6 Traditional Japanese Guest Houses that will Steal Your Heart
Known as "kominka", these hidden gems of the Japanese countryside are full of charm and history
Shizuoka > Ito
This 7-room kominka makes an excellent hideaway for adults, situated amidst the forests of Izu. Each guest room is equipped with a terrace and an outdoor bath where scenic views of Izu's sea as seen through the trees can be enjoyed. Leave the hustle and the bustle of city behind and find your moment of zen at a place where time stands still.
Nara > Gose
Located in scenic Fukano, which was once voted as one of the Top 100 Japanese countryside places for its breathtaking views of nature, seemingly as though it is floating in the clouds, this kominka takes only one reservation per night. The stillness in the main hall, with an traditional sunken hearth (irori) in its center and the beautiful construction of the thatched roof overhead, is profoundly overwhelming.
Oita > Yufu
A unique hideaway in Yufuin where the dedicated staff strives to uphold the privacy of each guest. The facilities consist of the main building, equipped with two guestrooms, and an 11-room annex, with ample distance between each unit. Enjoy a scenic view of Mount Yufu from the outdoor bath as it transforms through the four seasons. Wake up to the pleasant sounds of Japanese bantam chickens as they freely roam the grounds. Breath in the fresh country air of Yufuin and your heart will feel at peace.
Fukushima > Kitakata
Surrounded by fields and rice paddies, this old residence is serenely situated in Japan's bucolic countryside. The furnishings, which share a 100-year history with the property itself, emit the warmth and kindness that can only be found in objects that have aged with love and care. In the common room, featuring a traditional sunken hearth (irori), you may find yourself having a once-in-a-lifetime encounter.
Gifu > Takayama
A hidden gem standing in an expanse of untouched greenery. The annex is built in the same architectural style as the historic villages of Shirakawa-go (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), seeming like it has come right out of a scene from an ancient Japanese folk tale...it is even equipped with its own spinning water wheel! Enjoy local Yamasato cuisine, featuring delicious premium-grade Hida beef--a regional specialty renowned across Japan for its melt-in-your-mouth savoriness. The charmingly rustic bathing facilities are also something to look forward to; have a nice, long soak in the Japanese cypress bath followed by a refreshing steam in the traditional stone sauna.
Tochigi > Nikko
Built in 1718, this guesthouse is distinguished by its thatched roof and is situated at the source of a hot spring. Over 1,000 pieces of ancient personal items are on display in the facility, and the traditional sunken hearths (irori) and mud walls (tsuchikabe) lend an air of history to the guest rooms. You can also enjoy a relaxing soak in various outdoor baths, where the soothing hot water flows directly from the source.