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A Townscape Frozen in Time

Updated: May 10


For those captivated by the drama of Shogun and eager to delve deeper into Japan’s rich historical tapestry, Tamba-Sasayama City in Hyogo prefecture beckons with its timeless allure. Located just an hour away by train or car from Osaka and Kobe, this 400-year-old castle town offers a portal to the era of the samurai that history enthusiasts won’t want to miss. Listed among Japan’s 100 Beautiful Historical Landscapes, Tamba-Sasayama City stands as a testament to the nation’s storied past. From Samurai houses to grand feudal residences, Tamba-Sasayama City offers a rare opportunity to not only witness history but to step right into its embrace. Whether you’re exploring ancient castles or indulging in a night’s stay in a centuries-old hotel, Tamba-Sasayama City promises an immersive experience of old Japanese lifestyle, brimming with Edo vibes!



Sasayama Castle Oshoin Palace

Among the city’s most significant landmarks are the Oshoin Palace, a remarkable wooden structure that once served as the administrative center for a feudal lord. Despite its original purpose, the Oshoin Palace’s size and architectural grandeur rival that of the renowned Nijo-jo Castle in Kyoto, where the Shogun stayed while at the capital. Built in 1609, this palace played a central role in the political landscape of Tamba-Sasayama City, serving as a vital hub for transportation to Kyoto. Although it was burned down after a fire incident, it was reconstructed in 2000 and has been given a new life to its historical treasure. Today, visitors can marvel at the Oshoin Palace's classic architectural style and gain insight into the rich history of the region.



NIPPONIA

At the heart of Tamba-Sasayama City’s preservation efforts lies NIPPONIA, a pioneering hotel company committed to transforming old folk homes into quaint and unique accommodation facilities. Across Tamba-Sasayama City, NIPPONIA boasts five distinct hotels, each infused with its own pre-renovation history. From a former private residence of a bank magnate to a once vibrant geisha house, or even a traditional Japanese tea shop, every property holds a story. Saimoto Kenji, an architect who specializes in renovation projects, emphasizes a philosophy of “After and Before,” rather than the conventional “Before and After”. His approach seeks to extend the lifespan of these historical homes and preserve their original character.



Shuuraku Maruyama

Nestled just a brief ten-minute drive north of Tamba-Sasayama Castle Town lies the enchanting Shuuraku Maruyama, also known as Village Maruyama. Here, amidst the tranquil embrace of rural Japan, guests have the unique opportunity to inhabit a meticulously restored 150-year-old folk house, having the whole building to themselves. This immersive experience, akin to being a “resident” blending into the local life, resonates with the spirit of NIPPONIA’s founding philosophy. Throughout the seasons, an array of activities awaits, from the serene art of tea leaf picking to the wholesome joy of harvesting black beans. Embark on invigorating treks or indulge your culinary curiosity with hands-on pizza making—an adventure-filled day awaits! Within the village’s embrace, culinary delights beckon. Indulge in the artistry of French cuisine at the village’s premier restaurant or savor the sublime flavors of Michelin-starred soba, elevating your evening to an exquisite dining experience. Amidst picturesque landscapes, a tranquil retreat awaits, seamlessly blending traditional hospitality with modern gourmet sensibilities—ensuring unforgettable memories.


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