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ホーム > Rediscovering the old at Akasawa-Syuku

Rediscovering the old at Akasawa-Syuku

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Yamanashi Prefecture’s Hayakawa-cho truly is a place like no other. While being Japan’s lowest populated municipality (1,005 as of June 2019), it is also Japan’s 2nd largest municipality in terms of landmass. With such a small population taking up such a large width of land, walking through its wooded forests and unchanging towns it’s hard not to feel the pureness of it all.

It almost feels untouched, as if everything you touch, everything you see and everything you do is a discovery just for you. As our great ancestors stepped onto the shores of this island nation, surely they felt the same.

And within Hayakawa-cho lies an area furthermore untouched by the sands of time; the old inn Village of Akasawa-Syuku. 

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With history leading back to the Japanese Kamakura period (13th Century) the area was utilized as a lodging town for pilgrims to the nearby Mt. Minobu an important religious site to those belonging to the Nichiren Sect of Buddhism. At its height Akasawa-Syuku had nearly a dozen inns nestled between the homes of its villagers as well as a handful of small shops and restaurants. A small number of which whose walls have bested the hands of time and still exist today (although only one Inn and one restaurant are still in operation). Nevertheless due to the immense history of the area in 1993 it was designated as an Important Cultural Buildings Preservation District and taken very well care of.

Our first stop was the Soba Restaurant Musashiya. Although generally only opened on the weekends, they kindly opened their doors to us on our brief Wednesday trip out to Akasawa.
Perhaps a 2 minute walk from the small parking lot at Akasawa-Syuku and up a small flight of stairs lies the building of Musashiya. 
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Run by sweet elderly woman names Mrs. Sugiyama, Musashiya serves an entirely handmade teishoku (meal set) styled platter with a whole plate of tempura and unlimited rice refills for only 1,100\.
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After having walked around Akasawa for a while and feasted on such a large meal, it was quite unavoidable that by this time my group and I had zero energy left. And quite frankly were ready for a quick power nap.

And so we continued our journey through the old lodging village until we found the Kikuya.

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 The building, perhaps as old as the village around us reminded me of Japan as a whole. The old wooden flooring, beautiful mountain view right before our eyes and the shouji doors worked to immerse you in the past. But the gas stove and bright and sparkling clean modern bathroom that even brings my own apartment to shame wakes one up to the modernity of the world around us. Deep history, and a yet brimming with technological conveniences. To me, Japan really is a country quite like no other.

And so, while surrounded by the sounds of nature and enjoying the sweet fusion of the new and the old; we took our power nap.

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And thus ends, the first part of our day at the old lodging village, Akasawa-Juku. 

< info. >

Soba at Musashiya: Open Sat. Sun. and Holidays only (11:00-15:00).
For groups of 5+ please call to make a reservation. 
Weekdays, reservation required.

TEL: 0556-45-2122
Address: 3117 Akasawa, Hayakawa, Minamikoma District, Yamanashi 409-2733 

 

 

Continuing our journey through the old cobblestone streets of the old inn village of Akasawa-Syuku, our next stop was the last remaining lodge Oosaka-ya. 
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Although we did not spend the night we were able to get a taste of the experience thanks to the kind inn-keeper Ms.Yokoyama who’s good old fashioned Japanese hospitality has won the hearts of many foreign tourists throughout the years.

 

For our brief visit at her lodging, Ms. Yokoyama suggested we try our hands at one of the most popular things Oosaka-ya has to offer: traditional Japanese game play.

And if you’re any bit a game lover and competitive like me, I’m sure you’ll have a blast.
The first game we played, and certainly a crowd pleaser was a card game called Bouzu-Mekuri and was more a game of luck than anything. Surprisingly in our group no one had ever heard of the game before, not even the two Japanese people who came with us. So it was quite useful that Ms. Yokoyama had prepared well written explanations in both Japanese and English for all the games she had prepared, to help us figure it all out.
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The second game we had a chance to play was a slightly more common game involving flat marbles called ohajiki and we enjoyed it just as much.

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Tensions were high, focus was being poured, there was shouting, and friendships were betrayed (well not really), marbles went flying but more than anything we all had a lot of fun.

As a prize for the winners of each game, Ms. Yokoyama sat down and drew small portraits. akasawasyuku 2019-09  akasawasyuku 2019-10    

Although our time at Oosaka-ya was short those who stay here for the night at one of its Airbnb listed rooms, get to enjoy a much more full experience. With seasonal snacks and treats placed in the communal kitchen space, handwritten notes and illustrations explaining the little things we might miss and even the superfast Wi-Fi makes this a place not to miss. But perhaps its best-selling points are the hospitality of the hosts, and being able to wake up to this view the next morning.  

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 *Image property of Oosaka-ya

< info. >

 Information about Oosaka-ya can be found at their homepage:

https://akasawasyuku.com/( External link )

 Reservations can be made for their Airbnb listing here

https://www.airbnb.jp/rooms/16169616?s=67&shared_item_type=1&virality_entry_point=1( External link )

*The hosts can speak English to feel free to ask them questions on the Airbnb page