2021 New Year’s in Japan: 5 Must-Visit Illumination Spots
27.December.2020 | SPOT
Illumination and light-up events are a huge part of winter and the holiday season in Japan, but when Christmas ends, many of them are turned off until next year. But there are still some that run through the New Year holidays and into early spring, so we’ve compiled a list of 5 must-visit illumination and light-up spots to visit over the next couple of months.
Please note that the times and dates of these events are subject to change depending on the COVID-19 situation.
Tochigi: The Garden of Illuminated Flowers ~Flower Fantasy 2020~
Ashikaga Flower Park in Ashikaga, Tochigi, is holding an illumination event for winter called “The Garden of Illuminated Flowers ~Flower Fantasy 2020~” until February 7, 2021. Held for the 19th time this year, the event was ranked among the Top 3 biggest light-up events in Japan in 2017 alongside Sapporo White Illuminations and Huis Ten Bosch Illuminations. It was also ranked top by night view critics in Japan as the best illumination event for four consecutive years.
Full Details: https://www.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/366535
▼The Garden of Illuminated Flowers ~Flower Fantasy 2020~
Address: 607 Hasamacho, Ashikaga, Tochigi
Running: October 17, 2020 – February 7, 2021
Official Website: https://www.ashikaga.co.jp/flowerfantasy_special2020/en/index.html
▼MIDTOWN WINTER MOMENTS
Tokyo Midtown’s winter season event ‘MIDTOWN WINTER MOMENTS’ is running until February 28, 2021. “ANOTHER WORLD” is the concept for this year’s rendition of the annual event, which is enjoying new winter illuminations, Christmas decorations, an ice rink, and plenty of other fun experiences for people to enjoy throughout the entire day, right into the evening. A highlight of the event is the “MIDTOWN WINTER LIGHTS,” warm illuminations to light fires in hearts during the cold winter season that will create a dazzling spectacle the likes of which cannot be missed.
Full Details: https://www.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/366420
▼MIDTOWN WINTER MOMENTS
Running: November 19, 2020 – February 28, 2021
Official Website: https://www.tokyo-midtown.com
Kanagawa: SAGAMIKO ILLUMILLION’s ‘Pokémon Illuminations’
Lake Sagami Pleasure Forest’s annual SAGAMIKO ILLUMILLION winter event is taking place until April 4, 2021, and this year, it has brought that a new Pokémon with Pokémon illuminations. Wild Pokémon illuminations roam everywhere and there are plenty of Pokémon photo spots to take your picture with including Pikachu sleeping in the forest, Charmander taking a nap by an open-air, and more.
Full Details: https://www.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/375427
Address: 1634 Wakayanagi, Midori-ku, Sagamihara, Kanagawa
Running: November 14, 2020 – April 4, 2021
Illumination Times: 16:00-21:00 (Last Entries 20:30)
*Illumination times to begin from 17:00 starting in February
Official Website: https://www.sagamiko-resort.jp/illumillion/
Nagano: Karuizawa Shiraito Falls Midwinter Light Up
Shiraito Highland Way is holding this year’s Karuizawa Shiraito Falls Midwinter Light Up until February 14, 2021. Karuizawa Shiraito Falls is a 3-meter tall waterfall that spans 70-meters in length. The lights add a warmth to the cool evening and glow under a starry night sky. The event creates a different atmosphere from the summer light-up, allowing visitors to enjoy the enveloping nature in a way that they normally can’t and see beauty they may not have noticed in the area before.
Full Details: https://www.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/379120
▼Karuizawa Shiraito Falls Midwinter Light Up
Location: Karuizawa Shiraito Falls
Running: December 19, 2020 – February 14, 2021
・Christmas Session: December 19th-20th, 24th-27th (17:00-19:00)
・New Year Session: January 2nd-3rd, 8th-11th (17:00-19:00)
・St.Valentine Session: February 11th-14th (17:30-19:30)
*Please see the website for the latest information
*Entry restrictions may be made depending on the number of visitors
Official Website: https://karuizawa-shw.com/
Shizuoka: Hikari no Sumika Winter Illuminations
Toki no Sumika is hosting its 19th annual winter illumination event “Hikari no Sumika” until March 21, 2021. There are many different illumination areas to enjoy at the event, like the Forest of Trees Illuminations, the 370m-long Tunnel of Lights, and more.
