naoshima


【 CONTENTS 】

Hello everyone.

At last, spring has come for 2015. How are you doing today?

I am personally blessed with meeting so many good people and last year I felt something big will happen this year! The owner of the guest house I’m going introduce today is also one of the people I met at our COMINCA evening event held on December 18th last year.

Japanese old house x tents! What a combination!
Japanese old house x tents! What a combination!

Today I’d like to introduce the guesthouse “Shimacoya” in Naoshima, Kagawa Prefecture. It’s already up and running and the owner Mr. Yamagishi, quit his job in 2014 to dedicate himself to running it this year.

You’ll stay in tents at the guesthouse!

Shimacoya is a little bit different from other guesthouses. Inside the 120-year-old guesthouse there are many tents setup for guests to stay in. The contrast of the quaintness and and colorful tents is so adorable that it shows a new way of staying at an old Japanese guesthouse. Sitting in the tent, you can tell what’s going on outside the tent and still can keep your privacy. It does look unconventional and I was really surprised to find out that Japanese fusuma (papered sliding doors) used to function much like the tents.

Since there is no walls, travelers can feel the nature and enjoy conversation each other.
Since there is no walls, travelers can feel the nature and enjoy conversation each other.

Staying at Shimacoya will put a spell on you.

The only way you can visit Naoshima is by ship and Mr. Yamagishi says it’s a necessary part of the experience in Naoshima. “When coming here, people have to use a ship. Boarding a ship while viewing the beautiful island of Seto and the scattered, small islands in its sea area is an extraordinary experience. This is the first of the magic to enchant you. As soon as you arrive, traditional houses, contemporary art, and the honest islanders will enchant you. You will really like Naoshima. Finally, the unusual experience at Shimacoya will enchant you all the more and you’ll never forget the days you spent here.”

The scenery of Seto Island sea from Naoshima.
The scenery of Seto Island sea from Naoshima.

How Naoshima got its name

Naoshima used to be called Mashima. The Emperor Sukoku was exiled to Mashima and was moved by the people’s honesty and their care for him, so he changed its name to “Naoshima” (literally, Honest Island). The reason why Mr. Yamagishi decided to move in here is also because he was moved by the people’s honesty in Naoshima. When he first visited, there were no shops open because it was New Years Eve. A girl who was a complete stranger approached him and offered him a bowl of sushi!

Mr.Yamagishi on the left, staff, a painter, and people in Naoshima.
Mr.Yamagishi on the left, staff, a painter, and people in Naoshima.
A grandma who always watch over “Shimacoya”.
A grandma who always watch over “Shimacoya”.

Mr.Yamagishi used to work in Tokyo renovating houses, but he decided to move somewhere the day after his child was born. He was looking for somewhere in Japan to move and suddenly remembered his amazing experience in Naoshima, and decided to go back the week after.

A Traveler and local people in Naoshima having a chat.
A Traveler and local people in Naoshima having a chat.

He decided to buy the old house without any hesitation.

After deciding to move to Naoshima, he was looking for a house to live in and through a local network, he found the old house, later becoming Shimacoya.
The house was about to be demolished and at that moment he thought to himself, “I must save this house. I should do something!”

“Shimacoya” was renovated by the volunteers.
“Shimacoya” was renovated by the volunteers.

You might be surprised how he could decide so easily without even asking about the price, but as far as I know people who utilize old houses are often like that. They always have fateful encounters, and decide things intuitively. This is the historical attraction that old buildings have, something hard to describe with language.

Shimacoya, it connects people.

Mr. Yamagishi says that he wants to make it a convenient meeting locale on the Island. It’s not just a hub for travelers and people to move to, but also for local people, where they can feel free to gather and exchange ideas. He always talks to local people about it.

“Shimacoya”’s façade is wall-free!
“Shimacoya”’s façade is wall-free!

Naoshima is famous for being a land of art, but it also has problems with its aging and decreasing population and job opportunities. Moving here is difficult because finding a place to live and making a living can be difficult. He is trying to support people who want to move here, because he was also in the same situation himself.

“Shimacoya Pradise,” held every year during *Golden Week in Japan.Part.1
“Shimacoya Pradise,” held every year during *Golden Week in Japan.Part.1
“Shimacoya Pradise,” held every year during *Golden Week in Japan.Part .2
“Shimacoya Pradise,” held every year during *Golden Week in Japan.Part .2

Naoshima is the land for honest people.
Like Emperor Sukoku changed its name to reflect the people’s honesty, Mr. Yamagishi will make a new change to this land in 2015, just as Emperor Sukoku did 900 years ago.

■Shimacoya
〒761-3110
882-1 Naoshima, Kagawa-gun, Kagawa Prefecture
090-9808-9244
http://shimacoya.com/
https://www.facebook.com/shimacoya

*Golden Week is a Japanese holiday that starts around the end of April to the first week of May.

【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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Map

882-1 Naoshima, Kagawa-gun, Kagawa Prefecture

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comincatimes

comincatimes

This article uses an article site [COMINCA TIMES] to introduce initiatives that utilize the old houses of Japan.

Information

Address 882-1 Naoshima, Kagawa-gun, Kagawa Prefecture
Access 2 min walk from Choei bus stops, “Nokyo-mae” or “Yakuba-mae”
Phone 090-9808-9244
Website http://shimacoya.com/