Things to Do | Visit Chiba | Latest update:2021/03/05
Rice fields, hills, forests, small farm houses, one-way train lines, old temples and shrines. This is the beauty of the Japanese countryside. It was there that I had an opportunity to visit the country-style guest house, Fukurou tei. Built in the traditional Japanese fashion, Fukurou tei is complete with immaculate tatami rooms decorated with the finest Japanese minimalist touch.
Although the scenery surrounding Fukurou tei was breathtaking, the highlight of the visit was 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, local rice, and fresh, local spring water. Fukurou tei is located in Sosa City, approximately one hour away from the Pacific port of Choshi. On the very day that I had an opportunity to visit Fukurou tei they’d just received a fresh batch of fish from the coast that morning. They serve only the season’s best selection of fresh sashimi.
Almost everything served there is sourced locally including the particular grain of rice called “Takomai.” Takomai is not widely consumed and only accounts for about 2% of the total production of rice in Chiba Prefecture, making it a sought-after rarity. The water is also sourced as locally―and I mean local in the strongest sense―as there is a freshwater well located on the premises. When making reservations, the staff at Fukurou tei will ask guests about meals, specific preferences, and can even prepare individual vegetarian courses.
Fukurou tei is a family-owned-and-operated country guest house. The new facilities were designed and built by one of the owners who was a carpenter by trade, and the personal touch applied to the architecture of the house adds even more warmth to your stay. The area surrounding the house is also carefully arranged and constructed. The neatly kept rice fields, hills, and fresh water streams are straight out of a movie set. The owner also mentioned that it is possible to see fireflies congregating near the property. The presence of fireflies is a testament to the freshness of the water source, being that fireflies are known to be very particular about their water sources.
Not only are the facilities and food first class, the service is second to none. From the moment you arrive on the property, you are made to feel at home. Guests are welcomed daily with warm greetings and advice on how to navigate the beautiful surrounding area. Another thing that makes Fukurou tei unique is that the one half of the husband-and-wife ownership team is originally from Russia. If you make arrangements in advance, she is also able to prepare homemade Russian dishes that are sure to delight.
Not too far from the accommodations at Fukurou tei is the grand temple complex at Iidakadanrin. During my visit to Fukurou tei, I stopped by and took a walk around the premises. It didn’t feel at all like any experience I’ve had in Japan, given the remoteness of the location and lack of other tourists. Since I pretty much had the place to myself, I was able to take my time, and appreciate the architecture, craftsmanship, history, and religious significance of the complex.
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. Fukurou tei is a throwback to those older times. The owners make sure that the experience also has a down home feel, almost as if you’re visiting relatives. My visit left a lasting impression that I am sure that I will never forget. When traveling to Japan please take advantage of any opportunity to visit Fukurou tei in beautiful Sosa City located on the Pacific coast of Chiba Prefecture.
336-2 Iitaka, Sosa City
(15 minutes by car from JR Yokaichiba Station.)