Residence Yasushi

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First snow | Residence Yasushi, Nozawaonsen, Japan

2019 - 2020 Winter Season

This year, we have seen growing interest in visitors coming in spring, summer and autumn - boosted perhaps by the fans travelling between matches of the Rugby World Cup, but largely as a result of independent travellers becoming more adventurous and exploring beyond the major cities. Where language used to be a hurdle many felt they could not surmount, the advent of Google Translate and younger generations who speak English have encouraged visitors to the Japanese isles to venture beyond the urban centres. Japan’s deep culture, gently refined hospitality, natural wonders and mouth-watering cuisine is easily found in even the most corners of these islands. Our guests this green season have revelled in Nozawaonsen’s public onsen thermal baths (admittedly a bit too hot in the summer!), stunning beech forests and mountain trails, and world class cuisine made from renowned local produce. Green season guests have enjoyed pottering around the village markets and those who walked the long distance Shinetsu Trail enjoyed "commuting" from their comfortably cool Residence Yasushi rooms during the height of a sweltering summer!

Our forests are putting on their annual gold and crimson cloaks. Before we know it, these rich colours of autumn will be cloaked in white again. We are thrilled that we will be seeing so many of you again soon! The winter season this year is proving to be very strong and we encourage our returning guests to book early. The amazing Japanese powder is bringing our serious skiers back early in the 2020 but do also take advantage of mixing spring skiing with snow-shoeing, onsen hopping and a trip down south to view for a spot of cherry blossom appreciation. In March and April, Nozawaonsen still offers all the attractions of winter but without the crush and crowds.

At Residence Yasushi, we are putting in the finishing touches to Himecho@Yasushi - a historic house which was previously an old ryokan that is located in the centre of the village. Himecho@Yasushi is located in the quiet Ogama district right beneath the Yu Road travelator leading to the Hikage ski field. The old Himecho was run as a ryokan until the previous owners decided to keep only the restaurant and bar going. We are thrilled to be able to restore the property as a guest house again. Updating this century old guest house with more modern lifestyle elements has been a labour of love and an exercise in creativity when finding solutions to what often appeared as insurmountable conundrums. Where guests had to share one family bathroom in the past, Himecho@Yasushi is proud now to offer five guest rooms and five bathrooms. Guests at Himecho are of course, also welcome to try the private onsens at Residence Yasushi and explore the public soto-yus nearby. Guest rooms are cosy, traditional tatami rooms but with futons that are large enough for the comfort of our taller guests. There are incredible restaurant and dining options on your doorstep - including an early-closing tapas bar in the traditional bar space of this historic house that will be serving quiet snacks for those coming off the slopes hungry. Guests at Himecho will also have access to a small galley kitchen.
Let us know if there is anything we can do to make your stay special. Remember to book services early during the high season as guides, classes, restaurants (everything!) gets booked up quickly. We are so looking forward to welcoming you to our wonderful corner of Japan.


Obon | Residence Yasushi, Nozawaonsen, Japan

Obon (お盆)

Obon (お盆) or sometimes, just Bon (盆) is a Japanese Buddhist remembrance custom observed over five centuries that has evolved into a family reunion holiday for many in Japan. It is especially prominent in rural communities and is a fixture in family calendars as everyone makes an effort to return together - sometimes to ancestral homes to do some grave sweeping together, sometimes to just have a holiday and reconnect. Everyone stops for a while - even our builders getting historic Himecho ready for our winter guests put down their tools, and prioritises time with loved ones.
The Obon just past was no exception and Nozawaonsen teemed with families. The morning markets (held at 6 - 7.30am!) were crowded; many coming out in their yukatas toting bath essentials as they combined a bit of shopping and snacking with a soak in a favourite onsen. A bonus to waking up early was the lovely cool morning air; the days were very warm!! The bright days encouraged our intrepid sportsmen to explore the many mountain trails around us on mountain bikes or on their own steam. Bikers could take the gondola up to Nagasaka and trail ride down the mountain through the many wonderful trails. Our guests also discovered the many hikes around Nozawaonsen, Lake Hokuryu and the Shinetsu Trail.
The less active enjoyed shopping in the village, the amazing range of good food and restaurants, the soto-yu public baths and ashi-yu foot baths. At the top of the Nagasaka gondola, many just brought books and relaxed in the sofas laid out, enjoying the view and the much cooler weather! Admittedly, we found our guests often came back after lunch to enjoy the air-conditioning in their rooms too!
As we head from summer into autumn, the colours in the forests behind will come in and the weather will cool. Autumn is one of our favourites periods here. Come visit us if you are here for the Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan, or if you’d like to enjoy the rich autumn colours and taste the seasonal cuisine of the area. We hope we’ll have a chance to introduce the delights of the Fall here to you! 


