1209-6 Ōsawa, Minami-uonuma-shi, Niigata
Syoubun is a newly renovated accommodation close to the river in Minakami that has grown from relatively modest roots to become a stylish ryokan. It has a sense of seclusion even though it is very easy to access.
A Succession Success Story
The young owner of Syoubun took over the family ski lodge unexpectedly at the age of twenty two without any knowledge of what he was doing. Today it is a charming, modern style ryokan with a wonderfully secluded feel. The turning point came when an underutilized large room was reformed into a much nicer offering and became successful. From that time onwards a steady stream of improvements and upgrades have continued to bring Syoubun to its current state. The appearance may have changed but it is true to its roots in its warm hospitality and high quality of ingredients.
Classic Countryside Cuisine
The food at Syoubun has always been a source of pride. It had to be good in the early days as there was no onsen there. Food was traditional mountain fare, often homegrown, healthy, and rich in vegetables. It still retains the good home-cooked feeling and the same idea of letting the ingredients themselves shine. The dressings, miso, and condiments are made in-house. Syoubun is closes on certain days of the year for the staff to go out to pick seasonal mountain plants, then wash and prepare them together for the coming year.
Explore the life and culture of Yukiguni through one of the unique local experiences available.
Seasonal Hotpots and Stews that Highlight the Local Ingredients
The hotpots highlight the best ingredients of the season. The fall version is packed full of different kinds of mushrooms, winter uses root vegetables that were picked earlier in the year and cold stored, spring takes advantage of the abundant mountain plants, and summer is river fish and local vegetables. The chef has good relationships with the local suppliers so can go into the fields and pick his choice of the crop. The rice is a key ingredient of the meals and a photo of the producer is on the wall in the private dining rooms.
Syoubun has come a long way since the days of being a ski lodge by the side of the road. The continual upgrades have improved all the rooms and the public spaces, as well as stretching out the area of the lodge and turning the garden into a delighful showcase for the seasons.
An Oasis of Seclusion
The car park for Syoubun is right by the road but once you enter the impressive entrance gate to the property, all thoughts of the outside stop. It is like stepping into a secret garden with bamboo, maples and ponds with high fences to keep the modern world out. Once inside the ryokan there are plenty of places to sit and admire the garden which has been carefully designed to reflect the seasons.
Home Away from Home
Syoubun is popular with people coming away to find peace and relaxation for a while. The rooms are well appointed and once you have checked-in, the room is your own until you leave. No staff will enter so it is like having your own private room at home.
Old Meets New
As Syoubun has grown and renovated it has updated its style, but there are still some nice old touches from the original building around. The modern styling of the rooms combines well with some of the best aspects of traditional accommodation and it is easy to see how people come here just to relax in the rooms. The tiny room that used to house the bus drivers on group tours is now a luxurius en-suite hot spring bath and relaxation room.
In its previous incarnation Syoubun was a place to stay for skiers in winter or those coming for rafting or river activities in summer. The high level accommodation is the main draw now but these activities are still to be found close by. Also in winter many people come here just to be close to the winter scenery and see the snow.
Some of the ponds in the garden were originally put in by the owner’s grandfather in order to raise fish for the customers and then grill them coated in salt over the open hearth.
Change out of your everyday clothes and relax in the traditional ryokan yukata available to all house guests.