Tucked away in Tochigi Prefecture’s northeastern corner, Nakagawa-machi is a small town with less than 20,000 residents. Despite its small size, the area boasts world-class art museums, thrilling nature escapes, soothing hot springs and rare traditional crafts. By staying at Iizukatei — an upscale retreat with deep historic significance — guests can consider Nakagawa-machi as an extension of their lodgings. The hotel collaborates closely with local businesses to create immersive experiences tailored to the individual.

Reigning Supreme

Previously owned by the powerful Iizuka family, the Iizukatei property boasts several sophisticated accommodation options. There are two traditional residences and two earthen storehouses, all of them encompassed by an Edo-era stone wall to keep the outside world at bay. Due to their tangible cultural property status, the original designs both inside and out have been meticulously preserved where possible, with barely visible enhancements made to accommodate modern comforts and amenities. While away the hours gazing over the private garden space or cozy up on the Simmons brand beds, knowing that your temporary home is your metaphorical castle.

Keeping it Local

Part of Iizukatei’s charm is its close relationship with its host, the town of Nakagawa-machi. Though the hotel offers easy access to famed sights such as Ibaraki’s Daigo Falls and Fukushima’s Ouchi-juku, some of its best experiences lie closer to home. Explore the Koisago district — one of Japan’s most beautiful villages — where residents have conserved terraced rice fields, forests and landscapes and maintained the traditions of the Meiji-era pottery craft, Koisago-yaki. Yorokobi-no-mori & Koisago Satoyama Art Forest are adjacent woodland art spaces that showcase the co-existence between humans and nature. Find further harmonious connections at MOB Museum of Alternative Art, Nakagawa-machi Bato Hiroshige Museum of Art and other cultural highlights around town. 

Spoiled for Choice

Because each Iizukatei residence has its own fully equipped kitchen, guests are welcome to purchase and prepare their own meals in the privacy of their spacious abodes. There are also several catering options that highlight locally sourced fare as well as several restaurants around town, for those who want to avoid cooking. For those feeling social, Iizukatei staff can also arrange a dinner date where guests enjoy a hearty homecooked meal together with a local farming family. 

Nakagawa-machi is also home to a number of sake breweries. This includes Shimazaki Sake Brewery, which opens its sake storage cave — originally an underground military tank manufacturing facility — to visitors on weekends and holidays. 

For lighter options, try Setsugekka, a shaved ice shop, or Akane Terrace, which sells Nakagawa-grown mangoes and vegetables, home-roasted coffee and more. 

For booking information, visit the official Iizukatei website.


Sponsored Post