JR Shikoku has opened a simple lodging which a lot of people are talking about.
Awa Ikeda is a town located in the center of Shikoku, so it is called “Shikoku-no-heso,” meaning “the belly button of Shikoku.”
This town flourished as an important center of transport since the old days.
One section of this area’s agriculture has been designated as one of the Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS), “Nishi-Awa Steep Slope Land Agricultural System.”
Therefore, this area is now attracting people’s attention not only in Japan, but also all over the world.
The main station for Miyoshi City is “JR Awa-Ikeda Station.”
And the simple lodging “4S STAY Awaikeda Sta.,” opened by JR SHIKOKU, is located in the shopping arcade in front of the Awa-Ikeda Station.
The building, which had once been a sushi restaurant and residence, was renovated for lodging.
Iya and Oboke, two popular tourist spots (especially among foreigners), are near this area. So this lodging was opened in November 2018 as a base to welcome the increasing numbers of foreign tourists.
You can enjoy eating and drinking, as well as staying at “4S STAY Awaikeda Sta.”
One of the enjoyable points of “4S STAY Awaikeda Sta.” is the interior, which is related to trains and railroads.
There are so many such items here and there in the building.
For example, some wheels and seats from express trains, a door with a brake handle, a shelf with some rails from railroad tracks…
Rail fans should be surprised and excited at these arrangements!
You will find some even more train or railroad items when you visit here, other than what is shown in these photos!
The ground floor is a café-diner called “heso salon,” where you can enjoy local food and sake.
This is the place for communications among guests who stay here and moreover, it is also for other travelers or locals who stop by.
The spacious dining space still has a bit of the atmosphere from the old sushi restaurant, and it is a cozy place to spend time.
All the guest rooms on a part of the ground floor and the second floor are Japanese style.
Every room has air-conditioning and a security box.
One room has a table made from a cutting board used at the former sushi restaurant (how unique)…!
Also, the rooms facing the arcade can be used as a special seat for watching the traditional festival, “Ikeda Awa-Odori,” held in mid-August.
The inn can accommodate a wide range of travelers, including people traveling alone, families, or even group travelers.
Stay at a base for a Shikoku tour, as if you were living here.
The “heso salon” serves various foods, which use local ingredients as much as possible, and its concept is “a crossroads of Shikoku foods.”
The menu item in the photo above is “Somen noodles with sliced pork and mushrooms, with a scent of sudachi citrus.”
Actually, somen (vermiselli, or very thin white noodles) is one of the specialties in Tokushima, and is produced in the Handa area.
The somen menu is changed monthly with various arrangements.
One of the popular lunch menu items is “Venison Gapao Rice.”
This is a dish with venison meat from Iya and the combination of flavors of nampla (fish sauce) and oyster sauce is brilliant.
There are many other dishes with local specialties, such as Indian curry made with Awa-odori chicken, or boar meat hot pot, etc…, so please try them with some of the local sake!
“4S STAY Awaikeda Sta.” will evolve more as a “place where people can “stay like living” in the town of Awa Ikeda, and as a convenient base for a Shikoku trip” with some sightseeing tours and experiences.
“4S STAY Awaikeda Honmachi-dori,” the second lodging in this series, will be opened at the end of April 2020.
Maybe these 2 are good places to stay between the train trips between Kagawa and Iya (Tokushima), known as “Shikoku MannakaSennenMonogatari”.
4S STAY Awaikeda Sta.
Address／1804-9, Sarada, Ikeda-cho, Miyoshi-shi, Tokushima
Phone／0883-70-0166（11:00 am to 9:00 pm）
Heso Salon11:00～23:00 (opens at 10:00 on weekends and national holidays)
Photographs and text by Takashi Shigeto
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