In the mountains of Gifu Prefecture, in the small and rural area of Miyagawacho in Hida City, is the picturesque and charming town of Tanekura. With a harsh climate and tiny population, Tanekura is known for its series of itakura or traditional wooden warehouses which are distinguished due to their peculiar yet fascinating architectural design. Used for storing food away from the local wooden houses (which often fell foul of fires), these itakura are still remaining today and are visited by visitors from far and wide interested in historical and traditional rural history.
Not far from the itakura is the charming and spacious Tanekura Inn which acts as the town's only guesthouse. Originally situated in the Nagasore area, it was transplanted to Tanekura and now acts as a hub for the local community and visitors that flock here looking for a pastoral and tranquil respite from the stresses and trouble of contemporary urban life. In the large communal space on the ground floor, visitors can lounge on sofas, read and relax in a room replete with an irori (traditional iron fireplace) which heats up the room when required. Tanekura Inn also comes with the chance to use the beautiful cypress wood (hinoki) bathtub which guests can soak in for as long as they desire. Sitting atop a mountain, the inn affords some spectacular views and a chance to become one with nature. There is no TV in Tanekura Inn and guests are encouraged to engage with the local environment.
One of the points that sets Tanekura Inn from other guesthouses in Japan is the carefully curated and locally sourced vegan menu. Mountain vegetables, handmade soba noodles and vegetables which can only be found in the Tanekura area such as the award-winning and delicious Tanekura red turnip. Proponents of the slow food movement, the attentive and welcoming staff and rightly proud of the diverse and local food on offer here and guests are treated to aromas, textures and tastes only found in this particular area of Gifu Prefecture and Japan.
The tatami-mat bedrooms, which take up the second floor, are spacious and comfortable and warm and invite very deep sleep which comes in handy after a few days of rural living. Tanekura Inn, then, is a community hub, a step back into simpler times and a celebration of the local, of history and regional culture and cuisine.
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