Kinosaki Inspirations

A Look Into a One-Night Visit at a Rural Homestay “Minshuku”

  • As we all know, the saying goes, “when in Rome.”

    For a visit to Japan, the travel experience doesn’t get more authentic than switching out a hotel for a local’s house!

    That’s exactly what we did during our visit to the Kannabe Highlands when we stayed at Nashikisou, a homestay (aka “minshuku”) situated in a quaint country home run by a warmhearted local woman named Mrs. Okamori.

    For years, Mrs. Okamori’s home has served as a mountainside retreat for visitors to the Kannabe Highlands, an outdoor adventure hub just south of Kinosaki Onsen.

  • We arrived at 18:00 for check-in, and just in time for dinner.

    Mrs. Okamori was waiting for us at the front door with a smile that can only be described as motherly.

    She quickly ushered us into the entrance, and in just a few steps we were back in the 1950s.

  • Nashikisou’s interior is a retro mix glass paneling, wooden architecture, and an authentically personal mashup of heirlooms dotting the home’s nooks and crannies.

    After showing us the stairs to the guestrooms, Mrs. Okamori left us to get our things sorted before dinner at 19:00, sharp!

    Our rooms on the second floor were spacious and homey, as if we were returning to our childhood rooms after a long day of playing in the sun.

  • For minshuku first-timers, here’s a tip: eat as light a lunch as possible!

    We were expecting a sizable dinner, but after the first three servings of wagyu beef and fresh veggies with about four more to go, a stomach can only hold so much.

    And trust us - you want to be able to finish all of the food your minshuku hosts serve you.

    Mrs. Okamori prepared for us sukiyaki, a self-serve dish where you boil a smorgasbord of meat and veggies in a large hotpot.

    If meat could, scientifically speaking, literally “melt in your mouth,” this beef would be the proof.

    Sizzling in soy sauce along with the freshly harvested vegetables straight from Mrs. Okamori’s garden, our dinner ended with full bellies and absolutely no bedtime cravings.

  • “Would you like to see the fireflies?”

    As we all sat around the table chatting about our families, work, and blissful nothings, Mrs. Okamori suggested that we move the conversation outside.

    During the summer, the nearby river and rice paddies become aglow with dozens of little fireflies.

    After a quick ride in Mrs. Okamori's car, we were just in time for the show - the fireflies flickered their lights in greeting, and under the stars with the river below, our voices grew quiet in favor of the croaking frogs.

    “We always bring our summer guests out here if they ask us,” Mrs. Okamori said on the ride back.

  • Our bedtime routine began with a soak in the communal bath, followed by brushing our teeth in the communal washroom.

    Despite the summer heat, a warm bath was just what we needed for our muscles.

    As with most minshuku accommodations, Nashikisou has one bath with a shower area which all guests are welcome to use.

    This is an instance where the camaraderie mindset of a minshuku really comes into play - everyone has to wait their turn for the bath and the washroom before turning in for the night!

    And while we had our own guestrooms to sleep in, depending on your group size or simply your preferences, you might find yourself having a slumber party with four people or more!

  • For breakfast, Mrs. Okamori prepared us a lovely assortment of fruits, veggies, fish, omelets, and even some homemade yogurt.

    After too many processed granola bar mornings to count, it was a breath of fresh air to have a completely homemade breakfast served in a relaxed setting before heading out to work!

Want to visit Mrs. Okamori’s Minshuku homestay?

  • About

    Danielle Leveille

    Danielle Leveille

    Junior Local Expert

    Originally from Chicago in the USA. She currently works for Visit Kinosaki as a coordinator for international relations. A lover of Tajima beef and hidden sightseeing spots, she can be found either at one of her favorite restaurants or exploring a secret nook in town.