Nestled away in one Japan’s three ‘hidden’ areas, there is a traditional Japanese-style house in Iya, Miyoshi city that has been designated as an important Japanese cultural property.
Built in 1699, Kimura-ke jyutaku (‘Kimura family residence’) is the oldest among the Japanese-style houses that still stand in Iya.
As it is terribly rare for a house built over 300 years ago to still exist, in recent years it attracts many tourists.
Driving along deep in the mountains of Iya, suddenly the “Kominka kissa Kimura” (‘Traditional house café Kimura’) signboard appears!
There are no other stores or anything else in the vicinity, so if you don’t pay attention you may miss the sign and drive past!
In the garden of this traditional house there is also an over 600-year old gingko tree.
As you walk through the garden towards the building, you will notice a large taiko drum.
If you play the drum, Mr.Kimura, the owner of the residence will appear from inside the house.
The guest space he will guide you into is a tatami room with a lovely ambience. It has two sunken fireplaces side by side…
A bit of trivia:
When introducing traditional-style Japanese houses like this, they often have a sunken fireplace, but do you know why something like this is inside house?
Within the fireplace you will of course burn firewood, but wouldn’t this fill the house with smoke?
Actually, this is not the case.
The thatch roof you will see on traditional Japanese houses stops rain and wind, but it is designed to let smoke go through.
Thus, even if you burn firewood inside the house, the smoke will escape through the roof.
The smoke also prevents the thatch from rotting, as well as drives away insects.
The sunken fireplace is indispensable in traditional Japanese houses for maintaining the thatch roofs.
Well then, we got a bit sidetracked, so let’s return to the original subject.
The menu in this café is simple.
A set including a homemade sweet dumpling and a drink costs JPY700.
You can choose coffee, matcha (green tea) or wild herb tea.
The opening hours are “from morning until evening”, set roughly like shops often do in the countryside! It’s better to call in advance before you visit, just to make sure. In addition, apparently you can also stay over at the house, so if you would like to experience country life, this is the ideal place for it.
You can also enjoy delicacies prepared in the sunken fireplace, such as suiton (flour dumplings) hot pot, and fried fish among others.
As the location has a view down a mountain 600 meters above sea level, early in the morning you may have the chance to see a fantasy-like sea of clouds!
Spending time here will be more unforgettable than a stay at any high-class hotel!
Kominka Kissa Kimura (‘Traditional Japanese House Café Kimura’)
Location: 107 Higashiiyatsurui, Miyoshi city, Tokushima prefecture
Prices: Coffee or tea JPY700 (Includes entrance fee). Stay: JPY10,000 per person per night (Inquire in advance)
Open: Morning until evening
Closed: No regular holidays
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Daisuke Chiba
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Daisuke Chiba / Photo-writer I was born in 1985 in Miyoshi City, Tokushima Prefecture, and now live in Tokushima City. After graduating university, I worked at a publishing company as an editor for various mooks, and in April 2014 I went freelance. I work as a photographer, copy-writer and editor, but also do product development and other stuff as well. If anyone needs me, I can do anything! Except, in spite of my being from Tokushima, dancing - I’m really bad at dancing Awa Odori!
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