Kaya no Yado Tomida
While most of Iwamura can be enjoyed in a day, there are some excellent reasons to stay overnight: the nighttime sky is filled with stars and waking to a land covered in mist is quite an experience. And while there are a few in town options, to get the full experience you’ll have to venture a bit further out. Kaya no Yado Tomida, or Kaya’s Inn is 3km from the central castle town so it’s the best you get a taxi or bike here. This 120 year old thatched roof farmhouse has been restored and renovated to create a traditional Japanese experience with enough modern amenities to make it comfortable.
The first thing you’ll notice upon entering is the working irori, a sunken indoor hearth that was the main source of heat and cooking in Japanese homes for hundreds of years. The hearth makes you feel like you are camping, but with the comfort of not having to schlep a bunch of equipment into the forest.
And comfort is key at Kaya’s. From the western bathrooms to the Wi-Fi, they’ve thought of everything to make your stay pleasant. There are several sleeping quarters separated by sliding doors, and enough futons to accommodate a large family (sorry, no beds). The common room includes a television and table, but your time is best spent around the fire, drinking Onna Joshu sake and enjoying the meal lovingly created by the staff.
The meals differ depending on the plan you choose, but the full course plan includes roasted fish pulled straight from the crystal clear rivers of the area, dishes made from locally sourced vegetables, delicious rice grown in the village and in winter they have a special option you can request, a big pot of nabe stewing above the fire. It’s a feast fit for a feudal lord, or a group of tourist who spent the day chasing sprits.
They also offer a number of chances to participate in local culture including a course in making gohei mochi. This sweet and savory treat is made even better when it’s roasted over an open flame. They also offer hiking courses and a chance to assist in local farming, if it’s planting or harvesting time.
Kaya’s Inn is an experience you’re not going to find anywhere else, a chance to live the life of ancient Japan, and still have the ability to tweet all about how you’re “roughing it”.
On May 13-14, there will be a special two-day tour where you can experience planting rice, staying at this inn and sightseeing in the castle town.
Booking is required at iwamura.strikingly.com
Kaya’s inn is open for lunch on weekends from 11:00 to 14:00. They welcome guests from overseas but the staff don’t speak English. If you’d like to stay overnight please come with Japanese speaker(s). Recommended for large groups and families!
Kayanoyado Tomida (Kaya’s Inn)
There is another guesthouse in the center of the castle town, originally built in the Taisho era and recently renovated. This guesthouse has shared rooms so it’s great for singles and small groups who want to have a comfortable stay at reasonable prices. English speaking staff