Full Details: https://www.moshimoshi-nippon.jp/359381
▼Hikari no Sumika 2020-2021
Running: September 18, 2020 – March 21, 2021
Address: Gotemba Kogen Toki no Sumika, 719 KōyamaGotemba, Shizuoka
Illumination Times: 17:30-22:00
Car Park Spaces: 2,000
Enquiries: 0550-87-3700 (9:00-20:00)
Official Website: http://www.tokinosumika.com/illuminations2017/renewal/
Tokyo Mega Illumination at Tokyo City Keiba to Collaborate with NAKED for AR Experience
2021 marks the fourth year that the Oi Racecourse, also called Tokyo City Keiba, will be bathed in a sea of over eight million colorful lights! The Tokyo Mega Illumination is back from October 16, 2021, until April 10, 2022, and features a water fountain show synchronized to music, a 100-meter tunnel covered in twinkling lights, and more. This year, in the Twinkle area of the event, guests can enjoy various AR illuminations created as a collaboration with NAKED, a creative production company headquartered in Shibuya. The NAKED BIG BOOK interactive experience will also welcome visitors to enjoy a projection mapping experience like no other.
NAKED BIG BOOK
AR Horse Camera Filter
Limited-Time Area: Tree Playing with Lights (Lawn Area)
NAKED’s most popular work, NAKED BIG BOOK, utilizes projection mapping to allow guests to turn the pages of a giant book and experience a unique world separate from their own. Using web filters and AR, guests can also see the object as a pop-up picture book!
During this special collaboration held on a horse racing track, visitors can also see a giant white horse in AR as they explore the grounds. Colorful horseshoes and stars will pop up from people’s footprints, and the sound of visitors’ steps will take on the sound of a horse’s hooves instead. Be sure to make some memories by snapping commemorative photos with themed filters during the event!
Tokyo Mega Illumination 2021-2022
October 16, 2021 – April 10, 2022
Open Saturday and Sunday throughout October (Closed October 31)
Open Daily from November 1, 2021 – January 10, 2022 (Closed on Race Days and January 1)
Open Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Holidays from January 11, 2022 – April 10, 2022 (Closed April 1)
Tickets are sold for the following week. New tickets for the following week go on sale each day at 0:00.
Official Site: https://www.tokyomegaillumi.jp/
Kurobe Gorge Trekking Tour Offers Breathtaking Two-Day Trolley Journey
13.October.2021 | SPOT
The Kurobe Gorge Trolley in Toyama will offer a special two-day journey through the fall foliage on October 29 and November 1, 2021.
On the day of the tour, guests will enjoy a leisurely journey through nature as a Kurobe Gorge tour guide explains the features of the surrounding environment.
Kurobe Gorge Trekking Tour
Deadline for Applications:
- October 29, 2021 – By October 18, 2021
- November 1, 2021 – By October 21, 2021
*Applications will close once capacity is reached.
30 guests per tour on a first-come, first-served basis.
Official Site: https://www.kurotetu.co.jp
Rosa & Berry Tawada English Garden Celebrates 10 Years with Light-Up Event
In scenic Shiga prefecture, visitors can find one of the largest light-up events in the Kansai region. The Rosa & Berry Tawada park is celebrating ten years in 2021, and to celebrate this milestone, the Rosa & Berry Illumination 2021 is covering the space in thousands of brightly colored rainbow lights!
