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In the heart of the Japanese countryside in Ehime Prefecture on Shikoku Island, we stayed in a minshuku, the Japanese bed and breakfast. This type of accommodation is an ideal way to discover authentic Japanese culture and meet the locals. Here is our favorite: minshuku Omeguri-an in Seiyo City.
An Authentic Minshuku
After visiting the historic district of Unomachi and its surroundings, we arrived at the minshuku Omeguri-an in the afternoon. We were warmly welcomed by the owners, Ben and Masami, who speak English (Ben from America). The couple has completely renovated this old Japanese house with the help of local artisans. There are two houses including a guest house with two guest rooms, a dining room and a shared bathroom. On Mondays and Sundays, the minshuku turns into a café.
A Spacious Room with a Garden View
Our room was spacious and opened onto a large veranda overlooking the garden. The decoration was in typical Japanese style: tatami flooring, sliding doors (shôji) and a tokonoma decorative alcove, where you can find exposed calligraphy and ceramics. Discovering the veranda, we are delighted to find the heated Japanese coffee table: the kotatsu. We slipped under the kotatsu blanket to enjoy tea and mikans (Japanese tangerines) offered by our hosts.
In addition to accommodation, they offer dinner and breakfast. We recommend you take the opportunity to taste the flavors of traditional Japanese cuisine. Do not be surprised, we dine early in Japan, between 18:00 and 19:00. At Omeguri-an, dinner can be served in the dining room or in your own room. We opted for room service so we could eat under our heated kotatsu!
We had the chance to enjoy a traditional Japanese dinner, the kaiseki, which consisted of several small dishes served on a large platter. The menu varies each day because the dishes are cooked according to the arrival of the seasonal products cultivated in their vegetable garden or provided by the neighbors. Each small dish is very refined. On the evening menu was miso soup, a bowl of rice, sashimi (raw, fresh fish), fried tofu, an assortment of seasonal vegetables and vegetable tempura.
At the end of the dinner, our attentive hosts set up our futons for the night and prepared us a hot bath (o-furo) for an appreciated moment of relaxation before sleeping!
A Traditional Breakfast
At 9:00, Ben and Masami served us a delicious traditional breakfast in our room. Although we do not often have a big appetite when we wake up, we managed to finish all the dishes including a bowl of rice, grilled fish, miso soup, scrambled eggs with seasonal vegetables, and pickles. As an accompaniment, we had the choice either tea or coffee.
At 10:00, we had to leave this haven of peace in the heart of the Japanese countryside. We would have liked to extend our stay by a few days …
The Omeguri-an minshuku is located south of Unomachi in the city of Seiyo. The nearest station is Shimo-Uwa served by the JR Yosan Line. From the station, it takes 15 minutes to walk.
In order to explore the Seiyo countryside, it is recommended to rent a car. Allow about 8 minutes drive from Unomachi and 75 minutes from Matsuyama.
You can book a room at the Guesthouse Omeguri-an directly on their website (only in Japanese), on Booking.com or on Airbnb.[cft format=0]