Takimi House (滝見の家), which translates to “looking at the waterfall house”, is a beautiful family-run ryokan (Japanese inn) tucked away in the Nagano hillside along the Nakasendo trail. Here at this excellent value mid-range ryokan, your party is the only guest—essentially making it your own private onsen and lodgings.
We stayed for a couple of nights as a party of five this March and my inner cheapo was overjoyed with the quality, hospitality and value we experienced.
Your Host and Personal Chef
Koike-san, the owner, previously worked as a chef in Tokyo before taking a change of career and moving out to the countryside in his early forties to start Takimi House and onsen. As well as being a helpful and jovial host, he was also our personal chef for both nights of our stay. He was keen to both accommodate our dietary preferences, and gently introduce us to more unusual Japanese fare.
The first evening we were served a main dish of wild boar nabe (hot pot) along with grilled river fish, steamed bracken, salmon sashimi, grilled vegetables and Japanese wagyu beef. During the meal, which Koike-san cooked in front of us over the irori (sunken hearth) fire, with a slight glint of mischief in his eye, he quizzed us on whether we’d tasted some more exotic Japanese meats. A number of us had tried basashi (raw horse sashimi) and venison, but none of us had eaten bear meat. When we asked him to explain the flavor, he shrugged and said, “It can’t be explained, you have to try it.”
And sure enough for the following evening meal, Koike-san emerged with a tray of bright red ribbons of bear meat—as our main, we were served bear (and pork as a fall back) shabushabu.
The Takami Onsen
Takami House also serves as a small local onsen open to the public between 1pm and 5pm. Outside these hours the onsen is open to guests only, so you have your own (almost) 24-hour private hot spring. There’s both an indoor and outdoor bath, with the outdoor bath enjoying the therapeutic roar of the waterfall as background ambiance.
Takimi House can accommodate up to six (and possibly eight) guests. There are three Japanese tatami-style bedrooms, a reception area and tea room, all with a simple and rustic (wabi-sabi if you will) theme. The tea room, includes a traditional kotatsu (low heated table), view of the waterfall with a quiet background roar. It also makes for a nice work spot; while seated comfortably under the warmth of the kotatsu we were making full use of the wifi, on our laptops, making Skype calls. In fact, Koike-san mentioned that one of his European guests had booked the place for an entire month and used the lodgings as a work retreat.
Pricing And Booking
Since they only accommodate one party at the time, the price per person changes depending on the number of guests, so the best value is if you have a party of four or more. But even if you’re just a couple, you’d be hard-pressed to find such a charming experience for much less.
|Party of two||29,400 yen per person, including dinner and breakfast|
|Party of three||24,150 yen per person, including dinner and breakfast|
|Party of four to six||18,900 yen per person, including dinner and breakfast|
Koike-san will drive you to and from Nagiso Station, and he also dropped us off in Magome for our afternoon hiking along the Nakasendo way.
You can reserve your dates by contacting Takami House using this contact form, or use the contact details from their website’s English section, or phone (below). There’s an availability calendar on their website (top right), the days with an X indicate it’s already booked for that night.
When sending a booking email include: dates, number of adults/children, whether you need picking up, and any dietary preferences.