Giant 4-meter Wreath and Treehouse
Constructing the Giant Wreath
Glittering Balloons & Rainbow Churros
The main stage, Stardust Lake, is located beside the Galaxy Railroad area. Guests can experience the beauty of Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan, as they wander the illuminated grounds. Don’t miss this year’s unique light show ‘Rainbow of Hope,’ a wish for the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In commemoration of the park’s 10th anniversary, a huge wreath over four meters wide will be hung within the park. Created by Yoshihi Futana, the wreath was created with carefully collected plants that were starting to wither. The size is sure to impress, so don’t miss your chance to snap a picture with this work of art!
The church-like building sitting atop a hill in the park is decorated with illuminated flowers made by creative team You Ru Maru. Fans of Shaun the Sheep can enjoy a store dedicated to the popular character and his friends on-site, some hotpot during the cooler months at the Kotatsu Nabe restaurant, and a hot cup of tea overlooking the lights at the Hillside Cafe Tearoom. Don’t forget to grab a rainbow churro as you wander around the park!
Rosa & Berry Illumination 2021 ~Hills of Twinkling Lights~
Running: October 8, 2021 – February 14, 2022 (Closed Tuesdays)
Hours: 17:30-21:00 (*Hours change depending on the season)
Address: Rosa & Berry Tawada English Garden (Maibara, Shiga Prefecture)
Official Site: https://www.rb-tawada.com
Kyoto’s Kurodani Temple, Typically Closed to the Public, to Accept Visitors for Limited Time
Constructed in 1175, the Kurodani Temple is one of the head temples of the Jodo Sect of Buddhism. Though typically closed to the public, the grounds will open for a short period to allow guests to experience some beautiful autumn scenery beginning November 12, 2021. This temple is associated with the Shinsengumi and served as the headquarters of the Aizu Clan at the end of the Edo period, so those interested in history won’t want to miss out on this incredible opportunity.
[Night] Shiun Garden
[Day] Autumn Leaves at the Main Gate
[Day] Shiun Garden
[Night] Autumn Leaves at the Main Gate
Temple Grounds at Sunset
The Tiger’s Room
Live Koto Performance
Gokoushiyuiamidabutsu, ‘Afro Buddha’
Guests will be able to enjoy the gorgeous autumn temple scenery during both daytime and nighttime, with the night viewing also offering some traditional Japanese live music. Visitors can also see various temple treasures and historical items, as well as the Tiger Room, known for its painted doors. The unique and aptly named Afro Buddha will also be on display. After training for an extremely long period of time, the Buddha’s hair piled up, giving him this strangely modern appearance.
On a clear day, guests will be able to see clear to the Abeno Harukas building in Osaka. Vividly painted ceilings and other statues will completely surround visitors in spiritual history. At night, traditional Japanese music will be played at three different times in the front gardens. On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, the temple will offer a Premium Plan, allowing interested guests to enter the grounds 30 minutes before general admission starts. (This will require reservations made on the official website.) This will also include a guided tour!
How would you like to experience this piece of Japanese history while surrounded by unforgettable autumn foliage?
Special Autumn Viewing
Kudodani Temple, Kyoto – The Head Temple of the Jodo Sect of Buddhism
Address: 121 Kurodanicho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto
Night Viewing Details: https://www.kurodani.jp/lightup/
Day Viewing Details: https://www.kurodani.jp/sp_daytime/
Running: November 12 – December 5, 2021
Hours: 10:00-16:30 (Final Admission at 16:00)
Special Viewing Areas: Mikado, Daihojo, the Gardens, two locations at the main gate
Running: November 12 – December 5, 2021
Hours: 17:30-20:30 (Final Admission at 20:00)
Live traditional Japanese music will be performed in the garden located in front of the Main Hall at 17:45, 18:30, and 19:15
Enjoy “A Magical Moment” at the ‘HIBIYA Magic Time Illumination 2021’ Event
The ‘HIBIYA Magic Time Illumination 2021’ light event will be held in Tokyo Midtown Hibiya, as well as in related associations like Hibiya Area Management, Hibiya Chanter, Tokyo Midtown Hibiya, Hibiya Nakadoori, and Hibiya Chanter’s Area Management locations, between November 18 2021 and February 14 2022. The theme for this year’s illumination event is “A Magical Moment” that can be enjoyed from a distance.
