Koudo no Yado, Uenoya


An au courant inn that bestows tranquility and vitality to those who visit


A new inn has opened along the ancient road of Kumano

The Kumano Road runs from the east side of Kumano Region of the Kii Peninsula from Ise to Kumano. In the town of Taiki-cho, Mie prefecture blessed by surrounding mountains and the flowing Ouchiyamagawa river of Miyagawa, an inn has opened its doors for business. This contemporary inn has newly registered with agriculture, forestry and fishing inn system of our company.

The building itself is a gallery

This lodging limits its reservations to one group per day so that the guests spend their time in leisure without the presence of other guests. Upon arrival, the okamisan (wife of the owner of the inn) Naoko Ogura will serve you Japanese sweets and freshly prepared maccha tea and after you have settled in, her husband Hitoshi Ogura will show you around the handsome inn which he designed himself.
My interest in the owner grew as he explained his overflowing ideas of the antiqued materials, furniture and other items. The variety of ideas that he applied on the inn was completely fascinating. Please look at the photos of Uenoya though they do not give the inn justice. It is like staying in a gallery.

Dining on uncomplicated yet luxurious food in an extraordinary space

The natural environment of the town of Taiiki is blessed by the river, ocean and mountains. That evening while the okamisan, Naoko, made most of the meal, I did lend a helping hand at baking, frying and rolling local produce she prepared. Dinner was served in a japonesque atmosphere on a sheen black table made of a singular slab of gingko tree. The lighting was ideal and in the background was smooth jazz music that Hitoshi had selected. The surreal ambience took me to a dream world. Hitoshi placed a slightly salted baked wild sweetfish, ayu, taken from the clear rivers of Ouchiyamagawa river, striped horse mackerel sashimi, log grown shiitake mushrooms and tempura made of a mélange of local grown vegetables in front of me and our conversation made my local sake even a more satisfying experience.

Slightly salted baked wild sweetfish from Ouchiyamagawa river
Striped horse mackerel and squid sashimi from the town’s Nishiki port.
Roasted Matsuzaka beef
Tempura made with vegetables, shiitake mushrooms and, chikuwa, a fish paste cake
Local shrimp tempura rolls
Locally brewed sake from the neighboring town, Odaicho which paired perfectly with the food!

“Each moment is always once-in-a-lifetime.” Omotenashi (hospitality) Japanese tea ceremony style

Naoko & Hitoshi Ogura

The hospitality that the hosts of tea ceremonies partake in have the spirit of “Each moment is always once-in-a-lifetime”. With warm and sincere hospitality, the Ogawas give their guests the feeling of tranquility and vitality.
150 years ago, Uenoya was built along the former Kumano road as a hatagoya (旅籠) , Edo period lodgings for merchants in cattle and horse trade. With the change of times, hatagoya inns closed one by one and disappeared. Hitoshi’s father engaged in the food processing industry so the building has been used as a processing plant. In 2002 Hitoshi who returned to his hometown embarked on the reform of the old building and over a period of a year, brilliantly renovated it as a gallery.
Later, it served as the home of their daughter and after her departure the home was left empty. With the backing of the Council for Regional Industrial Development, in November 2014, the Ogawas opened the lodging facility.
In this inn it is packed with Naoko’s sentimentality. Naoko's father was a home practitioner of Owase city and the desk for medical examinations and medicine cabinet her father used to use, vintage icebox refrigerator were brought to the inn when they tore her old home down. These and other items of sentimental value are placed tastefully about the inn.
They have only began to operate the inn and they would like to live a well- balanced life of taking care of the inn and their own separate life. They said that it was most important to show 100% of their hospitality to their guests. This inn, Uenoya, represents the Ogawa’s outstanding good taste and lifestyle. It has great potential in the future of tourism especially for foreign tourists and adults interested in green tourism.

Taiki-cho town’s nature and the people who support it

Hitoshi acted as a guide to a recommended spot in Taiki-cho. It was about 20 minutes by car on a road in a gorge. Close to the peak was the 40 meter tall Kasagikeikoku waterfall. The surroundings has become a haven where one can enjoy seasonal flowers and plants, a barbeque area, facilities for pottery making workshops and the Momiji Chaya restaurant.
As I was leaving I happened to meet Hiroshi Okukawa, chairman of Taiiki-cho Commercial and Industrial Association, and Miyuki Yamazoe. Ms. Yamazoe is the graduate of the Organization for Urban-Rural Interchange Revitalization’s Green Tourism instructor school. Working under Mr. Okugawa, Ms. Yamazoe supported the opening of the Uenoya inn and on a daily basis works on other projects to reinvigorate Taiiki-cho. I was happy to know that our school had been the seed to bear fruit.

Momiji Chaya-The restaurant in the park serving light meals
Ouchiyamagawa river can be seen from the inn
Miyuki Yamazoe and Chairman Hiroshi Okukawa