Matsumoto is a historic city that grew out of the wealth generated in rice fields and farmlands that surround its urban center and famous castle. Even today, it remains a city reliant on agriculture and one where you can enjoy an expansive rural landscape only a short distance from the city. It makes Matsumoto an ideal location to enjoy the Japanese concept of “satoyama” with an overnight stay at the family-friendly, Satoyama Doors.
The “Satoyama” Concept: Rural Revitalization in the Okada District
At its heart, Japan is a rural country and that spirit is expressed through the concept of “satoyama” – a word that refers to the border land between farmland and forest or mountains. For Japanese, the word “satoyama” evokes a feeling of harmony between people and nature and nostalgia for a traditional lifestyle; and it is that concept that is inspiring revitalization efforts in the Okada District of Matsumoto.
The Okada District is a place where you can enjoy vast fields of rice and ‘soba’ (buckwheat) along with apple, persimmon and other fruit orchards. Many Okada residents work agricultural jobs and are involved in programs that aim to maintain the area’s strong rural character. Local business including.
Yanagisawa Ringyo and Yamato Ranch play an important role in this vision, hosting many community events through the year; while most recently, the conceptual hotel of Satoyama Doors has opened in Okada.
Satoyama Doors: A Place of Exchange Between Locals & Visitors
Satoyama Doors is a café and accommodation that works with the local community to promote the area’s rural character and local produce while also addressing challenges such as depopulation, employment and the environment. Much more than just a café and accommodation, Satoyama Doors is designed to suit the tastes of both locals and visitors and as such, act as a place of sharing between people.
The Satoyama Doors café is a great place to enjoy a meal – made from local produce – tea or coffee, while overnight guests can also enjoy its fantastic dinner and breakfast menu while staying in unique setting. A variety of workshops including ‘soba’ noodle, pizza, and sausage-making along with craft experiences are also available. Indeed the emphasis at Satoyama Doors is on hands-on experience and traditional play, making it ideally-suited to travelling families seeking an engaging experience for their children while in Matsumoto.
Glamping for Families: Blending Comfort & Curiosity for Play!
Satoyama Doors includes two Western-style rooms and three Mongolian-style yurts for use of overnight guests – making it a truly unique accommodation option! The traditional styling of the yurts is complemented by comfortable furnishings including bedding chosen by a sleep specialist.
Mongolian kids costumes, cherished children’s books and wooden toys imported from Germany and Switzerland add to the eclectic, traditional theme of the yurts. This is glamping designed for families with an emphasis on traditional play without modern distractions.
Both the accommodation and café have a strong focus on entertaining children and their families. Inside the café, you will discover a grand tree trunk said to be around 500 years old. Its hollow interior is intended as a place for children to meet, chat, play and read, and in doing so inspire a sense of wonder and adventure. It is a place in which children can discover the pleasure of traditional play, without the need to screen time and modern gadgets. A place to engage their imaginations while adults can enjoy a relaxed environment set within the surrounding rural landscape.
Enjoy the Best Local Produce: A Farm to Barbecue Experience!
Each yurt includes a barbecue for your private use while the café provides a delectable menu of local produce including meat and vegetables to cook for yourself. You can choose from different menus depending on your tastes and dietary needs, with staff on hand to assist with setting up your barbecue and explaining how to operate it. Breakfast is served in the café with the menu catering to Western tastes including the best croissants in Matsumoto!
During the day, Satoyama Doors conducts food workshops including ‘soba’ noodles, pizza and sausage-making. Matsumoto is famous for its ‘soba’ (buckwheat) noodles making it a popular activity for families with the international options of pizza and sausage-making being just as much fun. All workshops are designed to use and highlight local produce.
Stay, Unwind & Discover the Beauty of the Surrounding Landscape
The design of Satoyama Doors is also intended to show-off the beauty of the surrounding landscape, with its rooftop deck open to guests. From there, you can enjoy a view of the valley including its many rice and soba fields, along with apple and persimmon orchards and areas of Matsumoto City.
Visitors wanting to explore a little more can take short walks from Satoyama Doors including up the hill to enjoy further views or around the nearby lake and through the surrounding fields. Should you have the energy, the popular Matsumoto City Alps Park – a serene public park looking toward the North Alps and nearby Azumino area – is an easy 30 minute walk from your accommodation. The park is popular with local families due to its many playgrounds and small zoo – even more entertainment for travelers with young children and anyone looking for an overnight stay with a difference while in Matsumoto!
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