HIBIYA AREA ILLUMINATION
The ‘HIBIYA AREA ILLUMINATION’ transforms Hibiya into a sparkling Christmas scene every year. The trees surrounding the Hibiya area will be lit up in a gradient of colors to represent a new drawn, with the theme “may a wonderful tomorrow shine at the end of today.” Each tree is lit up in a different colour, creating the gradation effect.
Duration: November 18 2021 ~ February 14 2022 (scheduled)
Switched On Between: 17:00 ~ 23:00
Location: Hibiya Nakadoori / Tokyo Midtown Hibiya
HIBIYA WINTER SQUARE
The ‘HIBIYA WINTER SQUARE,’ installed at the Hibiya Step Plaza, has been designed to be viewed while maintaining distance from the other visitors, creating an all-new experience for the New Normal era.
Duration: November 18 ~ December 26 2021 (scheduled)
*The main staircase illuminations are scheduled to remain installed until February 14 2022.
Switched On Between: 17:00 ~ 23:00
Location: Tokyo Midtown Hibiya 1F, Hibiya Step Plaza
PARK VIEW WINTER GARDEN
The 6F Park View Garden overlooks Hibiya Park, Kyoko Gaien, and Hibiya Doori, making it the perfect seasonal evening viewing spot. For the first time, this year the lawn will be decorated with gradation colors to match the Hibiya Step Plaza, creating a gorgeous space that looks amazing in photos! Get away from the hustle and bustle of the streets and enjoy the Hibiya illuminations from above.
Duration: November 18 2021 ~ February 14 2022 (scheduled)
Switched On Between: 17:00 ~ 23:00
Location: Tokyo Midtown Hibiya 6F Park View Garden
Earth Christmas Tree
Artificial Art Tree
This year’s illuminations have been designed with Reduce, Reuse, Recycle in mind. The producers have made efforts to be sustainable while creating the Earth Christmas Tree and reduce waste by using LEDs that use 40% less power compared to regular bulbs, while the Artificial Art Tree can be reused year after year.
Enjoy a magical time this winter with the ‘HIBIYA Magic Time Illumination’ while maintaining a safe and considerate distance from the other guests!
HIBIYA Magic Time Illumination 2021
Duration: November 11 2021 ~ February 14 2022
Location: Tokyo Midtown Hibiya, Hibiya Nakadoori, Hibiya Chanter’s Hibiya Area Management locations
Junei Hotel Kyoto Adds New Plan Allowing Guests to Reserve Entire Property
06.October.2021 | SPOT
The Junei Hotel Kyoto Imperial Palace West, a small luxury hotel located in the heart of Japan’s ancient capital, has revealed a new plan allowing guests to rent out the entire premises. Imagine being in a hotel with only your closest family and friends!
The Junei Hotel Kyoto Imperial Palace West – Guest Room
The Junei Hotel Kyoto Imperial Palace West – Bathroom
The Junei Hotel Kyoto – Bamboo Suite
The Junei Hotel Kyoto – Bamboo Suite Bathroom
The Junei Hotel Kyoto – Standard Room
The Junei Hotel Kyoto – Standard Bathroom
The Junei Hotel Kyoto – Breakfast at Futago
The Junei Hotel Kyoto – Futago Restaurant Interior
The Junei Hotel Kyoto – Dinner at Futago
Hozucho River Boat Ride
The Junei Hotel Kyoto Rooftop View of Kiyomizu-dera Lights
The Junei Hotel Kyoto Rooftop Garden Moon Viewing
With two locations in Kyoto, guests will be able to enjoy the entirety of the hotel in complete privacy while still enjoying hotel hospitality. With between 8-11 rooms, this would be the perfect spot for a family gathering, wedding reception, graduation trip with friends, corporate meeting place, or even for overseas guests!
