In A Village Lost In Time

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WELLNESS: In a Village Lost in Time

For a travel experience like no other, Odairajuku, high in the mountains of southern Nagano, offers the chance to stay the night in an abandoned village. Total escape from modern living has become an increasingly rare luxury, and twelve restored houses in this tiny hilltop village promise exactly that. Existing just as it did almost 100 years ago, there are no gas-powered stoves, no hot water and (perhaps most crucially) no internet connection. The nearest signal is an hour’s drive away, as is the nearest shop – Odairajuku promises total back-to-basics isolation, far from the beaten track.

Formerly a pit-stop for weary travellers walking the Nakasendo route between Kyoto and Tokyo, Odairajuku was abandoned after WWII, sitting in ruins until local NPO Odaira set to work reviving the village’s twelve original buildings.

After careful restoration, Odairajuku is once again welcoming travellers passing through the Kiso mountains. Visitors can expect to cook their food over an irori open hearth, sleep on tatami straw mats, heat their bath water using a wood-fire stove and use the cool waters of a nearby stream as a makeshift fridge.

Odairajuku is open from March to November. To book accommodation, contact Odaira NPO to check available dates.

Images: Ben Beech via Japan Times

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