Hyogo: Ivy-covered Prefectural Govt Building Keeps Cool in Summer

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Ivy covering a government office building in Sanda, Hyogo Prefecture

SANDA, Hyogo — A building with concrete walls completely covered with ivy is drawing attention before summer is in full swing. While the building looks like a ruin, it is actually a branch office of the Hyogo prefectural government.

According to the official in charge of managing the four-story building, it was built in 1980 when the population of Sanda, Hyogo Prefecture, was growing rapidly. The ivy was already planted at that time. In 2006, the prefectural government considered removing the ivy in conjunction with seismic reinforcement work, but the decision was made to keep it after an arborist said, “It’s rare to see such magnificent ivy.”

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A refreshingly cool view seen from inside the building

The ivy covering the building has been managed by a landscaping company ever since. It attracts snakes and caterpillars and is difficult to clean when the leaves fall in autumn. However, it is environmentally friendly as it is a natural way to keep temperatures from rising even on very hot days.

When looking out the windows, the leaves sparkle in the sunlight, and the refreshing view is like a painting. One feel as if they have wandered into a forest. Employees are proud of working in the “ivy government building.”