For twenty years, we operated as a humble family bed and breakfast, with the goal of sharing nature and providing our Guests with experiences of the Japanese culture. Leading up to March of 2020 we seemed to be at the height of services we could offer including breakfast, dinner, and special events. We had a wait list for every weekend, most of our Guests were repeat Guests, and there was never a need for advertising. In fact, we even discussed deleting this site and becoming a private club per Guest suggestion.
On March 13th, 2020, with a full house and menu purchased, we made the abrupt decision to pause operations. The news of the pandemic was shocking and sudden, and we felt that it was the most responsible decision for us at the time. We thought it would be just a couple weeks, but it stretched into months, and frankly it was heartbreaking. We came up with a plan on how to re-open safely and as always, tried to put ourselves in our Guests’ shoes. As our retreat is all about relaxation, we did not feel that it would benefit our Guests to have people on edge, worrying about Guests that were not in their party. So we decided to offer booking to one group at a time, with the benefit of having the whole house to yourself, in Japanese this is called “kashikiri”. We started this in the fall of 2020, still providing breakfast service with no-contact. Providing food service during corona times proved to be a challenge, and we decided to start 2021 strictly as a rental house. With every group we make adjustments, and due to things like marker on tatami, we decided to not allow youngsters. As we are perfect for family reunions, we are happy to discuss children on a case by case basis.
As with most hobby businesses, we were not prepared for the pandemic of Covid-19, and the long-term effects have made it difficult to try to keep our doors open. In staying positive, there are some gains from this crazy period in our operations. In speaking with our Guests, they are having a great time! Every group has either written or verbalized sentiments of being thankful. We are only now realizing that the retreat is much better suited for groups than to individual couples. As we ironically made commercial upgrades to the kitchen before the pandemic, the kitchen is a Chef’s dream! We see our Guests enjoying the outdoor grill, taking hikes, and playing tennis. Best of all, we hear a lot of laughter walking by. We are here if anything is needed, but we are providing no contact service by respecting privacy and keeping distance. We have several Guests who have told us that they prefer the new way, and now there are many groups who have rebooked with us as a group. As long as our Guests are happy, we are happy!