Kamikatz: a 100% recycled pub in Japan

Posted on 23 December 2016.

Made entirely from waste, the Kamikatz Public House is the pride of the inhabitants of Kamikatsu – it symbolizes the environmental commitment of the whole of this Japanese town.

How many types of waste do you sort? Glass, paper, plastic, organic waste... Three, perhaps even four or five. The people in Kamikatsu sort 34 categories of waste! Nestled in the green mountains of Shikoku island, this small Japanese town now recycles 80% of its garbage and aims to be zero waste by 2020.

The very strict sorting policy, introduced in 2003, involves many constraints for the 1,700 or so inhabitants. But over the years, their efforts have become firmly ingrained habits thereby hoisting Kamikatsu to the ranks of one of the greenest places in Japan.

So instead of erecting a monument to a local hero or a tutelary kami, the town chose to build a public house using various objects from its recycling center, where clothing, furniture, utensils and old electrical and electronic equipment are collected.

A 100% recycled pub

From floor to ceiling, from the walls painted with persimmon tannin to the interior design, a real bric-a-brac of used objects, everything at the Kamikatz Public House comes from recovered materials, recycled waste materials and locally available sustainable materials.

The architects at Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP employed all their inventiveness to design a space that is both comfortable and modern. The building is amazing, with an imposing eight meter high side façade made up of a patchwork of windows salvaged from abandoned houses around Kamikatsu. An original creation that not only lets in light, but also naturally ventilates the building in summer and improves the insulation in winter.

Inside is a floor studded with tiles unearthed in a former tile factory, a huge multicolored chandelier made of glass bottles, farm equipment and wedding chests converted into cupboards and shelves, old newspapers used as wallpaper... The place is full of great ideas and small improvised wonders.

The Kamikatz Public House now attracts tourists who want to share a craft beer with the people of Kamikatsu from all over Japan. This year, it received the Wan Sustainable Buildings Award, a prestigious architectural international award presented to the most sustainable buildings in the world.