JAPAN Inspiration Gallery 11 Japan
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Takimi Onsen Inn
Kiso Valley

Located in the depths of the Kiso Valley amidst the Japan Alps, Takimi Onsen Inn offers an exclusive and homely stay. As the inn only caters to one party (up to eight people) a night, it makes for the ideal getaway for those seeking a rural escape in Japan’s unspoiled countryside. In our view, this cosy guesthouse is the place to spend a night or two while walking the ancient ‘Nakasendo Way’ walking trail.

You can expect a warm welcome upon arrival here, as the delightful couple that run this traditional inn, Mr and Mrs Koike (who sweetly introduce themselves by their first names, Miyoharu-san and Kazoku-san), both provide great hospitality and the charming property gives off the air of an ancestral home.

A real highlight of this special hotel is the gourmet food: not only is it beautifully cooked by the skilled host over a traditional ‘irori’ (sunken hearth) right in front of you, but it is arguably traditional Japanese ‘kaiseki’ (multi-course haute cuisine) at its finest. Changing with the seasons and availability of local ingredients, the dishes constantly vary; you will be spoilt with a selection of succulent meat – we enjoyed Wagu beef, wild boar ‘shabu-shabu’ (hotpot) and fresh trout while dining here – and vegetarian options, alongside perfectly grilled vegetables plucked straight from the fertile land outside. If this isn’t enough to whet your appetite, rest assured that even the simplest of ingredients – along the lines of rice and sesame – are curated into mouth-watering delicacies that you are bound to crave when home! As is typical in Japan, everything is cooked with outstanding care and attention-to-detail, and it really is a treat to watch this in such close quarters here, as well as cook a few of the specialities yourself.

Another of this property’s perks is its private natural ‘onsen’. These hot spring baths make for the ideal introduction to this uniquely Japanese cultural tradition and the bubbling mineral-rich water is sure to relax and rejuvenate your muscles after a long day walking. Soak in the indoor bath or step out into the pristine mountain air to bathe outside overlooking the impressive waterfall: our idea of bliss.

This picturesque idyll is without a doubt our favourite guesthouse in this area; not only does it promise exclusivity and tranquillity, but its authenticity as a family-run ‘ryokan’ (Japanese inn) ensures a memorable stay.

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