01Stairs leading up to A-Factory
03Skip Egg chief pastry chef Koji Seki and employee
04Testing the cider’s acidity on site
05A-Factory Aomori Cidre
06Shoppers at Food Marché
07Tsugaru Hyakka’s vinegar drink
08Aomori soup using local ingredients
10Hatorazu Fuji apples
11Barrels for apple brandy
13Stairway leading to second-floor loft
14Tokyo to Shin-Aomori Shinkansen
- A-Factory’s Aomori Cidre “Standard” (5 per cent alcohol)
- Skip Egg patisserie’s pies
- Hatorazu Fuji Apples
- Aomori Royal Hotel Curry
- Tsugaru Hyakka’s vinegar drink
Sachiho Ebina, model
“Coming here is like rediscovering Aomori.”
“I live nearby and came to visit my friend who is a vegetable sommelier at the market.”
Inaugurated last December, the Tohoku Shinkansen train line provides the first direct route from Tokyo to Aomori and its new Shin-Aomori station. The efficient service makes 15 round trips a day and shaves 39 minutes off the previous four-hour journey time.
Q&A - Masamichi Katayama, Wonderwall
What did JR East ask you to do?
It wanted a fantasy-like factory in Aomori.
What were the challenges of designing a cider-making factory?
I ran through many different simulations to figure out where to place it inside the building. I chose to put it where it is so anyone who is shopping or dining would easily get a glimpse of the cider-making area.
What makes this building different from other commercial spaces in Japan?
It’s rare to build on the waterfront in Japan and A-Factory also has an outside deck where you can put tables and chairs. Although the building has a roof, I wanted to create the feeling of a lively, open-air market. It’s also a factory. So its design is rough and primitive. It’s unusual to find such a spacious building with high ceilings that isn’t divided into two stories.