods that do not normally reach the market. We do not produce high cuisine, but we use these ingredients in meals that lead to exciting new discoveries, like the joy of eating in the midst of nature.

ArchitectureA yard for getting to know the sky, the sea, and the right amount of sun

YAWN YARD is open to the sea, and includes villas with two small buildings joined by a large roof. The eaves between the two buildings act like a big tree, providing a shady space where eight people—adults and children—can chill. A local designer has used a simple rustic combination of Ryukyu limestone and local bricks to produce endearing furniture with a chunky image inspired by folk implements. And after the sun goes down, everyone heads for the outdoor dining area, where specially designed lighting gives us all a reddish tinge that seems to make the shared meal even more enjoyable.


Jo Nagasaka

Architect | Jo Nagasaka

/ Photo: Yuriko Takagi


Food Designer | Takashi Ueta

instagram: takashi_ueta

Yoshiaki Irobe

Art Director | Yoshiaki Irobe


Junya Akeyama

Project Director | Junya Akeyama


Kashiwabara Corporation

Project Management |
Kashiwabara Hands



  • Summer 2024
    YAWN YARD opens
    (date TBA)

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YAWN YARD Kouri Islandis now recruiting. Details.