Maishima Incineration Plant: World’s Prettiest Garbage Facility?

Mishima sits on a manmade island in Osaka Bay. This island is known for its beautiful lily garden and the giant stadium for Osaka’s basketball team, Edessa. However, another attraction of this island is Maishima Incineration Plant. Yes, a garbage-burning facility! It may sound weird, but his plant is very interesting because of its unique design. The plant looks so unusual that some people mistake it for part of the nearby Universal Studio Japan.

About the Maishima Incineration Plant

When Osaka bided to host the 2008 Olympics, the city decided that Maishima would be the main venue for the Olympic site. Because this island was made with the expressed purpose of being attractive, Osaka decided to make artistic incineration plants to the tune of 60 billion yen (roughly 600 million dollars). Unfortunately, Osaka did not end up hosting the Olympics and people criticized the city for wasting taxpayer money.

The plant’s designer is the world famous Friedensreich Hundertwasser. He designed several other buildings in Osaka, but he has only designed two garbage plants in the entire world. He passed away before completing the plant, meaning this is one of his last works.

signature of Friedensreich Hundertwasser at the Maishima Incineration Plant
Friedensreich Hundertwasser also designed Spittelau Incinerator in Vienna


A characteristic of Hundertwasser designs is a lack of perfectly straight lines. As such there are many curved lines throughout the factory.

Maishima Incineration Plant
Maishima Incinerattion Plant. Yellow and red lines represent fire
Living in harmony with nature is a big theme in this plant, so it is surrounded by trees and plants.
The Maishima Incineration Plant has many windows most of them are purely for decoration.
each ball is a million yen and there are more than 100 balls here…

Not only is the plant unique to look at but this plant is actually pretty high-tech. For example, when they burn the garbage, they utilize the vapor to generate power and then use that power to burn the garbage.

Maishima Incineration Plant

Factory Tour

You can always come and take a look at the outside of this facility and but if you want to go inside you need a reservation (only available by phone and must be a week in advance). However, they have several “Open Days”, when the public can come and take a look inside without a reservation. Make sure to check their website to see when the next Open Day is!

Take the elevator up to start the tour!!
Elements of Hundertwasser’s design are consistent throughout the building.

Inside of the plant you can see the actual garbage collecting machines as well as the information about the way trash is processed and several hands-on activities. Some people may worry there is a smell because this is a garbage processing site, but you won’t smell a thing.

This plant only covers a few wards out of 23 wards in Osaka City. It is quite shocking to learn how much trashing people generate.

Hmm maybe we produce too much garbage

Maishima Sludge Center

Right across the street from the Maishima Incineration Center is the Maisima Sludge Center. The Maishima Sludge Center is the sewage control center, but you will not smell a thing even if you get really close to it. Hundertwasser also designed this plant. 

Sadly, there is no “Open Day” at the Sludge Center, so you have to make a reservation if you want to go inside. However, like Incineration Center, it is fun to just go and see the outside of the building.

The design of each of the pillars is different.
Maishima Sludge Center




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