In early October a Japanese association called NOTE opened up a series of historic hotels in the Sasayama Castle Town in Hyogo Prefecture. The boutique hotels are located in traditional and historic Japanese homes that have been carefully restored. NOTE currently has 11 hotel suites in four buildings in the town, and operates them under their NIPPONIA Sasayama Castle Town Hotel brand. They have also converted a former bank (c1934) in Toyooka into a hotel, restaurant and cafe.
NOTE is a Sasayama-based association that was established in 2009 with the purpose of reinvigorating rural areas through restoring old and vacant houses, promoting tourism and supporting local businesses. The food served in the hotel restaurants, for example, is sourced locally to support the town’s farmers, while staff are hired locally where possible.
NOTE is aiming to have 10 hotels in operation by the 2020 Olympics.
Their historic boutique hotels currently include:
Auberge Toyooka 1925:
- 5 rooms ranging from 16 ~ 29 sqm in size.
- Room rates range from 15,000 ~ 30,000 Yen/night per person.
- Includes a restaurant that can seat up to 40, with private and function rooms, a cafe, and can also be rented out for weddings.
- Built in 1934 as the Toyooka Branch of the Hyogo Prefecture Agricultural Bank.
- Designed by architect Setsu Watanabe (1884-1967).
- 5 rooms, each accommodating up to 4 ~ 5 guests.
- 30 ~ 54 sqm in size.
- Room rates from 22,000 ~ 40,000 Yen/night per person.
- Built during the Meiji period as the home of a bank manager. Old maps show the home was originally 4 times the size and on a block of land twice the size as the current property. It was registered as an important scenic structure by the city in September 2015.
- Originally a tea shop with a shop owner’s residence at the rear. Thought to have been established in the late Edo period, this is one of Nipponia’s oldest properties.
- Room rates from 27,000 ~ 37,000 Yen/night per person.
- A row house dating from the early Meiji period.
- Located in a nationally designed Important Preservation District for Groups of traditional Buildings.
- Room rates from 22,000 ~ 33,000 Yen/night per person.
- A five-room, two-storey house located 650 meters east of the castle.
- The whole 150 sqm house can be rented out for 4 ~ 9 people.
- Rates for a group of 4 start from 86,000 ~ 130,000 Yen/night.
Traicy, October 19, 2015.
The Kobe Shimbun, October 2, 2015.
Nipponia Website ()