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To Know the True Beauty of Japan, Visit Sasayuri-ann Villa of Muro

A Japanese Villa Built Approximately 150 Years Ago, Preserving the Scenery of a Bygone Era

The Murofukano district in Uda City, Nara Prefecture. Enchanted by the charm of the area, Mr. Tetsuji Matsubayashi, the owner of a trading business, opened the Sasayuri-ann villa to the public in the autumn of 2014. The roof on the approximately 150 year old Japanese kominka-style building was restored as a traditional thatched roof, and the entire building is rented out as a lodge. Guests can experience the charm of bygone days, such as gathering around the open central hearth, climbing to the loft that feels like a secret hiding place, and enjoying the unique old-fashioned urn baths in Yamato-ann next door. The villa is also equipped with a business center and Internet access.

It was the satoyama scenery, a combination of fields and mountains evocative of Japan’s roots, that so fascinated Mr. Matsubayashi. The nostalgic scenes that evoke Japan’s turning of the four seasons, such as the sunrise that dyes the entire sky a gentle rose color, cliffs enveloped in a sea of fog, and the azure dusk that quietly closes the day, move the hearts of all Japanese people.

Showing Overseas Travelers the True Nature of Japan’s Beauty

Sasayuri’s terraced fields, abounding in rice, and the scenes of people living as one with nature, have earned it a place in Nihon no Sato 100 Selection, a collection of 100 beautiful man-made hamlets throughout Japan. The districts’ activities to preserve and promote the natural satoyama field and mountain lifestyle symbolized by Sasayuri has also been registered as a UNESCO Future Heritage.

Mr. Matsubayashi, the proprietor of the Sasayuri-ann villa, was exceedingly worried about the boorish electrical lines which would divide the expansive natural scenery. To that end Mr. Matsubayashi purchased all the land containing electrical poles in the area, and is continuing to press the city hall with requests to move all electrical lines completely underground. Countless powerlines cutting across the sky has become an unquestioned part of the townscape of Japan, but Mr. Matsubayashi states, “it is only by restoring this region to the way Japan once looked, that is to say without electrical poles, that its fundamental power will be revealed. If we want visitors from overseas to know the true beauty of Japan, we cannot take half-measures.”

Where to Find Japan’s True Beauty…

Mr. Matsubayashi asserts that Japan is not limited to only the historical buildings and cultural properties found in tourist areas,

“Japan’s true beauty remains in its countryside, where you can feel the vitality of daily life. Japan’s true beauty can be found within its mountains, seas and sky.”

Beauty resides in a landscape that has been lovingly handed down through countless generations – that is the lesson that time spent at Sasayuri-ann teaches you.

As an expression of his gratitude to nature, Mr. Matsubayashi offers a prayer to the sun every morning, “Thank you for allowing me to work another day in this wonderful location.” Here in the fields and mountains of Sasayuri-ann, one can still find a way of life that embodies the awe and gratitude towards nature that has long been held by the Japanese people.



Rice terrace villa Sasayuri-ann
656 Fukano, Muro, Uda-shi, Nara Pref.
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