Meet the Legendary Craftsman

The Craftsman Inheriting 1,200 years of Traditions.

Journey to the center of Crafts and Arts

The Chubu region in Japan, where Zenagi is located, is a center of Japan’s arts and crafts.
Especially for those who love pottery and lacquerware, this is the place to be.

The Kiso Valley is the top producer of lacquerware, whereas the Tono region,
the eastern part of Gifu prefecture, is that of pottery.
Both destinations are located within an hour’s drive from hotel Zenagi.

If you are keen on exploring the essence of Japan’s craftmanship,
there is no other place you would rather visit.

Lacquerware manufacturing invloves two processes; woodturning and lacquer painting.
Here in the Kiso Valley, craftsmanship of those two techniques is uniquely developed.

Kijishi or woodturners are one of a kind craftsmen who have protected a unique woodturning technique invented by the imperial family 1,200 years ago.
(Today, there are only two families who have been inheriting this technique over the centuries.)

Our exclusive tour will make a visit to the studio of the legendary craftsman,
one of a few artists in Japan who deal with both woodturning and lacquer painting,
and appreciate the craftmanship.

In the studio, you wiil get to experience a traditional lacquer decoration technique called Maki-e,
where you draw a picture with lacquer on the surface of lacquerware,
and then apply gold or silver powder on the surface to create a design.

Sample Itinerary

Day 1

3:00 PM Check-in

Spend your relaxing afternoon at a luxury Kominka hotel made from all natural wood with only 3 suite rooms.
Each room has a made-to-order luxurious Hinoki bathtub with different designs. Enjoy forest bathing in the Hinoki bathtub while immersing yourself in the Hinoki aroma for a moment of relaxation.
(Forest bathing originated in the Kiso region).

A private butler is at your service to assist you with anything you need during your stay. All the furniture and furnishings in the hotel are handcrafted by the local craftsmen and artisans.

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6:30 PM Dinner

Fresh mushrooms, mountain vegetables, and wild game meat such as bear, boar, and deer bestowed by the forest of Kiso Valley.
Organic vegetables and fruits produced at a local Satoyama farm.
Fish grown in Ise Bay receiving the rich blessings of the Kiso forest.

Our cuisine incorporates local natural ingredients of Kiso into innovative French dishes (12 to 15 course menu). The portion of each dish is small so that all the guests including small children and the elder can enjoy their meal.

Please kindly contact us in advance if you need special child-friendly menus.

9:00 PM Stargazing

After the meal, lets's get outside to stargaze, lying down on the sofa at the outdoor wooden deck.
Total darkness of the countryside lets you enjoy the beautiful sky full of glittering stars just like a planetarium.
In winter, enjoy a perfect evening with your family and friends, sitting by the fireplace.

11:00 PM Sweet dreams

In the silence of the night all you hear is the sound of the wind and insects. Slip into sweet dreams on the luxury beds.

Day 2

7:00 AM Take a walk

Good quality sleep lets you wak up early in the morning.
Enjoy a morning walk around the hotel in the beautiful landscape. Local area maps are available at front desk.

8:00 AM Breakfast

Have a fresh & healthy breakfast. Enjoy a fancy western breakfast using fresh organic fruits and vegetables from Satoyama.
Taste our specilty egg dishes which are prepared according to your preferences and homemade natural yeast bread.


9:00 AM Encounter with lacquerware artists

Your private guide will take to Kijishi no Sato in the deep mountain, 20 minutes drive from Zenagi. Kiji-shi refers to a woodturner who creates wooden plates and bowls using traditional techniques.
In Nagiso machi, where Zenagi is located, there is a unique village where only Kiji-shi resides. We will make a visit to Kijishi's studio which is not open to the public to interact with the artists and see their artworks.

In the studio, you wiil experience a traditional lacquer decoration tecnique called Maki-e, where you draw a picture with lacquer on the surface of lacquerware, and then apply gold powder on the surface to create a design.
A rough sketch will make it easier for everyone to enjoy the activity. Off course you have a time to enjoy shopping after the experience.


12:00 PM Lunch at Maru Sankaku Shikaku

After the activity, you will enjoy lunch at our dining restaurant with an open terrace located right next to Zenagi. On sunny days, you have a view of a beautiful landscape from the terrace on the wooden deck while enjoying a meal.

*Weekday package with 2 meals doesn't include lunch. Lunch can be arranged at an additional cost of JPY6,050 per person.

2:00 PM Check-out

We hope that you had a memorable and wonderful holiday at Zenagi. We will see you off hoping to see you again in the near future.

The best seasons and fitness level for each activity

Fitness level
Walk the Samurai Trail
Meet the Legendary Craftsman
Have a Green Tea Life
Adventure with Olympians
Explore the Natural Water Sanctuary
Find Peace on Zen Mondo
Pilgrimage to the Sacred Mountain
StrolI in the Air