Miyagi Minshuku

Miyagi Minshuku rainy day dining room, originally uploaded by okinawa hai.

CONTRIBUTED BY ICHIYO IWATA

If you are up for an adventure, I highly recommend THIS Minshuku. A Minshuku is a Japanese Bed & Breakfast. It is located in Kunigami Village in the northern tip of Okinawa island, about 65 km from the Kyoda highway exit. The name of this Minshuku is MI YA GI- it uses the Chinese characters for Ocean, Mountain and Tree. They have been in business for about 15 years. One of the buildings has a thatched roof, which was used in traditional Okinawan houses. Nowadays you see these roofs  only at special theme parks such as Okinawa Worldand Okinawa Kyoudo Village at the Ocean Expo park. The B&B owner told me that the roof was built by old men in the village as they were the only ones who knew how to make this type of roof. Miyagi only has 4 or 5 guest rooms. Although I saw one room with beds, most rooms are tatami mats and you will sleep on futon.

The cost of this Minshuku (5,000 yen/person) includes dinner and breakfast. What we enjoyed most was the dinner that we had together with all the guests and the  conversation at the dinner table. It was such a warm environment which made it easy for strangers to get to know each other over a meal. It was interesting to find out people come from all over Japan . Even without much Japanese, my mother-in-law from Minnesota had a great time at dinner. The dinner served had many natural ingredients including some organic vegetables the owners grew in their GARDENS and seafood caught from the nearby ocean.

Another nice feature of this B&B was the bath. The TUB is made with rocks and they boil the bath water with firewood. Being one of the most  technologically advanced nations, you will never see this type of bath in Japanese houses today. Not too long ago, this was the way people used to warm up bath water in Japan . This brought back the memories of stories I heard from my grandparents when they were young. Because they use firewood to warm up the bath water at night, the water will not be hot in the morning. I highly suggest taking a bath at night (Japanese way) rather than in the morning. There is a shower as well, which you use to clean yourself before entering the bath. Remember to bring your own towel as they do not have one.  They have soap and shampoo.

The easiest direction to this Minshuku Miyagi is to drive Rt 58 all the way up to its origin. There’s a monument of the Rt. 58 Origin. From this monument, you can see the thatch roof on your left. There is a sign written in Japanese (Chinese characters)  海山木where you should turn to get to the Minshuku.

Since they have limited rooms, I suggest you make reservations. Their number is 0980-41-8383. Check in is 4:00 p.m. and check out is 10:00 a.m.  They do not take credit cards.

Enjoy experiencing Okinawa !

4 COMMENTS

  1. I have stayed here with my husband in 2012. It is pretty magical. Very peaceful. I recommend it for the experience. They cook dinner and breakfest, all Okinawan food. Masa and Naomi Miyagi are awesome! Really nice people, and they make the experience comfortable.

  2. I visit Okinawa every single day via okinawahai and I was so excited to see this post on Miyagi Minshuku had been re-posted! It was this original post that inspired me to stay at this minshuku a year and a half ago when I journeyed back to Okinawa after having been away for 30 years. I had a Japanese friend call the number from my home in Atlanta and speak to the proprietor to arrange a five night stay at Miyagi Minshuku for me. During my 3 weeks on Okinawa in July ’08, I stayed at 3 different kinds of places: a business man’s hotel in Naha – the Super Hotel, a seaside ryokan – Yamauchi Inn in Nakadomari, and Miyagi Minshuku. I was charmed by each one of the places I stayed.

    While I reread the Miyagi Minshuku post, what comes to mind with crystal clarity is one thing – no matter the how lovely the photographs and no matter how eloquent the speaker or how vivid the description, there is one thing that cannot be adequately described and that is this, magic.

    I have said before that I tripped over magic every time I turned in Okinawa and my time there will stay with me for the rest of my life, no matter how long I live. I can say to be prepared for magic at Miyagi, but you can’t be prepared. It will still surprise you.

    What came to mind on the first day at Miyagi was that this place is a sort of Swiss Family Robinson place, but set on the island of Okinawa. There is nothing contrived about Miyagi. It has the feel of a place that has been cobbled onto over time by an extraordinarily gifted and imaginative artist. This place is whimsical and you cannot help but fall under the spell of it. You will be relaxed in an easy way. Don’t fight it.

    Masa and Naomi Miyagi are Okinawan in every sense of the word – they make hospitality into a seemingly effortless art form. You will feel utterly at ease and at home.

    I am smiling right now, just thinking about my time at Miyagi Minsuku and the people I crossed paths with and the way the frogs sang at night and the cicadas woke me up in the morning and the walks around the property with my host, herbs and plants plucked as we walked for me to taste on the spot.

    Amazingly, my phone did not work at Miyagi, but I somehow had wireless internet!! When you see the village next to Miyagi, you may wonder, too, where this might have come from. I had to go back to Hedo Point to use my phone, but I was able to post to my blog right there in my little room! For anyone interested, here is the link for the first of many posts about Miyagi:

    http://robing.vox.com/library/post/71208-nakijin-castle-and-miyagi-at-last.html

    The photos are wonderful, but they do not do the place justice. They cannot. Take a little time to visit. Enjoy for yourself the magic that comes with a little leisure and an open heart.

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