A look around Sasayama

The other day I went to Sasayama for the first time in a long while. I got to look around, giving me the chance to really feel the town’s atmosphere. Sasayama’s about the chillist town I’ve been to in awhile –far different from the busy cityscapes of Tokyo, Osaka, Kobe, and even Himeji. For one…

Sasayama in the Wintertime: Botan Nabe & More

I’ve talked about the vivid landscapes of autumn leaves before, but Sasayama City, Hyogo Prefecture is known for another seasonal specialty: its winter botan nabe, a hotpot stew made with local wild mountain boar meat arranged delicately in the shape of a botan (tree peony) flower.Traces of botan nabe’s popularity are all across the town,…

Takeda Castle Views and Around Toyooka

Located at the top of an approximately 354 meter-tall hill, the Takeda Castle Ruins overlook the small town of Asago. There are two points from which to look at the ruins. First, there’s the nearby Asago Mountain, from which, depending on the time of day and season, the Takeda Castle Ruins and the valley appear…

Sasayama Area

Vivid red, orange, and yellow autumn leaves stand out in profusion at the temple Dōkōji in Sasayama area during mid-to-late November. With a history stretching back to 1354, Dōkōji has a serene feeling, further amplified by its remote location. After ascending stairs lined on either side with maple trees, the main complex is accessible past…

Maruyama Village

Just a one-hour trip takes you out to this unforgettable village. Stay in a Japanese countryside farmhouse for an authentic experience of rural Japanese life. This rice-farming village is comprised of ten houses at the end of a road, but residents remain in only three. The village has faced a serious depopulation problem as a…

Hiwa no Kura (French)

Exquisite food in a rural setting. In the village of Maruyama, travelers can enjoy a comfortable stay in traditional Japanese countryside villas. The Hiwa no Kura restaurant is placed just next to the one of these villas and serves excellent French made by a chef who previously ran several restaurants in Kobe. It was his…