Deep in the mountains of Iya, one of Japan’s three most secluded areas, there is an area that has been selected for preservation by the Japanese government because of its important architecture.
The Ochiai community stretches out on the slope of a mountain in the middle of Higashi-Iya. This community in the skies was created on steep slopes with height differences of up to 390 meters. The oldest buildings were constructed during the Edo period, and in recent years some of these old thatched houses have been renovated to offer accommodation facilities for visitors to enjoy a ‘high-end’ countryside experience.
Eight thatched houses are being used as guest accommodation.
This time we visited “Fusho”, the one closest to the top of the mountain!
Located at top of a zigzagging mountain road, Fusho is truly a house in the skies!
From here you have a view down on the mountain valley scenery that hasn’t changed since ancient times.
Although the house has been renovated, the interior retains its nostalgic ambience, as you can see. However, it also offers the comfort and warmth of under-floor heating and the convenience of Wi-Fi.
Under the thatch roof, time goes by slowly, almost as if you’ve entered another world. While catering services are available, the kitchen is equipped with an IH cooking heater, an oven microwave, a rice cooker and other necessary utilities in addition to utensils, pots, tableware, and even seasonings, so you can cook yourself, if you prefer.
Personally, I highly recommend the bathing facilities.
If you take a bath early in the morning, you can see the ultimate view down on a sea of clouds.
This is the bath in the skies – Be sure not to miss it!!
They’re out! The night sky is full of stars!
Even if it’s cloudy and you can’t see the stars, don’t give up right away. The weather can change quickly in the mountains, so a cloudy sky can become a sky full of stars within an hour.
Seeing the stars shining so clearly is a moving experience… How about spending a night up close to them?
In the next article, I will introduce our other recommended thatched house, “Ungai.
Tougenkyo Iya no Yamasato
Location: (Reception office) 142 Ochiai, Higashi-Iya, Miyoshi city, Tokushima prefecture
Accommodation fees: Starting from 20,000JPY (Please refer to the official homepage for more details)
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Daisuke Chiba
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!
> A guided tour, including teatime, where you can see the former “Koshien Hotel” – “Frank Lloyd Wright type” architecture by Arata Endo. / Koshien Hall at Mukogawa Women’s University (Nishinomiya-shi, Hyogo)
> Experience the ancient way of salt making on Kamikamagari-jima Island on the Tobishima Kaido in Aki-nada! / Kamagari Ancient Salt Making Remains Restoration Pavilion & “Amabito-no-Moshio” (Kure-shi, Hiroshima)
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