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Staying in a Kominka, a Traditional Japanese House on Ojika Island

Inside a traditional Japanese kominka

After trekking on abandoned Nozaki Island, we return to Ojika island for a stay in a traditional Japanese house. This island in Nagasaki Prefecture which is 5 hours by boat from Fukuoka has an incredible charm. Special mention to the locals who are very welcoming. We enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of this beautiful island, the main activities of which are fishing and agriculture, but which also preserves a rich and varied local craft industry. An island with a unique character, a relaxed atmosphere and an authenticity that we really appreciate. And you know what? The sun has decided to continue to shine on this adventure with us.   

Among other things, our presence on Ojika is the opportunity to have the extravagant experience of a night in a traditional Japanese house called kominka. Fruit of the project of Alex Kerr, a man concerned with the preservation of traditional Japanese houses, this kominka fully held up its promise of luxury.   

This traditional Japanese house evokes the old and authentic Japan. It is a type of house connected to its natural environment. Designed from wood, clay, and straw, they are an exotic and refined alternative to a traditional ryokan. The typical architecture of kominka is characterized by a large living room with sliding doors traditionally made of paper and bamboo. Open to the outside, this large living room combines practicality and confidentiality in a very special atmosphere.      

However, many kominka were left abandoned when their former owners left the island. This left many homes fallen into states of disrepair and if left for too long, they would become too expensive to repair.

But we can count on the determination of at least one man, the Japanophile Alex Kerr. This American, known as a writer and expert in the Japanese culture, discovered these traditional Japanese houses when he was hosted by locals during a stay on the island of Ojika. Exploring the island he fell in love with, Mr. Kerr identified several abandoned old kominka that still had charm and character. After that, he developed a wonderful project: ​​restoring these traditional houses and sharing them with tourists.

Peace and Luxury: Staying in a Traditional Japanese House 

The Kominka project was born from the common desire of Alex Kerr and the locals of Ojika Island to give a second life to these traditional Japanese houses. Well done! While this historical, artisanal and cultural heritage has threatened to disappear, the Kominka project gives these important relics of Ojika Island a chance to stay alive. Moreover, it’s a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in living like the locals. Try this original experience of staying in a renovated kominka.   

After spending the night in this charming and luxurious kominka on Ojika Island, we can only say “bravo” and thanks for this wonderful Kominka project! We appreciated the night in this cozy and authentic atmosphere with a quiet view of the fishing port. It is an ideal place for those who look for the tranquility of an island and a beautiful landscape surrounded by the sea. Even the facilities like the bathrooms are on the same level of luxury as a four-star hotel.

As you stay in this old-style house, pass your time by strolling around the village and discovering a supermarket here, a gourmet bakery there, a small locally owned handicraft shop a little further on. During your stay, you will really enjoy the sweetness and the quiet of this island’s way of life.

Enjoy the delicious seafood

We are on a Japanese island, so obviously we must try the seafood. We are lucky because on Ojika Island, the fish is exceptionally fresh. After a refreshing night’s stay in a superb traditional Japanese house, I enjoyed an deliciously fresh meal in the Fujimatsu restaurant in Ojika. This restaurant is also a part of the restoration project for kominka traditional folk houses.  

It was just amazing! First, in the ambiance of the old house which has been transformed into a restaurant with all its old character, and second, with the chef’s delightful cuisine which is also distinguished in the famous Michelin red guide. All at very affordable prices.

How to get to Ojika island? 

Reading this, you might think that it’s difficult to get to this abandoned island, but it’s not. From Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya or Hokkaido, reaching the island of Nozaki is actually quite simple. The access to the main island of Ojika is by boat (the crossing, only at night, takes 5 hours, but there are places to sleep on the journey) from the Port of Hakata, easily accessible by bus about twenty minutes from Hakata station in Fukuoka. If you arrive by plane from Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Sapporo in Hokkaido, JR Hakata station is two metro stops from Fukuoka Airport.

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