redifine luxury in terms of
and new discoveries.
Borrowing an old term from the Tale of Genji, Satoyama Jujo literally means 10 stories of the mountain village. Our 10 carefully curated stories—food, architecture, textile, agriculture, environment, art, outdoors, relaxation, health, and gathering—afford you an opportunity to fully immerse yourself the cuisine, culture and amazing natural beauty of the Minami-uonuma region. Together, these stories serve to fulfill our mission to redefine luxury in terms of first-hand experiences and new discoveries.
At Satoyama Jujo, we take a unique approach to Japanese cuisine. As much as possible, we use locally grown organic ingredients, including an abundant variety of traditional mountain vegetables, which our staff pick themselves after the spring thaw, and Koshihikari brand rice from Minami-uonuma, Japan’s preeminent rice-growing region, much like the Romanée-Conti region of France is said to produce the best wines. All sauces are handmade, and no artificial additives or preservatives are used. Some dishes are prepared using traditional methods we have learned from the locals, and we believe one of our missions is to keep these traditions, some of which were all but lost, alive for future generations. Meanwhile, our chefs each bring their different strengths to the table to provide innovative twists on tradition.
The Reception Hall is a 150-year old Japanese house that we fully renovated to ensure the utmost comfort while maintaining the striking features of a traditional home built to withstand some of the heaviest snows in Japan. Made entirely of zelkova, a strong hardwood, with Japanese lacquer for additional protection, the building was surely one of the most exquisite of its time, and the fact that it survived Japan’s postwar building boom and the shift to modern-style architectural preferences make it a rarity today. Meanwhile, the modern extension houses our guest rooms, lounge, shop, and natural hot spring bath. Every effort has been made to make you feel right at home during your stay. Slip off your shoes and relax in the well-heated building amid the faint scent of wood and tatami straw.
Before Japan’s modernization, Niigata flourished as a trading hub along the Sea of Japan, and it was well-known for its traditional textiles. One local textile is the Kamedajima cotton that originated in the early 1700s. To help promote this textile, Satoyama Jujo teamed up with a group of students at Musashino Art University to bring a modern twist to this traditional fabric. The garment born from this collaboration won
the Good Design Award in 2015, and Kamedajima cotton is going to be used in the bed covers and uniforms at Satoyama Jujo. Meanwhile, the most famous local textile is Echigo-jofu, which is made from the fibrous ramie plant using a time-tested technique. It was designated as an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in 2009.
Since rice is the staple of the Japanese people, we relocated the offices of our lifestyle magazine Jiyujin to Minami-uonuma in 2004 to learn about rice cultivation. Niigata Prefecture is known for having the best rice in Japan, Minami-uonuma the best rice in Niigata, and the Osawa district—where Satoyama Jujo is located—the best rice in Minami-uonuma. Therefore, when the opportunity arose to open this make inn, we decided to turn convention on its head and make rice the main dish. Naturally, the sake in this region is also bar none, and we offer sampler sets of local sake for guests who would like to try some with their meal. We also work with local non-profit organizations to promote the consumption of local rice.
Coexisting with nature is easier said than done for modern humans accustomed to convenience. At Satoyama Jujo, we strive to reduce the burden on the environment in every aspect of our operations. For example, our meals focus primarily on vegetables and use very little meat and fish. This is a deliberate choice because we aim to locally source as many of our ingredients as possible. The amenities in the room feature eco-friendly soaps and shampoos, and you will notice towel warmers in the bathroom. Our towels are made of organic cotton, and we encourage guest to reuse towels to help cut down on washing, which in turn helps us to conserve the pristine waters of this area. If you enjoy the face towel, you may take it home with you.
Throughout Satoyama Jujo, you will find many art works on display. Exposure to art breeds creativity and opens the door to the potential of design. You don’t need to read about art in books or rely on museums and art critics. To spread this message, we have started the Satoyama Art Project, through which we offer lectures, exhibits, and other events. We also believe that art, and its ability to foster creative thought, can help rejuvenate the local economy.
Satoyama Jujo and its amvazing natural surroundings are only two hours from Tokyo by bullet train. Come let nature be your playground. Skiers and snowboarders are sure to enjoy the snow-covered mountains, but even novices can enjoy the majestic winter landscapes on a snowshoe trek. All the necessary equipment is available for rent. At other times of the year, you can enjoy walking through beech forests, going for a run next to terraced rice paddies, and mountain biking. Don’t forget to take in a deep breath of the crisp, refreshing air and pamper yourself in a natural hot spring.
At Satoyama Jujo, we offer a natural open-air hot spring that one Japanese publication has ranked as having the best view in all of Japan. Drawing on the concept of the infinity pool, we designed the bath to provide a breathtaking eye-level view of Mt. Makihata and the surrounding peaks. On clear nights, you can enjoy a spectacular view of the Milky Way, and at certain times of year, the crickets will serenade you as you soak in the naturally soft water. The bath is not the only room with a view, however. The rooms facing the mountains afford the same majestic vista, which is especially stunning in winter.
The key to good health is eating healthy. Unlike a typical luxury hotel, Satoyama Jujo offers a menu composed predominantly of organic, local vegetables. We carefully check every ingredient we use to make sure they contain no artificial additives. One of our chefs, who studied Ayurveda in India, chooses body-healing spices to accent the dishes. A good night’s sleep is also important, and that’s why our rooms are all outfitted with beds that offer the utmost in comfort.