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Would you like to have a taste of rural Japan and relax close to nature? Shitandoh is the perfect place for experiencing a countryside way of life and relief the stress from Japanese metropolis.

     Shitandoh has a fair purpose: to help you relax and enjoy the country life as if you were visiting the home of an old friend. Everything is well organized and prepared for you and your family to spend a good time and enjoy the experience. Oh! But perhaps you’re under the impression that life is boring in the countryside? If so, we invite you to continue reading to see how fun of an experience it can be!

      This Guesthouse is located in a special place, the cozy town of Hayakawa, which is the least populated town in Japan. Despite being small in population, the city is so huge in land area it is recorded as the second largest town in the whole nation. So this really proves the fact at Shitandoh you will be able to spend your time right in one of the quietest and most serene areas of Japan. Adding to that, the surrounding nature is beautiful. A deep valley with a clear blue river flowing beautifully through the Mountains is surely a sight to see for anyone. 

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       As soon as we arrived at the home (let’s call it home, because that’s what it really feels like) we met Mr. Nemoto the manager and owner, a very gentle and overall a happy-go-lucky guy. Even though he was not fluent in English, he did his best to interact with us which made the experience all the more enjoyable. As soon as we placed our bags in the bedrooms, he invited us on a walk around the village. Just a short walking distance away was the river and birds, old homes that stood the test of time and fruit tree’s preparing to bare the sweet fruit that helped dub Yamanashi fruit Kingdom. 
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       Arriving back at home we could get to know better the space. First of all, it is important to note that it can only fit one family/group at a time, at a max of five members. So, it means that you will have the house all to yourself! The facilities include: 3 bedrooms, a dining room, a living room, a fully-equipped kitchen, an attic, and a yard. And who can forget the bathroom!

      At Shitandoh, they have 3 options for you which is an important to note. In addition to the regular toilet, there is a big bathroom with a shower area and a bath, just like most large older homes in Japan. The water of the bath is always set to 42 degrees Celsius, so it’s always ready for someone to take a dip. But what about a more different bathing experience? For those seeking something new (or rather quite old) Shitandoh has a fire-wood heated open air bath. Take a look below!

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      In order to make the experience even more authentic, Mr Nemoto invited us to go out to collect firewood for the bonfire and then to help him set it up. He said that this is important to do before sunset because the water takes an hour or more to get hot. So no need to rush!
      I confess that this was quite an enjoyable experience for me, and I couldn’t help but reminisce visiting the farms when I was a kid. Important to note that here and as with all baths in Japan, you should enter completely naked. So, as to give privacy the bath area is surrounded by a fence.

      Heading back inside for now, it was already time to start preparing the diner. Mr Nemoto invited Ms Yuri to cook tonight. She is the owner of a café in the village and a very experienced chef. She brought all the ingredients over, and invited us to help her in the kitchen while teaching us how to prepare traditional Japanese cuisine. Ms Yuri has lived abroad for several months for volunteer work and her English is great. During the meal preparation not only did we talk about Japanese cuisine, but also history, culture and travel. She is truly such a lovely person!
You don’t like to cook? Ok, she can prepare it by herself, but I this is an opportunity you wouldn’t want to miss out on. A cooking class would probably cost you much more than the Shitandoh accommodation.
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      After a while, we already started getting hungry, so it was time to start setting the table and Ms. Yuri knew how to do it perfectly.
      We laid out small dishes separated for each guest and adding to that, the dining room was quite the special place as well. We sat on zabutons placed on the floor in the Japanese way, all sat around the table/barbeque grill, perfect space for interaction.
      For dinner, we invited Mr. Nemoto and Ms. Yuri to join us and this was a great decision. Nice talk during the night, learning more about Japanese traditions, seasonal food and how life is like living in the peaceful village of Hayakawa.

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        After dinner some of us decided to go for a walk around the village. We heard that deer comes from the mountains to the area during the night and we hoped to see some but unfortunately there were none around. However, starring at the bright stars and moon as we sat completely in the dark was absolutely fascinating.

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       Time for bed, comfortable placed futons on the tatami floor made the stay an authentic ryokan style. I quite love sleeping on futon, waking up I always feel much more well rested the next morning.

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       For the ones who wake up early, there is another traditional and fun experience to join, the morning radio calisthenics (rajio taiso). The community gets together every morning to follow the same standardized exercises played by Japan’s National Radio NHK.

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     It really is a nostalgic experience, which fits perfectly to the rural vibe of Shitandoh. And as our group all exercised together, Ms Yuri was already preparing our breakfast. We had toast, eggs, salad, coffee and juice. And of course everything was tasty and delicious.
    Unfortunately, our stay at the “home of our old friend” only last one night. But that was enough time to relax, feel the fresh air from nature, join in on traditional Japanese activities and learn more about this incredible culture. Next time, we would like to stay more and even more enjoy the countryside atmosphere.

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*A barbecue in the yard would be a really nice idea for a lackadaisical lunch in the afternoon.

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<By Public Transport>
 Shunjuku(JR 1:40hr via Tokyu Azusa → Kofu)
     Kofu(JR 1hr via Minobu Tokyu Line)→ Minobu Station

 Tokyo(JR Tokaido Shinkansen/ 1:15hr)→ Shin Fuji
     Shin Fuji(10mins by bus or taxi)→ Fuji(JR Minobu Line)
     Fuji(JR 1hr via Minobu Tokyu Line)→ Minobu Station

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▲Between Minobu Station and Shitandoh using the city bus is a good option.
The bus stop is in front of the station and takes about 30 minutes to arrive. The buses are very infrequent, so please check the timetable in advance. 

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 Accommodation Fee   General   10,000円/person(up to 2 people)
                     8,000円/person(3rd person)
                     6,000円/person(4th and 5th person)
                 Child (5-10years)    5,000円
                   Child (0-4 years)    Free
       *Prices per person, per day. Accommodation fits up to 5 people. Breakfast and Dinner included.
         *The house has wifi and many other facilities like a projector, steam iron, hairdryer, bathing amenities, towels, full equipped kitchen, board game, two guitars and a keyboard to play.

 More information:
( External link )

     Address: 397 Kusashio, Hayakawa, Minamikoma District, Yamanashi 409-2714

Published on

  • November 8, 2019


Home > Staff Journal > Shitandoh: A countryside Guesthouse in Hayakawa Village