The Junei Hotel Kyoto Imperial Palace West opened in 2017 as a community-based luxury hotel with only eight rooms, with a single mission: bringing the beauty of Japan to the world. Beyond simply finding a place to sleep for the night, the hotel wants guests to experience something special and to provide an unforgettable experience. By partnering with local tourism associations, the Junei Hotel hopes to accurately convey the traditions and singular culture of the city of Kyoto.
In March 2020, a second location opened. The Junei Hotel Kyoto is surrounded by bamboo, and in fact, the theme of the hotel itself is bamboo and the moon. Each of the guest rooms is decorated with traditional and local bamboo crafts, and every detail is pulled from the natural beauty of Higashiyama, Kyoto.
The restaurant attached to the hotel, Futago, is the perfect place for adults to unwind and recharge. The kappo-style course menu features Kyoto vegetables and seasonal ingredients, blending the delicious with the nutritious. Chefs will cook each dish using a variety of methods, and guests will be amazed by how the flavor of the meat changes from course to course. The menu changes each month, so be sure to come back throughout the year!
Guests can also rent out Arashiyama Yusaitei, a gorgeous building deep in the forests of Kyoto perfect for wedding receptions, photoshoots, tea ceremonies, and more. The rooftop garden offers a stunning view of Kiyomizu-dera and is also perfect for moon viewing. Those wanting to get even closer to nature can enjoy a boat ride down the Hozucho river, and for those craving desserts, a Japanese sweets-making class is also available!
Who would you take with you on a private stay at the Junei Hotel Kyoto?
The Junei Hotel Kyoto Imperial Palace West
Address: 3-14 Shimochojamachi, Higashihorikawa-dori, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto
Official Site: https://www.juneihotel.com/imperialpalace/
The Junei Hotel Kyoto
Address: 4-139 Honmachi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto
Official Site: https://www.juneihotel.com/kyoto/
Universal Studio Japan to Expand Super Nintendo World with Donkey Kong Area
Since opening in March, Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan has caught the world’s attention, leading global game fans to pray even harder for Japan to reopen for tourism. Now, the park is scheduled to level up with a new Donkey Kong-themed area scheduled to open in 2024.
Currently, Super Nintendo World is filled with Mario-inspired attractions, dining options, and shops, recreating some of the most memorable parts of the franchise in a larger-than-life way. The new Donkey Kong area will feature a roller coaster and more interactive experiences, as well as themed merchandise and food options. Guests will be able to walk through lush jungles, where Donkey Kong and his friends live. The creation of the new area will more than double the size of Super Nintendo World.
Launched as an arcade game by Nintendo in 1981, Donkey Kong quickly took the world by storm, with games continuing to be released on Nintendo systems from the SNES to the Nintendo Switch. As of March 2021, the series has sold over 65 million units worldwide.
Comment from Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto
“I am very happy to be able to make the world of Donkey Kong a reality following the world of Mario. I am looking forward to creating a thrilling Donkey Kong experience with the amazing team at Universal. It will take some time until it is completed, but it will be a unique area for not only people who are familiar with Donkey Kong games but for all guests.”
WIZARDING WORLD and all related trademarks, characters, names, and indicia are © & ™ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Publishing Rights © JKR. (s21)
Minions and all related elements and indicia TM & © 2021 Universal Studios. All rights reserved. TM & © Universal Studios & Amblin Entertainment. TM & © Universal Studios. All rights reserved. © Nintendo
Universal Studios Japan
Three Unique Japanese Cafes You’ll Want to Visit Again and Again
Most of us have been spending more and more time at home over the past year. It’s time to get out for a change of scenery, and what better activity than cafe hopping! Check out these unique cafes around Japan, each offering a safe and relaxing space to enjoy a day out.
[Saitama] Bath Cafe BIVOUAC
This cafe located in Kumagaya City offers a full range of bath and sauna facilities, as well as a restaurant featuring healthy dishes filled with local, freshly-picked veggies.
