Katakuri House, Akiyamago, an unexplored region with heavy snowfall, open only in midwinter


For inquiry

Akiyamago is an unexplored region with such heavy snowfall that it was once exempted from compulsory education by the national government. We have prepared a three-weekend-only lodging plan to experience the winter in Akiyamago. On the following day, a local guide will take you to Mikurabashi Bridge, which is also known as the setting of the movie “Yureru”. Please enjoy a special time to experience this unexplored region of heavy snowfall.

Available Winter Lodging Dates (7 days total)

  • 2024/2/22 (Thu), 23 (Fri), 24 (Sat)
  • 2024/3/1 (Fri), 2 (Sat), 8 (Fri), 9 (Sat)

Katakuri House

Katakuri House in Akiyamago is selected as the second best in accommodations using closed school across Japan by Nihon Keizai Shinbun. Each class room is turned into a guest room whereas school master’s room offers onsen. Guests enjoy meals using local and seasonal ingredients. (Photo Noguchi Hiroshi)

The region was once exempted from providing compulsory schooling

Ketto Elementary School opened in an ordinary house in 1884. During its 108-year history, the region was exempted from providing compulsory schooling to local children for 43 years started from 1892. It was such a harsh policy and locals had adovocated for implimenting a complete compulsory education for long time. The school building was finally built on the site where Katakuri House currently stands in 1932. Although the exemption was lifted and a branch school was established, Ketto Elementary School was temporary closed in 1986 until its final closure in 1992. The school was transfomred into Katakuri House in 1993 as a home-town revitalisation project and the new chapter of the school has continued to date.

Meals (*Photo is an example)

Tsunan-town has been inhabited since the Jomon Era, where people have developed a diet combining the wild plants and mushrooms from the mountains, and cultivated rice and vegetables on the valley lands of Tsunan. Enjoy locally-sourced seasonal delicacies, including locally-brewed sake.

A hidden onsen spots

There are lots of onsen to visit in Akiyamago including Ketto Onsen in the former school master’s room; Koakazawa onsen known as the best medicinal onsen; and Uenohara onsen offering a magnificent view of Mt Torikabuto. (Photo Noguchi Hiroshi.)

Mikura Bridge

Mikura Bridge is a suspension bridge where a Japanese movie released in 2006 called “Sway” was filmed.  Nakatsugawa gorge spreading in front of the bridge presents rush green of trees in spring as well as bright colours in autumn. It is one of the 50 bridges of Niigata – a must-visit spot during your stay in Akiyamago.

A local guide will take you to Mikurabashi Bridge. Enjoy a special moment to experience the unexplored region of heavy snowfall. (Photo Nakamura Osamu)

Stunning stone-walled field

Katakuri House is surrounded by abundant nature and people have found the way to live in such environment. The stone-walled field is a place where locals created for hunger prevension. Although it was not easy to cultivate soil containing lots of rocks and pebbles, such effort resulted in the stunning looking walled-field which has been treasured as local cultural asset. Wind tunnels where the temprature reman unchanged throughout the year regardless of seasons are dotted across the region, offering rare spieces of plants to grow. It has been chosen as one of the best 100 rural village landscape of Japan.

Matagi Culture

Akiyamago is located in the midst of mountains, Mt Naeba to the east and Mt Torikabuto to the west. It is one of the best 100 unexplored regions where the decendant of travelling Matagi from Akita still hunt bear as of today. The community has developed and kept distinctive customs of life as a place known for heavy snowfall in winter with limited access to outside the region nor convenient communication channels. Try on a piece of bear fur when you play on the new artwork, Tsumari Sugoroku by Hara Rintaro and Hara Yu!

Art works that can be played (Hara Rintaro +Hara Yu “Tsumari Sugoroku” photo Kioku Keizo)

A giant Sugoroku, which guests can freely play with, is set up in the gymnasium. Both adults and children can enjoy this work of art. Why not try it for yourself?

For inquiry

Echigo Tsumari Art Field Information Center
Address Museum on Echigo-Tsumari, MonET 6-1, 71-2, Honcho, Tokamachi-city, Niigata Prefecture, 948-0003
E-mail info@tsumari-artfield.com
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