Itaibara Village – 板井原集落

Chizu, December – 智頭、12月

From Chizu Town we drove 5 kilometres up to the forestry mountain road to our next destination, the historic Itaibara Shuraku and its charming cafe. Almost all the village’s 23 wooden houses are at least one hundred year old and still in their original form, so it has become a traditional conservation district.


The village is cute, a narrow and clear watered Akaha River flows between the buildings and the road. We had coffee in Sanin Chizu Traditional Cafe, which is inside one of the preserved houses. The cafe location is great; the stream is just outside of its windows.

村は可愛らしくて、細く澄んだ赤波川が建物と道の間を流れていました。私たちは、保存された民家の一角にある古民家カフェ 和佳(のどか)でコーヒーを飲みました。カフェのロケーションは素晴らしく、ちょうど窓の外に小川が見えました。

I was delighted for the opportunity to see the old house from inside as well. The space was charming, we could sit around irori in an old fashioned room, where a large cat took a nap in front of a heater. Upstairs were a ceramic exhibition, where there were beautiful bowls, mugs and Christmas decorations.


The cafe’s entrance
Yoshie and Asako
By the irori
Chocolate and tofu cake

Sanin Chizu Traditional Cafe

1947 Ichinose, Chizu, Yazu District, Tottori 689-1401, Japan


〒689-1401 鳥取県八頭郡智頭町大字市瀬1947


Chizu Town – 智頭町

Tottori, December – 鳥取、12月

Chizu is selected to be one of Japan’s most beautiful villages, and not without a reason; picturesque buildings and farmhouses, narrow lanes, surrounding rice fields and mountains give the place a unique charm. The area is known for its  forests and wood industry; the mountains are covered with massive pines and Japanese cedars. 


Chizu-shuku was one of the biggest post offices in Japan during the Edo Period, and even daimyo had a tea room at Chizu. The town’s streets and houses are one of Japan’s 100 best historic routes; because it’s authentic atmosphere, Chizu is a popular filming environment for historic TV-dramas.


In the front of the houses hang a lot of decorations made from branches; sugitama is a local speciality, and they can be the shape of a cute bird or ball. 


The Ishitani Residence – 石谷家住宅

December, Tottori – 鳥取、12月

 One day Yoshie, Asako and I drove through beautiful countryside scenery to Chizu. The harvest was over, and daikons and kaki fruits dried in the sun in front of the farmhouses. We had a delicious lunch at the Ishitani-ke jutaku’s cafe; while enjoying the food, we could admire the beautiful garden through big windows.


The Ishitani Residence and its 40 rooms are a masterpiece. Denshiro Ishitani, the head of the Ishitani Family, wanted the building to last from generation to generation; it’s made from the best timber by the most skilled craftsmen. The spacious rooms are decorated with detailed wood carvings and fresh flowers. The spectacular garden surrounds the rooms, and we could step to a narrow veranda to the inner yard.


The Ishitani Residence’s garden is registered as Place of Scenic Beauty; it’s full of fantastic eye-catchers with its carefully trimmed trees, carp pond and waterfall. The autumn foliage was already gone, so there were not so many visitors.


Beautiful details
The Ishitani House’s complicated roof

Ishitani Residence

396 Chizu, Yazu District, Tottori 689-1402, Japan


〒689-1402 鳥取県八頭郡智頭町大字智頭396