If you want to see old rural Japan during your vacation, a trip to Iwami Ginzan, a UN World Heritage site, and its environs is perfect. Staying at a traditional inn, or ryokan, is not as cheap as staying at a hotel chain, but you should budget to stay at least one night to enjoy the experience. Takyo Abeke in Iwami Ginzan is a guesthouse restored from a 240-year old samurai house. It was built at the end of 1780s. There are only three rooms, so make a reservation early on their website or by phone. We stayed in the "Youma" which is a Western-style room with beds, shown below.
In winter, this room has a kotatsu, a traditional heating system in Japan: a table and heater combined as one piece of furniture. The kotatsu is a typical feature in Japanese homes in winter, so this is nice chance to experience sitting around the kotatsu with the quilt over your legs, chatting and enjoying some tea or reading.
All the meals at Takyo Abeke are made with local ingredients. For example, Shijimi or freshwater clams are caught in nearby Lake Zinzai. Even the jam is homemade. Milk, honey and butter are all produced in Shimane. The meals are Japanese-home style and you eat with all your fellow guests in a big dining room. When we went, there were three other women from Tokyo and we chatted with them over dinner. At Takyo Abeke, you can experience Japanese traditional living. There are also many explanations of English in the inn, and they sometimes have an English speaker on hand to help.
Takyo Abeke 他郷阿部家
Tel / Fax +81-854-89-0022
*You must reserve in advance
Charge \ 24,000 each (before tax) for dinner, bed, and breakfast
Payment: Cash only
Group discounts for 9 or more people: \ 18,000 each (before tax) for dinner, bed, and breakfast
Written by Minami