The Kura, Togari Onsen

The Kura, Togari Onsen

Following a visit to Togari Onsen in northern Nagano, David Lee discovered the ancient and long empty storehouse that would become The Kura. The property was purchased for Into Japan Specialist Tours and a lengthy but loving restoration project began.

We are thrilled to be able to offer this delightful, chalet style property to our clients. Nestled in the beautiful valley at the foot of the Togari Onsen mountains, The Kura is the perfect way to enjoy the Nagano countryside, whether you are there for the snow or enjoying the breathtaking scenery in the warmer seasons.

A meeting of traditional Japanese design with modern luxury, The Kura retains much of its original structure. The design of such buildings was to provide the best way to safely store valuables or food. We chose to renovate the historic building in such a way that you can still sense its history, but without sacrificing luxury.

The Kura is designed to be a home away from home for a couple or a family with small children. It’s a unique place to stay. As a result, it offers a new approach to accommodation in the Japanese countryside.

The main room is an open plan kitchen/living room. It has large, south facing windows, letting in plenty of natural light. The sleeping areas are on the second floor feature a large, custom made double bed. There is the option of futons on the tatami available for families with children.

For those who enjoy cooking, there is a full modern kitchen installed. Alternatively, dine out at one of the local restaurants.

The bathroom is a Japanese style wet room with a large bath tub, with a separate, high tech Japanese toilet with heated seat and jet wash.

Activities

Alongside developing The Kura itself, we have worked with the local people to set up and curate a range of activities for our clients to enjoy while staying in Togari. Some of these are full, or half days out, such as hiking sections of the stunning Shin-Etsu Trail, visiting the Snow Monkeys in Yudanaka or even hiking with an ascetic Yamabushi monk to his remote shrine in the mountains. Other activities on offer include hand fishing for char in the crystal clear river streams, searching for stag beetles or even helping with the rice planting or harvesting. There’s something going on throughout the year!

If you prefer more active pursuits, in addition to skiing or snowboarding, in winter you can also try fatbiking, which in Japan, currrently is unique to Togari. At other times of the year, rafting, kayaking, holistic outdoor yoga sessions and a host of other options are available.

For anyone interested in the local architecture, we also offer a tour of the local minka . These are traditional, rural Japanese houses, seen in much of Japan. While many of these historic buildings have been left abandoned, some have been carefully restored and found new life as modern homes that retain all their ancient charm.

The Kura Gallery

This is a special opportunity to experience life in a small Japanese village in the heart of the Japanese Alps. You will be looked after by the locals, immersing you in rural life and you can expect to make some very good friends especially if you try some of the fantastic local experiences on offer. I highly recommend joining the tour to see how the huge local farmhouses have been renovated.”

David