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NIPPONIA Tamba-Sasayama: Stay in a Renovated Folkhome – Where the Entire Castle Town Is a Hotel

Tamba-Sasayama is a city in Hyogo Prefecture, just an hour away by train or car from Osaka and Kobe. It is a charming castle town with Edo Period vibes centered around Sasayama Castle, and dotted by chic restaurants and shops renovated from 100-year-old merchant houses.

Another big part of Tamba-Sasayama is Sasayama Castle Town Hotel NIPPONIA, who have transformed much of the town into accommodation by tactfully renovating old folkhomes into hotels. While preserving the original look from the Edo to early Showa periods, they have crafted comfortable, stylish spaces attracting adventurous travelers from across the globe. The ONAE building, which serves as reception, also has a French restaurant boasting dishes of local Tamba ingredients like black soybeans and chestnuts.

In this article, we’ll show you how to spend a night in the elegant castle town of Tamba-Sasayama, so that you can fully enjoy the historical landscape while tucking into delicious regional delicacies!

Tamba-Sasayama: A City Inspired by Kyoto

Tamba-Sasayama is located in central-eastern Hyogo Prefecture, right next to Kyoto Prefecture. Because of this, it flourished long ago as an important waypoint leading to Kyoto, and received strong cultural and architectural influence from the ancient capital. The ruins of Sasayama Castle, built by order of Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1609, alongside part of the surrounding castle town, still retain their original Edo Period appearance. Many of the buildings and sights across the area are protected as part of Preservation Districts for Groups of Traditional Buildings and Tangible Cultural Properties of Japan, and the city is also included in the list of 100 Beautiful Historical Landscapes of Japan and Japan Heritages.

(Image: PIXTA)

Tamba-Sasayama is also famous for its black soybeans, chestnuts, and “botan nabe” boar meat hotpot. Exquisite, high-quality traditional Japanese confections are also made in the area, owing to the influence of Kyoto and the development of the tea ceremony, which was popular with samurai. The local porcelain, called Ojiyama-yaki, has also been gaining attention in recent years. It was originally only produced for around 50 years between the Edo and Meiji periods, but has enjoyed a resurgence 100 years later, adored for its distinctive greenish hue and ridged patterns. Around a 30-minute drive from the castle town is a pottery village that produces Tamba ware, recognized as one of Japan’s Six Ancient Kilns, which is also a must-visit.

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