“It looks like a fortress by day and a huge spaceship by night. I see it every day, but I still can't get used to it,” a man visiting a supermarket about a 10-minute drive from the center of the town of Kikuyo, Kumamoto Prefecture, said, looking up as he spoke.

At the center of the small town of Kikuyo, a huge factory is under construction for Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), the world's leading chip manufacturer. The spaceship-shaped structure now dominates the landscape of a peaceful rural town dotted with rice paddies and set against the backdrop of Mount Aso.

The plant stretches over 230,000 square meters, a space more than three-times the size of the Fukuoka PayPay Dome baseball stadium. With operations set to begin in the fall of 2024, construction is proceeding rapidly, with large trucks seen entering the site throughout the day and night.