The Arte Piazza Bibai, the Bibai Art Plaza, is a sculpture park in the mountains where forty sculptures of Kan Yasuda, an internationally renowned sculptor, are exhibited. The project was initiated by the City of Bibai and Kan Yasuda in 1992 to revitalize the city with arts and cultural promotion, as well as to preserve old architectures and the surrounding nature. Bibai, once one of the largest coal mining cities, has been suffering from critical depopulation. The art plaza, including the restored closed-down school facilities and the studio, is currently managed by the NPO.

Above all, the feature lies in Kan Yasuda's sculptures. In minimal forms in white marble and black bronze, they profoundly harmonize with the nature, while attracting people. They are often described as organic or sacred presence providing cheer and tranquility.

The 70,000 square meter (17 acre) park of woods and lawns, surrounded by mountains and a river, enjoys seasonal changes of nature as well. Pastel cherry and magnolia blossoms, lush green poplar and plane trees, blazing maple and ginkgo leaves, and glaring white snow blankets. Deer, foxes and squirrels come along. Children play happily in a thin stream of water running over a spread of marble pebbles and beneath the sculptures.

The restored schoolhouse, a two-story wooden structure which was once the standard for elementary schools in Japan, now brings back the memories of old times to not only the community but the visitors. Part of the structure is used as a city kindergarten. The Arte Piazza Bibai earned the Togo Murano Award of Japan in 2002 as the best architectural project to reach people's minds.

The former school gymnasium and the marble stage on a hillside serve suitable venues for concerts, performance plays and lectures, the former schoolhouse for exhibitions and the studio for an educational purpose. Festivals and other cultural activities take place in the park occasionally.

The Arte Piazza Bibai has long presented its pioneering vision for people, nature and arts. It is realized by Kan Yasuda's outstanding sculptures which embrace the essential of arts: people recognize, or remind them of, the meanings of time and space within themselves.

The park is open daily.

The facilities are open on Wednesdays to Mondays 10am-5pm.

Closed on Tuesdays, the days after the public holidays, and December 31-January 5

Admission free

By train:
From Sapporo 40 minutes to Bibai Station of JR Hakodate Honsen, from Chitose International Airport 90 minutes via Sapporo. 15 minutes by bus or taxi from Bibai Station.

By car:
From Sapporo JCT on Hokkaido Expressway, 40 minutes to Bibai IC and 5 minutes east off the Expressway.
Ochiai-cho Sakae-Machi, Bibai, Hokkaido, Japan,
phone +81-126-63-3137