Fukurotei, A Rural Oasis
Although I’ve lived in Chiba prefecture for just a little over 15 years, I have never had an opportunity to visit Sosa city. My recent trip this past month was my first venture out to one of the lesser known parts of Chiba prefecture. Just a short train ride outside of the very lively Chiba city, this particular area in Sosa city felt very remote and disconnected from the crowded trains busy streets of Chiba city and Tokyo. Visiting the area was almost like slipping back into time. Rice fields, forests, small farm houses, one-way train lines, etc.
I had an opportunity to visit the country style guest house, Fukurotei, built in traditional Japanese fashion and complete with immaculate tatami rooms decorated in the finest Japanese minimalist style. The wooden frame, the smell of the tatami mats, and the natural lively sounds of Japanese summer Although the scenery surrounding Fukurotei and the accommodation was breathtaking, the highlight of the visit was definitely the cuisine. Fresh sashimi from the pacific coast of Chiba prefecture, slow cooked Japanese beef, and grilled fish were the main dishes served alongside pickled Japanese vegetables, choice local rice, and fresh local spring water.
You'd be hard pressed to find a more authentic Japanese experience anywhere else. My visit was almost like stepping back into time. Long before trains, planes, and automobiles, travelers on foot and horseback were greeted by lovely guesthouses that were scattered across the landscape of rural Japan. It is also possible to rent and try on a kimono at Fukurotei. Not only can you live traditional, but you can also look traditional while you enjoy your stay.
Not too far from the accommodations at Fukurotei is the grand temple complex at Iidakadanrin. During my visit to Fukurotei, I had an opportunity to stop by and take a walk around the premises. Again, it almost felt like I wasn’t in Japan, given the remoteness of the location and lack of other tourists. The feel was similar to taking an early morning walk around the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat before the bus loads of tourists arrive. Given that we pretty much had the place to ourselves, I was able to take my time, and appreciate the architecture, craftsmanship, history, and religious significance of the complex.
I recommend a stay at Fukurotei. The hospitality is second to none, the accommodation is exceptional, and I don't think that you can find a better spread of Japanese cuisine anywhere else in the country!