Residence Yasushi, Nozawaonsen, Japan

Green Season 2018

Our first white season this winter has been a thrill. We’ve so enjoyed welcoming guests from all around the world and introducing Nozawaonsen. It was again, another outstanding season for skiing and snowboarding. Guests celebrated our fabulous breakfasts and thoroughly enjoyed the relaxing apres-ski drinks at Gochisou and soaking in our private onsen. As much fun as we had on the slopes, we had more in the village discovering new activities together - from snow shoe walks to onsen-hopping, culinary lesson and learning local handicrafts. Bad weather days became a good excuse for skiers to join non-skiers picking up new skills, sampling the fabulous food at restaurants that only open for lunch and uncovering delightful hidden corners of the village.
Of course, Nozawaonsen’s Dosojin Matsuri fire festival in January stands out not only amongst the other many festivals in the village, but in all of Japan (officially designated a national cultural treasure). There are other delightful festivals throughout the year and it has been a real delight to discover them alongside our guests. As the village draped on her green cloak of spring, snow festivals evolved into celebrations centred around harvests - most recently one focused on the delicious, succulent bamboo shoots that emerge in early spring.
Once the snow melts, we started work on our exciting new villa addition. One of the oldest historic houses - Himecho, in the heart of the village at Ogama, will become the newest addition to our accommodation offering. Renovations are underway to bring you traditional machiya-style living combined with the exacting standards of comfort we offer all our guests at Residence Yasushi. Ideal for a family or group of friends, Himecho will be ready for the next winter season. This gem of a house is steps away from the Yu Road moving walkway to the Hikage ski area, and steps away from the central Oyu crossroad in the village. Yet, as anyone familiar with Nozawaonsen will know, historic Ogama is a very peaceful and quiet neighbourhood.
There is so much to discover in enjoy in this village all year round. For those who aren’t focused only on skiing, our favourite season is the late summer and autumn. There are fabulous walks, markets, festivals and as always, the therapeutic onsen and amazing food.
Do come and join us for the long Obon break, or if you are following the Rugby World Cup to Japan!! 

Path to Shrine | Residence Yasushi, Nozawaonsen, Japan

Opening ceremony | Residence Yasushi, Nozawaonsen, Japan

December 2018

We're officially opened!!

Residence Yasushi has been welcoming some truly amazing people who’ve been willing to be our pioneering guests.
Thank you to our mayor, village council and neighbours have been incredible in their support. We also have an amazing operational team ready to welcome you. It is no surprise that our first guests have been delighted with the personal touch they have found at Residence Yasushi; our guest relations executives have already been noted for going above and beyond. We can’t always make things happen as we would like, but we will always try our best.
We are simply delighted at how well our rooms, and particularly, our beds have been received!! We’re very proud of our beds. A good rest is restorative beyond most medicines and we made the comfort of our rooms and beds a key focus throughout our planning. Last summer, we went to see how the mattresses were being manufactured - and had customised them further for greater comfort! Our bedding and linens were selected to ensure the best sleep experience - the ultimate in understated quality.
The attention to detail throughout shows. We realise that no holiday is complete without great food and have worked on our breakfast buffet. The focus on quality, local ingredients and a broad-enough (but not so broad it encourages waste!) offering each morning has been very well received indeed. We are delighted that our guests love it!
And finally, to everyone who gave us a shot in these first weeks, THANK YOU!!! Thank you for believing we were worth trying out. Thank you for your feedback and support. It’s guests like you that make this venture fun and rewarding!
We hope you’ll come back soon!! 

Opening with sake | Residence Yasushi, Nozawaonsen, Japan

Autumn Work Week 2018

Final stretch.
We have been busy in Nozawaonsen this wonderful autumn week. The works at Residence Yasushi are moving along at an impressive clip now!! So exciting to see the progress we’ve made over the summer and hats off to our building contractors who have managed it all smoothly.
Our furniture has arrived and the guest rooms are being set up. Take a look at some early shots below. Pretty happy with the results so far. Hope you are as excited as we are to see them fully done!! 
Views from the windows of the rich autumn colours outside make a stunning backdrop for the rooms - a fortuitous break as most of the decorative items have yet to be unpacked. There is still some work to be done in this last month of autumn but not much more. 
This is one of our favourite seasons in Nozawaonsen. It is not as crowded - only the domestic cognoscenti come to enjoy the onsen baths and hiking trails. Although not every restaurant is open, the best of the local places offer ample choice. We ate at a different restaurant nearly every meal (but of course, had to repeat our favourites at least once!!)
Admittedly, we avoided the last of the construction work and stayed at Residence Yasushi’s sister property Himecho, which is right in the heart of the village. It was a less than five minute walk to everything. 
Interestingly, this working stay has also had consequences for Himecho. Himecho was slated for a full renovation but after spending a week here, we are revising those plans. Himecho deserves to be kept as much as it is and always has been as possible. 
It is a gem of a house - 150 years old and still solid and warm. There may not be modern en-suite facilities for every room but that wouldn’t be an authentic way of living in such a historic old house. Having become afficionados of the daily bath, we found the family ofuro a joy for the days we were too tired to drag on our yukatas and totter down to Oyu (the nearest soto-yu public bath).
We hardly used the very large kitchen. The family who lived here before ran it as a ryokan and restaurant. Plans are underway to continue that tradition by having the incredibly talented Chef Kameda of Maison de Nature at Obuse run this as his winter venue. Watch this space!

Address

8853-1 Toyosato,
Nozawaonsen,
Shimotakai District,
Nagano Prefecture
389-2502, Japan