[Gifu] Activity Cafe Takayama Zenko-ji
Set inside a Buddhist temple, this cafe invites anyone, regardless of faith or nationality, to enjoy a cup of tea while experiencing traditional culture. It’s also a great space to work remotely, with free Wi-fi!
Filled with plants and light, NANARIDA has been dubbed a digital detox cafe, not allowing smartphones or laptops each Sunday. Leaving your phone with the staff will grant you a free beverage, so come enjoy some tea and conversation.
TEXT： Natalie（MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON）
Editor’s Choice! 3 Best Exhibitions to Visit Before Time Runs Out
Autumn has shaped up to be a great time for art lovers to explore Japan, with a number of inspiring exhibitions of all different genres popping up around the country. The editorial team at Moshi Moshi Nippon has taken special notice of three must-visit events still open now, so be sure to check these out while you still can!
[Tokyo] ‘Shonen, Shou’
Yasunari Ikenaga, a leading figure in the world of contemporary beauty painting, is currently holding an exhibition featuring portraits of the up-and-coming actor and model Shou. Pay special attention to the delicate techniques the artist utilizes to capture the subject’s expressions.
Running: Until October 15, 2021
[Fukuoka] teamLab Forest
Art collective teamLab has opened a permanent museum in Fukuoka City! Those wanting to see the interactive exhibits transformed for autumn, however, better hurry before the event ends.
[Saitama] Machi Tawara: #JustOneLike – From Salad Anniversary to Size of the Future
Japanese poet Machi Tawara, the winner of the Kadokawa Tanka Award in 1986, is a powerhouse in the world of prose. Her 1987 book Salad Anniversary sold over three million copies, and 35 years later, the writer is still at the forefront of her field. This exhibition depicts her life in words and is sure to inspire.
Running: Until December 5, 2021
Text: Natalie (MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON）
Nature and Art Scene of Jozankei, Hokkaido on Display in New Night Walk Attraction
23.August.2021 | SPOT
The Jozankei Tourism Association is currently hosting the JOZANKEI NATURE LUMINARIE -WATER LIGHT VALLEY- event until October 20, 2021. This marks the sixth year of the event, which presents the natural beauty of the rivers, valleys, and forests of Jozankei in a new light.
Guests can enjoy an illuminated walk along the Toyohira River in the Jozankei area of Hokkaido, and wander across the picturesque Futami Suspension Bridge. The night walk takes places to the southwest of the Sapporo city center.
Visitors will encounter a variety of unique light art as they stroll through the rich nature of Jozankei guided by the elusive kappa, known to be the guardian Gods of the region.
Nature Light Canvas
As visitors approach, the river begins to glow while flowers bloom in this interactive art experience. By using projection mapping across the Futami Suspension Bridge and an all-encompassing light show within the canyon, the event hopes to remind visitors that nature is important and worth preserving.
Which part of the nature walk would you be most excited to see?
JOZANKEI NATURE LUMINARIE-WATER LIGHT VALLEY
Address: Jozankei Futami Park – Futami Suspension Bridge
Jozankei Onsen Nishi 4-chome, Minami-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido
Running: July 1-October 20, 2021
Tickets: Guests of Jozankei Onsen only
Official site: https://jozankei.jp/jozankei-nature-luminarie
Meiji Marble Chocolate Themed Hotel Room Opens at The Royal Park Hotel Kyoto Umekoji
In celebration of Meiji’s popular Marble chocolate, The Royal Park Hotel Kyoto Umekoji is collaborating with the confectionery brand to offer a Marble themed hotel room for guests. The room opened on July 27.
Showa retro-style posters, telephone, and other decorations
Meiji’s colourful Marble chocolate was first released in 1961. It turned 60-years-old in February of this year, meaning it has continued to be enjoyed by three generations. Grandparents have passed them onto mothers and fathers, and them to their own children. Now the whole family can celebrate the chocolate in a themed hotel room in Kyoto.
