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Why Not Discover the Art of Functionality at Kurashiki’s New Temari Inn?

2018.08.03

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Located in Okayama Prefecture, Kurashiki flourished as a personal domain of the shogun during the Edo Period (1603–1868). Its connections to the Mingei (Folk Art) movement are also deep, and even today “Kurashiki denim,” “Kurashiki canvas,” and many other handicraft brands based on local techniques and designs are known nationwide. Now, in the Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter where traditional white-walled storehouses and wooden townhouses line the streets, a small inn has opened where visitors can actually experience using a range of goods representing Kurashiki’s monozukuri tradition.

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Selected craftworks on display in the wooden-floored room on the right. On the left, the main room, with tatami mats and a low chabudai table

The Temari Inn opened in June this year, on a corner in Honcho—an area notable even within the Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter for the number of townhouses surviving from the Edo period there. The theme of the Temari Inn is “things”—specifically, utensils and craftworks made using traditional techniques passed down in nearby regions or with materials available only locally.

For example, the tea and coffee cups, flower vases, and lampshades are all made by Sogo Takashi, a potter whose workshop is in nearby Tamano. The designs are modern, but a sense of simple kindness comes through the test of materials. The low chabudai table is from the Yobi carpentry studio in Nishiawakura, north Okayama. The unpainted hinoki cypress timber is assembled using traditional techniques that do not involve a single nail.

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Guests are free to use items made locally in Okayama

The building itself is a renovated traditional house with a long history. The ground floor is a boutique shop specializing in handcrafts and other Okayama specialties, and the second floor holds the accommodation—one group per day, no included meals.

Also on the ground floor is a so-called “Goemon Bath,” a rare sight these days. Water in the cast iron tub is reportedly heated by far infrared effects, so that it warms bathers right to the core. The guest accommodation and bath were both designed by Toru Naramura Architects, a Kurashiki firm that has successfully restored many old buildings.

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An old-fashioned Goemon Bath in a modern bathroom

In Kurashiki’s Bikan Historical Quarter, there are many modern cafes and shops located inside renovated Edo-period buildings. Shops selling handicrafts not found outside Kurashiki are also abundant, making it a popular spot for those interested in Japan’s monozukuri traditions. In a way, the Temari Inn, which invites guests to experience the art of functionality for themselves, could be the next logical step for the town of Kurashiki.

 

 

Temari Inn

Address: Bikando 2F, 2-15 Honcho, Kurashiki, Okayama
Rates: Weekday (adult): 10,000 JPY. Weekend/before public holiday: 12,000
   Weekday (child): 5,000 JPY. Weekend/before public holiday: 6,000 JPY
* The above rates are per person per night and exclude consumption tax
* Up to 4 people can stay at once
* Child rates available for elementary school-aged children and younger. Children three and younger stay free
* Coffee, tea, and snacks available
* No dinner or breakfast provided

Inquiries: +81 (0)86-486-2225
https://temari-inn.jp/