When I chose accommodations for staying, my checklist would include Nature, Local Foods and Communication.

  1. Natural surroundings was the most important, as we can sleep with open windows to listen to outside sounds.
  2. Local foods prepared at the hotel’s kichen
  3. Communicate with hotel’s owner and other guests

Shoushichi met all of my check list and staying overnight at Gassho-style house inn was the best way to experience Japanese culture.

200 year old Gassho-zukuri house, Shoushichi

200 year old Gassho-zukuri house, Shoushichi

The best part of Shoushichi was Okami, a landlady. She was an excellent communicator and a real story teller. She could have a conversation with people of every generation and different background. She energetically told her own story and answered various questions.

While enjoying its traditional cuisine of flavorful mountain vegetables, iwana fish, char/trout, and carp, we could chat with her.


Dinner at a dining room with a hearth



Gassho-zukuri is a very functional and rational place to live and produce commodities. The production space and living space for the family are formulated very well.

Dining room

Dining room

Gokayama Tunnel was constructed in 1984 to connect the Gokayama region and Johana town, the nearest town to the AInokura area. Before that, people had to go through a steep-walled valley and mountains while  carrying heavy loads.

The Ainokura area is isolated geographically and it has heavy snow in winter. The mountain village remained closed off to the world for a long time and this led to the establishment of a unique lifestyle. The village principle was self-sufficiency.

The landlady told us she went to Johana town with her dad for the first time when she was 10-years-old.

There are about 6 inns in the Ainokura area. The capacity is limited, so reservation is needed.