At Minshuku Susoke Guest House you’ll receive a warm welcome from the friendly owners. A Minshuku is a traditional Japanese inn – a bit down from a Ryokan – where guest accommodation is both living and bed room. This one is 170 years old (but it has been renovated since!). It’s “shoes off” in these inns and they are exchanged for slippers that steadfastly refused to stay on. The floor of our room was covered with tatami mats so no footwear, even slippers, is allowed on them. One wall of the room has 2 large cupboards containing robes, topcoats, belts and bedding. Futons of sheeted mattress and eider down are brought out by the guest at sleep time and put away in the morning. A third cupboard has minimal hanging space while below it, at floor level, was an incongruous TV set! The only furniture in the room was a low table and floor cushions to sit round it. En suite doesn’t apply here. There are 2 bathrooms (separately communal for men and women) where you can shower and soak in warm water, separate toilets, wash basin areas and 2 showers. Here I record that there are no hooks or hangers in the toilets, bathrooms or showers. You realise how useful these objects are when you can't put things anywhere other than on the floor. If you can cope with sleeping on the floor then it’s comfortable enough - but it was warm under the eiderdown and I was fairly stiff in the morning (I’ll put it down to my age!!).
The food was very good indeed. No choice Dinner is served to all residents at a set time of 6.30 prompt! Ours consisted of cold dishes like sashimi and various pickles and sauces. With them came the hot items - Miso soup, foil wrapped parcels of hot salmon and chicken cooked in their juices, soba noodles, rice, fried tofu and a covered dish on a burner cooking Hida beef and mushrooms. The quality was excellent but the meals have to be consumed fairly quickly because it all comes to the table together and a degree of speed eating is required to get through the hot dishes before they cool. Breakfast can be Western or Japanese and we chose the former - thick toast with butter, jam, tea and coffee. A boiled egg on the first morning was easy but next day we moved up a notch - try eating a fried egg with a butter knife and a teaspoon! You sit almost at ground level, at a low table with a foot-well under it. The logistics of getting in and out are interesting!
Despite wondering whether my back would stand up to a life crawling about the floor, I wouldn’t have missed the Minshuku experience for the world and recommend that you try it.
- Also Known As:
- Sosuke Hotel
- Sosuke Hotel Takayama
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