Wanoi is an upscale concept “hotel” comprising three perfectly restored old buildings scattered around Kakunodate town. Wanoi - an antiquated term used to refer to the “Japanese way of life” is designed to transport guests to a bygone era through preserving and showcasing the original purposes of the buildings: a fabric shop, a pickle storehouse, and a former samurai residence. The experience offered by each is truly original, intimate and modestly luxurious.
The buildings range from accommodating 4 to 6 guests and include a traditional Japanese bento breakfast. Each is located in the heart of Kakunodate town and within walking distance of the main attractions and dining spots. The options for accommodation at Wanoi include:
Nishinomiyake Bushigura (Former Samurai Residence)
Built in 1919 by a member of the Nishinomiya clan (a renowned local Samurai family), this building carries with it a reference and celebration of the samurai, their way of life and history. Samurai artifacts and tactile tools are displayed throughout the building to give travellers a sense of being part of their era.
Nishinomiyake Gakkogura (Former “Kura” storehouse)
Treasuring the history of this kura storehouse (a building dedicated to storing valuable items), tells its story through decorative items and tools related to gakko (pickles). Pickles were and are very important to this area where residents endured long, isolated winters with heavy snowfall. A major attraction of this building is the bathtub, inspired by a barrel for pickles, from which visitors can enjoy a view of cherry blossoms in the spring
Tanmonogura (former Fabric storehouse)
This kura storehouse is located perfectly, right next to Kakunodate Town’s famous samurai residence street. Guests can enjoy their stay at a uniquely designed space, where fabrics and tools are displayed as interior decoration, based on the villa’s history of originally being a fabric store.
Kakunodate - the new Kyoto?
This is undoubtedly Japan’s best historic samurai town and remains remarkably unchanged since its founding in 1620. To stay in a traditional ryokan and visit this undiscovered small town (well, the Japanese know all about Kakunodate) and walk through its wonderful preserved merchants district is to step back in time. Places like Kakunodate are why people want to visit Japan.
A direct Shinkansen (bullet-train) from Tokyo gets you there in only three-hours. No more, no less. And from here it is possible to delve deeper into the delights of the Tohoku region of Northern Japan.