Jul 16, 2010

A Farmer's Inn of Stars and Snow

Nouka Minshuku (農家民宿) is a term literally refers to “A Farmer’s Family Inn”.

Perhaps you are familiar to a term, “ryokan”; but, more or less “minshuku”.

Minshuku is basically a budget version of ryokan, roughly similar to British Boarding House or Bed & Breakfast, with a few differences in simpler and home-style meals that could be communal and/or optional. The meals usually offer more localized culinary experience with fresh and seasonal produces.

Seisetsukan (星雪館) is a minshuku (民宿) managed by a noka (農家), the Kadowaki Family in Nishiki Area. Nishiki area preserves the primitive and beautiful rural scenery of Japan. Farming is an important industry there—so that it is only natural to have promoted Green Tourism.

The Kadowakis in their spinach house.

The Kadowaki Family manages a spinach farm: accommodation started only as their side business. The idea came about after a visit to Taizando (泰山堂), which was the only Nouka Minshuku in Akita Prefecture--that was 12 years ago!

Driven by the inspiration, the mother and her daughter convince the father, who later to become enthusiastically involved. After a thorough contemplation, the Kadowaki Family started its accommodation service, becoming the 2nd noka minshuku in Akita prefecture. Since then, they have been serving an important role in promoting green tourism in Akita Prefecture.

Seisetsukan (星雪館) literally means “Stars and Snow Inn”, which was named after a wish for guests to enjoy stars in the summer and snow in winter.

Seisetsukan is surrounded by rice paddies.

The field becomes deeply covered with snow.

Shimi-Daikon (lit. Frozen Daikon Radish) is naturally freeze-dried by hands.

Fujimi-san (back) and O-kasan (front)

Fujimi-san, the daughter of the family, might seem a bit reserved. Despite of her first impression, she is an active promoter of green tourism in Nishiki area. She has an experience in attending a language school in China. No wonder -- she has a quality of someone who can make a genuine friendship with people from any cultural background.

The Kadowaki also welcome guests who wish to stay for an extended period -- for more hands-on experience with farmers or to discover a community for their second home.

Nishiki is at the heart of Japanese rural community. If you are searching for a real intercultural connection with people, a noka-minshuku is highly recommended.

Seisetsukan (星雪館) is available from 3,000 yen (with No meals/shared kitchen) and 6,000 yen (with 2 meals). You can also stop by only for a meal. Reservation can be made on by telephone(#0187-48-2914) or fax (# 0187-48-2977).

Hand-drawn Map of Local Area.

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