When the organic, happenstance beauty of nature is sharply juxtaposed with the planned and managed order of a city, it’s hard not to be captivated by the imagery.
A gigantic sinkhole in a city street is one particularly terrifying example, while a beach at the airport is far more pleasant. In Okinawa, Japan, however, they have taken the striking visual symbolism of ‘a tree growing in Brooklyn’ to a whole new level, with a gigantic Banyon tree left standing majestically in the middle of a busy city grid.
But it doesn’t stop there. An ancient tree standing tall and silent amongst the swirling traffic and blinking lights of the city would be interesting enough, but perched in its massive branches is a diner, the Gajumaru treehouse diner, offering a unique dining experience overlooking the city and the beautiful Naha Harbor beyond.
Reached via spiral staircase, diners can feel like they are traveling into another world, more natural and ancient, just a few stories above the bustling streets of Okinawa.
The beautiful view from the restaurant’s wide picture windows and airy balconies is at once surreal and mesmerizing. Flanked by gigantic limbs that grip the tiny-seeming restaurant in their palm like fingers from the the hand of a long-forgotten god or titan, the sights, sounds, and motion of the city below are ever-present, but seem miles away. Further, the gentle waters of Naha Harbor would make this an ideal view for any restaurant, let alone one perched high in a single treetop, reminding customers of the astounding nature that once existed, and still surrounds, their beautiful city.
Update: As of 2015, this restaurant no longer exists. The entire structure has been torn down.