Stay at an Airbnb Gassho Home in the World Heritage Site of Gokayama

Not far from the coastal city of Toyamaas you wind around some beautiful country roads and pass by picturesque rice fields, you will come across one of the most untouched and truly stunning parts of Japan in the very sleepy village of Suganuma which is part of the revered Gokayama area (a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site).

Photo credit: Satoshi Nagare

Two very lucky people (one group of two guests) have the opportunity to stay in Suganuma for free and experience genuine local rural Japanese life for two nights from July 17 to July 19, courtesy of the Nakashima family who have resided in Suganuma for five generations. The project, in partnership with Airbnbs Japan and Nanto city, Toyama Prefecture, is located in the village’s gassho-zukuri style farmhouses, which are particular to the region. The houses are responsive with their thatched roof structures. Creating them requires a great deal of time and effort, with locals working together based on the system of yuithe spirit of mutual support, in which Suganuma and its preservation are rooted.

Airbnb host Shinichi Nakashima commented, “I am delighted to open my family’s home for a unique stay that will enable guests to enjoy the traditional life of our beautiful village of Suganuma. Through our collaboration with Airbnb, my family and I look forward to providing guests with unique experiences that have been part of our village for centuries.”

The lucky pair will be able to enjoy a whole roster of treats during their stay in Suganuma. The priceless activities on offer include a traditional welcome tea and local dishes prepared by Nakashima, such as Gokayama tofu, mountain vegetables and freshly-caught river fish. Learn about local traditions that have been sustained for centuries, such as the creation of washia paper made of local fiber, and the creation of target (a traditional instrument) featured in one of the region’s oldest folk songs. Other once-in-a-lifetime experiences include enjoying a magical evening light show and folk song experience, where locals illuminate their traditional homes and local song and dance are showcased, participating in a hands-on workshop crafting thatched roofs emblematic of local gassho-zukuri building techniques and exploring the village’s lush surroundings with a peaceful guided bike ride.

Photo credit: Satoshi Nagare

In a world where we are often preoccupied with mobile phones, apps and digital experiences, this project, which hopefully will be replicated in the near future in other parts of Japan, is an attempt at fulfilling the organizers’ aim for people to “disconnect to connect.” In order to facilitate disconnecting from technology and reconnecting with nature while on site, guests will receive a “Disconnect to Connect” kit that includes a stationary set made of traditional washi paper, an instant camera and local aromatherapy kit.

So, for a truly unique experience, get yourself online as early as possible and, perhaps, you will end up being the lucky pair who have the opportunity to experience real Japan in all its local glory.

How to Book

Those interested in exploring one of Japan’s hidden gems like a local can request to book this stay beginning Friday, June 30 at 9am JST (Thursday, June 29 at 8pm ET). See the accommodation’s Airbnb listing for more information.

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