Auberge Yuragi is located in Yuragi no Mori, Niihamashi Forest Park. It looks down on the Akaishiyama mountain range from an altitude of 700 to 900n. From the city it is an hour and half drive at the end of a mountain road, and is truly the great outdoors! On the grounds there is a French restaurant that you can stay the night at, Auberge Yuragi, as well as “Sagyo Koubo” where you can try some wood working, a 2km long foot path, all of which allows you to really experience all the forest has to offer. Once you come here you might not want to go back.
Auberge Yuragi, a restaurant deep in the woods where you can stay the night
In Niihama City is the Industrial Heritage site “Minetopia Besshi Hadeba and Tonaru zones” and about 1 hour up mountain roads from there is the Yuragi no Mori, Niihamashi Forest Park. This place allows you to enjoy and experience a natural environment and living in the mountains through play. Just reading that though will make you think this place is for children but it is also a great place for adults as well.
Let’s start by introducing the restaurant where you can stay the night, Auberge Yuragi.
Auberge means a restaurant inn where you can enjoy good food at a leisurely pace. The exterior is reminiscent of a house in the countryside of Europe somewhere, and at night it takes on a charm of a restaurant in the woods that only those in know go to.
Of course you can just eat here, but it would be a shame to waste a trip deep into the woods without staying the night. 700 to 900m high up on a mountain with no lights for miles around the stars fill the sky above you. The only sounds are birds singing in the forest.
Forget the crowds of the city and just let time flow by slowly when you are here.
A fantastic lunch in the middle of the forest!
The chef who studied for many years at the Rihga Royal Hotel creates a fantastic French menu from the best ingredients that Shikoku has to offer!
It is also very healthy with a copious amount of local fresh vegetables! My favorite was the Viande of roast beef made from olive fed beef from Kagawa Prefecture. Shodoshima Island in Kagawa is famous for olives! Beef raised on olives has just the right amount of fat, and the meat itself has a flavor to it so you can even eat it without anything added to eat.
When having dessert they serve a complimentary dish of Akebi! What a luxury to eat a fruit that naturally grows in these woods. The white flesh around the seed is so tenderly sweet. It is only because this restaurant is deep in the woods that you can eat seasonal foods from the mountains.
The food is wonderful but the water tastes even better! The soft deep taste of the water surprises you when you take that unsuspecting sip from the glass! Apparently this water is from a natural spring here in the mountains. At the end of the meal they served us coffee brewed with this water and it was refreshing and easy to drink. Normally I can’t drink my coffee black but here the coffee was so good that I could.
It is a French restaurant that uses the bounty of the forest fully, and is the perfect place deep in the forest to celebrate any occasion in a leisurely fashion.
The dome shaped pergola. With a 45m diameter, it is the largest wisteria trellis in Japan!
A pergola is a trellis to allow vines to grow on. In front of Auberge Yuragi is Japan’s largest dome shaped pergola with a diameter of 45m. During May when the wisteria blossoms there are many different types of events held here.
Even if the wisterias aren’t flowering when it is lit up it creates a wondrous atmosphere. After dinner they light it up and it is worth taking a stroll under.
If you haven’t been drinking, you can drive up the road in front of Auberge Yuragi to a heliport. If the sky is clear above you is a natural planetarium! It is a must see.
After your stroll, head back to the room for some relaxation time. There are 2 bunk beds for the family, and the rooms are situated with one side on the Akaishiyama side and the other looking over the pergola. Both rooms have huge windows for you to feel like you are in the woods themselves. They provide the usual amenities such as toothbrushes, combs, and razors, but also cotton balls, and cute hairbands for the female guests’ pleasure. At the bathhouse they stock original Shiseido shampoo and conditioners, for great smelling soft hair! These small hospitalities make the stay a wonderful one.
Wood working with materials from the forest!
A feature of Yuragi no Mori is the possibility of learning about the forest while playing in it. Next to Auberge Yuragi is the Sakura Kobo where you can experience this. The head of the workshop teaches about the forest, the different trees and plants that can be found here. Inside the workshop is packed full of treasures that the head of the workshop found in the mountains! You can almost experience the woods just by being inside the workshop.
The most recommended thing here is the woodworking experience! It’s not your average woodworking experience though. The kit you use is filled with materials found in the woods by the head of the workshop himself. Pine cones, twigs, acorns, dried leaves, and chestnuts… a real treasure trove from the woods! If you just imagine it you can create all kinds of things! All of this only costs a reasonable 500 JPY.
Pictured above is my “forest piggybank”. Doesn’t it seem like it will make putting money into it fun? When everyone is building something you can tell the adults are into it more than the kids.
The path through the woods nearly 2km long
At the Yuragi no Mori there is a 2km long footpath. While taking in the views of the Akaishiyama mountain range you can have a refreshing walk through the woods. There are very little ups and downs on this path and is well maintained so you can wear any footwear you like.
If you stay the night at Auberge Yuragi definitely take a morning walk. The cool air, birds chirping, and sunlight falling in between the trees really makes you forget the fatigue and stresses of day to day life!
Relax with all the negative ions showering onto you.
After the early morning stroll a tasty breakfast is waiting for you. A freshly baked flakey croissant and coffee brewed with spring water! It feels like a vacation somewhere in Europe!
What is the Yuragi in the Yuragi no Mori
Yu: to live (by oneself) free from worldly cares (悠)
Ra: be at peace mind and body (楽)
Gi: to have skill or honing skills (技)
At Yuragi no Mori you live without worldly cares, be at peace with your body with a delicious French meal, walk in the woods to have peace of mind, and hone your skills with wood working.
If you would like some Yuragi head to Yuragi no Mori at Niihama City in Ehime Prefecture.
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