Newly Renovated Thatched-Roof House in Nagano to Open as Hotel; District Hopes to Attract More Tourists with Ongoing Project

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Satoshi Takei, right, a director at Awai Co., stands inside Kayabuki Cottage in the Togakushi district of Nagano City on March 25.

NAGANO – An old house with a thatched roof located in the Togakushi district of Nagano City had been vacant for more than 20 years. Recently, however, the building was renovated and is set to open as a hotel on April 20.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Kayabuki Cottage’s newly thatched roof is seen in the Togakushi district of Nagano City.

Kayabuki Cottage was renovated as part of an ongoing project in the district to convert old buildings into accommodations. With its opening, it is expected that the district will continue using the thatched-roof style to help meet tourism demand.

Awai Co., a local company, bought the one-story wooden house, which had fallen into disrepair, and began renovating it six months ago. Jomonyane Co., another local firm, was in charge of fixing the roof and used it as an opportunity to allow those interested in thatched roofs to experience the process of replacing one.

Some of the original pillars were maintained, a hinoki cypress bathtub was put in place and floor heating was installed. Much of the interior is black, including some of the furniture. A kitchenette is also available for mid- to long-term guests.

The new hotel offers magnificent mountain views, as well as views of the farming village.

“I want guests to really take in the warm appearance, earthy aroma and other charms of a thatched-roof house,” said Satoshi Takei, 33, a director at Awai.

Awai is working on a project to develop the entire neighborhood as “decentralized hotels” by utilizing vacant buildings. In April 2023, it renovated a community center and converted it into an accommodation facility with the hope of attracting more tourists.

Kayabuki Cottage, which is 86 square meters, can accommodate up to six people and starts at ¥22,000 per person per night and includes two meals.