A visit to Japan’s Wasp Nest Art Museum fills us with respect for the industrious insects【Pictures】

The gigantic wasp Mt. Fuji is just one of the amazing pieces on display at Hachi Tengoku.

In Japan, it’s not uncommon to find art museums and galleries in rural areas, particularly scenic mountainous areas, which attract weekend travelers. And that’s how it was on her last trip to Nagano Prefecture our Japanese speaking reporter Haruka Takagi came across a unique art collection Hachi Tengoku…whose name means translated “Wasp heaven.”

▼ Hachi Tengoku (Bee Heaven)

Nor is it about a place just picking a wild-sounding name to attract attention and visitors. The art exhibited at Hachi Tengoku in Tomi City was actually created by wasps. So what kind of art do they make?

Absolutely gigantic wasp nests!

The art projects are actually a bit a cross-species collaboration. Turns out, wasps have an instinctive desire to smooth the outer surfaces of their nests. Knowing this, the staff at Hachi Tengoku found that if you place two nests side by side and connect them into a smooth mass, the hardworking insects begin to fill in the gap between them. So if you collect a whole bunch of nests and group them together…

… after all, you can end up with something like this.

You may notice that some of these nests sit on wood carvings of the Chinese Zodiac. 2022 is the year of the tiger and this year’s jumbo nest, currently being crafted from about 20 combined nests, is scheduled to be exhibited later this month.

▼ Smaller but still huge nests are used in mixed media pieces like this one.

There really seems to be no limit to how big a nest can be using Hachi Tengoku’s technique. For example, Here is a replica of the shinkansen made of combined nests.

Hachi Tengoku has so much art that they can’t all fit on the first floor of the building, so Haruka went up the stairs…

… and then kept looking up to marvel at the majesty of wasp Mt. Fuji, which is 3,776 meters (12,388 feet) tall!

Wasp Mt. Fuji consists of 160 nestsand required the work of some 160,000 wasps. This sense of teamwork and dedication is why, along with the artwork, you’ll see signs with such compelling messages as “Wasps deserve our respect!!” (Bees deserve respect!!) throughout the facility.

And it’s hard not to be impressed when you see things like this Wasp Space Shuttle

wasp squash

…and this tower that Hachi Tengoku applied to the Guinness World Records organization for certification as the tallest tower in the world.

Then there are the smaller but still clever pieces like that wasp uma

wasps waving cats

…and more.

There’s even a souvenir shop, but it blurs the language lines. Wasps are called in Japanese Suzumebach and bees Mitsubishibut “hey‘ is often thrown around as a catch-all term for both. Hence the art exhibited at Hachi Tengoku Suzumebachit is Mitsubishi who keep the gift shop stocked with different types of honey, like the sakura honey that Haruka picked up.

But hey, Hachi Tengoku is a place to throw all kinds of celebrations heyand really, after being so excited about the nests they build, eating wasp dumplings would have made Haruka feel a little weird again.

location information
Hachi Tengoku / Bee Heaven
Address: Nagano-ken, Tomi-shi, Shikazawa 435-1
435-1 Kazawa, Tomi City, Nagano Prefecture
Open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m
Admission 300 yen (adults), 100 yen (junior high/high school students) (elementary school age and younger children free)
website

Photos ©SoraNews24
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