Countryside Get-a-ways

How does the idea of staying in a log cabin in the forest, or a hotel surrounded by natural beauty sound? Japan has some chains of  “State Run Accomodation”, and while this description may sound a bit Soviet Era austere, please don’t be put off, they are an excellent, and affordable option, especially great for families.

Our family have tried a number of the options available in Hiroshima and can definitely give them a big thumbs up. They are generally located in rural areas, or National Parks and in addition to the accommodation there are usually extra facilities such as  hot spring communal baths and table tennis.

We tend to make reservations through the online hotel finder Jalan, which has the option of searching of English, and while having your own transport means you can explore the area around more freely, a lot of them are accessible by public transport.

One of the main groups of such accommodation is the KyukaMura group, which has facilities all over the country. Our favorite is the Taishakukyou one in North East Hiroshima Prefecture, about 2 hours by car from the city: Taishaku-kyou area QkaMura website.

Accommodation is in western style Twin rooms or family sized Japanese rooms with futons. Obviously it’s not a super high class hotel but it’s very nice, clean, modern and comfortable. Another option is the log cabins situated 10 minutes walk from the main building.

These sleep either 5 or 10 and are excellently equipped with all bedding, TV, Air conditioner, kitchen with sink, fridge and microwave and a spacious deck with barbecue area. We stayed in the smaller option and had a Japanese tatami room, dining room with open kitchen, as well as a toilet and bath. It was all very “wooden”, clean and comfortable and would be a great option, particularly in summer, for friends wanting a weekend of barbecuing and hiking.

The cabins are available self catering or with the option of eating in the hotel. The food in the hotel really is outstanding, it’s a buffet style which is great for families and means reading a menu and ordering is not necessary! Freshly cooked dishes are brought out all through the evening, meaning a plentiful and hot supply of tasty dishes, a selection including Western and Japanese.

In addition to a hot spring bath, there are other activities to keep you occupied, a pitch and putt golf course, table tennis, and grass-sleds for kids to enjoy the grassy slope outside the hotel. Craft activities can also be reserved.

The KyukaMura is a few minutes drive from the stunning Taishaku gorge which offers great hiking opportunities, scenic boat trips and rental kayaks. If you don’t have transport the staff offer a collection service from the local train station and will also drop guests at the gorge.
Another member of the same group is located on Okunojima, better known as Rabbit Island, about an hour’s drive from the City followed by a twenty minute boat ride. KyukaMura on Okunojima

Although slightly more worn than Taishakukyou KyukaMura, this one also offers a comfortable and relaxing location for a weekend away. Again the food is excellent, there is a hot spring, table tennis and rental bicycles available (these have seen better days, but as you can cycle round the whole island in about twenty minutes you don’t really need high quality cycles). ……..and of course LOTS of incredibly cute rabbits!!

Using the Jalan website makes it easy to check days and prices, but as a guide we paid about ¥9,000 per adult for accommodation with breakfast and dinner, and considering the quality and quantity of food this is a great price, kids prices differ depending on age. The cabin for 5 at Taishaku was a fixed price of ¥12000 for the cabin and you can reserve to have meals at the hotel and pay extra.

Prices vary depending on day of the week and season so check out the website. You are likely to be the only Westerners there as this type of accommodation is not really advertised in travel books.  Staff are friendly and helpful and its a great chance to get out of the city, put on your hiking boots and  breathe some fresh air!

Charlotte Nakamoto

jjwalsh

Been enjoying living, working in and writing about Hiroshima since '98- co-founder, editor, photographer and writer for GetHiroshima.com / GetHiroshima map + GetHiroshima magazine

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