- The host of Kunelasob discovered Iya, Tokushima Prefecture after an experience through the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers program.
- He turned the old Japanese house into a guesthouse.
- The meaning of Kunelasob changes every year.
- Moving words from Mr. Nori
Today I’d like to introduce you to a guesthouse that has such a nice name that you wouldn’t forget if you heard it once.
The guesthouse is located in the Oboke/Iya district in Tokushima Prefecture. There are many old Japanese houses that still remain in the steep mountains. This place draws attention from foreign people who want to experience a rural Japanese life style and stay in old Japanese houses. Famous Japanologist, Alex Kerr is tackling the task of revitalizing local communities here.
Old Japanese houses in the mountains of Iya
The Japanese Eco-guesthouse, “Ku-nel-asob” is named after Japanese kanji characters meaning eating, sleeping, and playing. Opened in 2004, It’s one of the first old Japanese style guesthouses of it’s kind.
The exterior of Kunelasob
The host of Kunelasob discovered Iya, Tokushima Prefecture after an experience through the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers program.
While working in Botswana, Mr. Nori had witnessed people who were full of energy and happy with their lifestyle living close to nature. He thought to himself that, he would like to bring this idea to Japan, and it was at about this time when he found Iya, in Tokushima Prefecture.
In Iya district, the roads lie between steep mountains and it feels like the mountains are closing in on you. Mr. Nori intuitively decided to live here when he saw the scenery.
The scenery of Iya
The host, Mr.Nori
He turned the old Japanese house into a guesthouse.
When he bought the house, he was thinking about what he could do to re-vitalize Iya. A friend of his came to stay and suggested that he open a guesthouse. He began studying Ryokan and Hotel Management law, and opened it in 2004. In 2012, he obtained a permit for a restaurant business, which allowed him to also serve food.
He has a party every night with guests.
Sometimes a “Mochi-tsuki” (pounding boiled rice) event is held.
There are cooking classes held for guests.
This is what it looks like.
The meaning of Kunelasob changes every year.
At the very beginning, it meant “Under the sky”(空), listening to the nature’s sound(音), and playing(遊) freely in nature,” but the year after that it meant space(空), the Zen philosophy which refers to nothingness. As to say, “You can forget the hustle and bustle and be free-minded.”
Through the interaction with guests, the meaning of “Kunelasob” changes. This might be a selfish interpretation, but it felt to me that he is just saying, “always be your self.”
Moving words from Mr. Nori
Mr. Nori’s words from this interview stayed in my mind.
He said, “Fortunately, I can find what I want to do and what I should do, and I can actually enjoy it. I think the ultimate way of living life is to always think about what you can do to live happily, and how to do it.”
“I always feel appreciative to live my life thanks to the vastness of nature and the connection between people. For those who live a hectic daily life, I think it’s good to take a rest here in the middle of the Shikoku region.”
I haven’t met Mr. Nori yet, but I can imagine that he is a very relaxed person because of his comment, “I always feel appreciative to live my life thanks to the vast nature and the connection between people.” I feel like I could talk about my personal issues with him. He is writing a blog called “Nori-ron,” so please check it out if you are interested.
【writer Takayuki Minakuchi from COMINCA TIMES】
This article uses an article site [COMINCA TIMES] to introduce initiatives that utilize the old houses of Japan.
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442 Nishi-iya-yama-neoki, Miyoshi city, Tokushima Pref.