Named the Marble Room, the hotel room is decorated in seven colours just like the chocolates themselves. This includes seven individual pillows on the sofa, balloons, wall decorations, and more. There’s even a crane game inside the room where guests can obtain some chocolates for free.
Also inside the room are Showa retro-style posters and a telephone, and guests can watch all of the old Marble commercials on the television which have aired these past 60 years. Guests also receive a free smartphone ring, eco bag, pouch, and other little freebies as part of the plan.
Meiji Marble x The Royal Park Hotel Kyoto Umekoji
Bookings: Open from July 27, 2021
Stay Period: August 1, 2021 – September 30, 2021
Meiji Official Website: https://www.meiji.co.jp/
Satoyama Jujo THE HOUSE IZUMI: Rent Out a Renovated Japanese House in Niigata
15.July.2021 | SPOT
Japanese design company Jiyujin launched its new Satoyama Jujo THE HOUSE chain of accommodations this month which offer a single group of guests a one-night stay in an entire house.
The first branch to open is IZUMI which features a fully-renovated Japanese-style house located in the city of Uonuma in Niigata. A gorgeous outlook is offered from the house with an unbroken view of lush forests, rice fields, and Mt. Makihata, which is listed as one of the ‘100 Famous Japanese Mountains.’
A breathtaking view awaits guests from the open-air bath
The spacious living room
Fully renovated from a 150-year-old private house, the building is supported by beautiful wooden beams and columns, and in the middle the oe, a sunken hearth. This, along with the beams and sashigamoi joints, are made from keyaki Japanese zelkova which is an elm-like tree. This species of tree is rare even in a tree-covered region such as Uonuma. The lumber used for this house was cut, preserved, and dried out for a number of decades before being processed into building material for the house. The heart in the middle of the living room is reminiscent of a time when large families would gather around one and serves to recreate that lifestyle.
The Nishiyama region is known for is production of delicious rice. IZUMI in fact looks out over Kabanosawa, a special and important place of rice production in Nishiyama. This vantage point also gives guests an opportunity to appreciate the hot and cold temperatures of the daytime and evening, the rivers, the shape of the land, and the earth the city sits on. The drastic change in temperatures in the day and night are especially noteworthy as this, along with the basin between the mountains, gives rise to a sea of clouds.
IZUMI sits on a hill that overlooks the rice paddies, making it a perfect location for spotting the sea of clouds. Minamiuonuma’s sea of clouds has over a 70% chances of appearing in the autumn and spring seasons.
The number one reason why Japan’s old, long-standing, and precious private houses are demolished is due to the cold getting in and it being too dark inside. Even those who want to see them preserved for tradition, including those who live in them already, would rather live in a modern home. That’s why Jiyujin has begun a renovation project instead of a demolition one. By refurbishing the houses, the ancient framework can be fixed up and preserved while a range of contemporary amenities are incorporate to fit with modern lifestyles. The Satoyama Jujo accommodations are built so they can be used for over 100 years.
For dinner, there are three options for guests. The first is a dinner at SANABURI which earned itself a Michelin star in Michelin Guide Niigata 2020. The second is a meal at a restaurant that earned the status of Bib Gourmand in the same guide. The third is to prepare your own meal in the house. There are plenty of shops around the station nearby where you can buy local ingredients.
After a delicious meal, guests can take a soak in the open-air tub and enjoy gazing out across the fields and the beautiful mountains which stand almost 2,000 meters high.
Satoyama Jujo THE HOUSE IZUMI
Japanese Name: 里山十帖 THE HOUSE IZUMI
Address: 671-1, Amanosawa, Minamiuonuma, Niigata, 〒949-6433, Japan
Official Website: Opening early July 2021
Access: 7-minutes by car from Jōetsu International Skiing Ground Station (JR Joetsu Line) / 16-minutes by car from Shiozawa-Ishiuchi IC