Spending the Night in a House Built During Meiji Era in Taiki Town

Spending the Night in a House Built During Meiji Era in Taiki Town

Taiki is a beautiful countryside town with gorgeous landscape, home to kind and loving people. Here you won’t find fancy restaurants or famous hotels, instead, you will be able to immerse yourself in the simple life and learn how little you need to be happy.

I have been to Taiki town a couple of times before but always to the seaside area during summer, and every time I came, I was always astonished by the beautiful nature.

This time, Dani and I planned to spend the night in Taiki. Taiki town has about 20 guest houses, and at each house, visitors can have various experiences of ”Minpaku“. We chose to spend the night at a house that was built during the Meiji Era.

Written by Isis Akemi Muto.

Before getting to our main destination, we made a quick stop at Ouchiyama Milk Village. If you don’t know this place, you must come! Believe it or not, this was our first time here. I truly regret that we didn’t stop the many times we passed in front of the store. I remembered seeing this place always so crowded. But what is so special about this place?

They have the best vanilla soft ice (or soft cream)! Dani is not a fan of vanilla ice cream but even he loved this ice cream. 

We had a variety of options to choose from, so I chose the regular vanilla soft cream and Dani ordered the vanilla ice cream with rum raisin. 
The cookies and cakes, among many other products they sell are made from the milk Ouchiyama, a well-known and tasty milk in Mie Prefecture. The Ouchiyama dairy factory is just 1-km distance from the store.

I was intrigued by this butter. I heard it’s delicious so I will have to try it someday.

Ouchiyama Milk Village



※There are no staff who can speak English, so sometimes they can't handle the phone very well.

Once we finished our soft cream, it was time to head to our guest house.

We arraived at the guest house called Kominka Beppin. Kominka means old Japanese-style house, and Beppin, well, I’ll explain the meaning of this word later.

Another confession time, during almost 23 years of living in Japan, I’ve never stayed in a hotel or cottage before. I guess the reason was probably because when we traveled, we either stayed at a relative’s or a friend’s house, or we just had day trips, never staying the night, so this night was going to be special for us.

There it was, the cute sign of Kominka Beppin at the entrance of this incredible well-preserved 130-year-old house.
We were welcomed by Mrs. Kato and Mrs. Yoshida, the ladies that run the guest house. How kind and lovely they were. They gave us a quick tour around the house. 

I’ve been inside a couple of old houses in Japan, but never one that was more than 100 years old. We were surprised by the low ceiling and the old stairs. When we first arrived in Japan, 23 years ago, there were still houses with low ceiling, but the houses’ structure has changed, and many Japanese people are now taller than the ones in the past, therefore the ceilings are high in new houses, so seeing this low one was interesting, it really felt like we went back in time.

I had so many questions about the house and Mrs. Kato and Mrs. Yoshida were kind to answer all my questions.

The house belongs to Mrs. Kato. She told us she bought the house 10 years ago because she wanted a place where she could have her relaxing time, somewhere she could spend the holidays, but then along with her good friend Mrs. Yoshida, they decided a year ago to run a Kominka. They hadn’t had many guests since they had just started but they are really looking forward to having guests in their lovely house. I guess we were the first foreigners they had staying in the house.

I was intrigued by this lamp called “Chochin” in Japanese, and I asked them why it had Inoue written on it, and they told us that Inoue was the family name of the owner who built the house during the Meiji Era. 

I just couldn’t stop admiring and taking pictures of the house. It was fascinating to see how well-preserved the interior was and how beautifully the 2 ladies decorated the whole house.

We went to another fascinating area of the house the dining space. Three things caught our attention, an impressive high ceiling, a lever in the shape of a fish in the middle of the room and the hearth stove. 
And with that curiosity, we had a quick history lesson. They told us that this area with a traditional Japanese sunken hearth was called “irori” and the lever in the shape of a fish was part of a “jizaikagi”, a pothook that consists of an iron rod placed inside a bamboo tube attached to the ceiling. An irori table is usually square-shaped, but what differentiated this irori from others was that this one had a hole around the sunken hearth so people can sit in a western style. But if they wanted to make it the traditional Japanese style, they could cover the entire hole with pieces of wood made exactly for that. Cool right? 

We were having such a great time talking to Mrs. Kato and Mrs. Yoshida that we almost forgot about dinner. Once again, we were going back in time and made the rice using the traditional Japanese hearth stove, called “kamado”. First, Mrs. Yoshida put the rice inside the pot. 

Dani was in charge of starting the fire. When using this cooing style, we needed to be careful with the fire. The fire needs to be adjusted frequently, and how should Dani do that? By blowing air through a long bamboo tube, and of course, along with the instructions of our kind hostesses.
While we were waiting for the rice to cook, they told us a story of a guest family who stayed there, and they had little kids, and the kids were so excited blowing the air and putting pieces of wood into the hole to see the wood burn that they actually burned the rice. It was a little tragic but also a fun memory for them. 

Mrs. Kato was explaining how they remove the charcoal so that the rice won’t burn, and she was doing the hand gestures non-stop so a really stupid question popped out of my mouth “With your hands???” and we all burst into laughter.

Once the rice was ready, Dani removed the wood (certainly, not with his hands) that were still burning and put into another hole that had a pot on top of it filled with water, and the charcoal, into a pot on the ground to cool off.

Tourist attractions covered by this article