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A Superb Ryokan Inn! Experience the Traditional Japanese Culture at Hida Takayama’s “Wanosato”

Published Feb 24, 2016

A courtesy car picks you up from JR Takayama Station and takes you for a 20-minute drive along Miyagawa River into the quiet mountains. There you find “Wanosato”, a former wealthy farmer’s house built 160 years ago in the middle of a natural area of 15 000 square meters.

Despite its vast grounds, the inn has only 8 rooms. It attracts guests with traditional Japanese hospitality: a pleasant old house hidden in the nature, a large sunken fireplace, hot spring baths made of stone and cypress tree, and delicious Japanese food. This place concentrates everything that makes Japanese people proud of their own culture.

An 160-year-old former farmhouse in Hida’s nature

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Wanosato has 4 rooms in its main building and 4 more in the separate lodge houses. The inn used to be a real farmhouse owned by a wealthy farmer, therefore every room has a different design and interior. Miyagawa River flows through the grounds of this inn and the dishes served use freshwater fish caught in the streams. Here you’ll also see a big wood-fired furnace and a water wheel. Everything reminds you of Japan’s traditional culture from a century ago.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in takayama and also compare the prices with airbnbs in takayama

Interaction around the sunken fireplace

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The major attraction of the main building is the big sunken fireplace with its high ceiling and soot all over. You can feel the inn’s history just from looking at it. There are special tokens of hospitality around this place.

First, you’re welcomed with sweets and tea made on this fireplace. For dinner you will be served sweetfish or char grilled around the fire. 

The time after dinner is especially precious because many guests sit around the fireplace and listen to stories about Hida’s history and folktales while drinking local sake. Those stories are told by the local owner, a relaxed man with a cheerful personality who has been living in the region for very long. Listening to his fireside tales is one of the pleasures of staying in this inn.

The sunken fireplace has many roles – in winter it warms the room, while in summer it helps for the air circulation. Its role in the farmhouse is irreplaceable.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in takayama and also compare the prices with airbnbs in takayama

Finely prepared and delicious Japanese dishes

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You will be completely fascinated by the beauty of the dishes which use local and seasonal ingredients. The appetizers are finely decorated with edible wild plants, and the fresh fish and Hida beef add up to a well-balanced dinner that accentuates on a combination of taste, fragrance and appearance.

For breakfast you are served fish grilled on a charcoal brazier, rice cooked in an iron pot, miso soup, soft fried eggs, pickled dishes and many others.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in takayama and also compare the prices with airbnbs in takayama

The guest room is pleasant and lovely

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Wanosato’s buildings have the typical Hida-style construction which uses local lumber and traditional Shunkei lacquer. Every room has a large window with a view to Hida’s nature. The picture-perfect view is accompanied by the murmuring sounds of the Miyagawa’s stream.

Different decorations are arranged according to the season. For example, in summer there is ice placed in every room, while in winter pieces of firewood are displayed.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in takayama and also compare the prices with airbnbs in takayama

A nice hot spring with freely flowing water

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There is a hot spring source in the grounds of “Wanosato”. In 2010 it was officially registered by Gifu prefecture and named “Hida Kuraiyama hot spring”. There is a bath made of cypress tree in every room, but in the main building there’s also a large stone bath which uses a giant stone from the Jomon period. After you warm up your body in the hot spring and return to the room, you will find freshly cooked rice with dried plums waiting for you. This token of hospitality makes you truly happy.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in takayama and also compare the prices with airbnbs in takayama

An inn to be proud of

Hida Takayama region is iconic with its thatched-roof farmhouses and traditional Japanese culture. At Wanosato inn you can rediscover the beauty of this tradition and feel the elegant spirit of a farmhouse from a century ago.

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