Blossoming cherry trees line the entrance, regal escorts hinting at what awaits.
There was a time in your life when you believed the “red carpet” was the grandest of greetings, the notion seems a bit conventional now. Funny. You barely notice the raindrops beginning to bead off your luggage; the warm Spring air.
The whispering scent of vetiver and cedar provide stark contrast to the stale airport musk still clinging to your blouse. Incense? You think to yourself, “this is not the incense I remember from high school”. No, your hosts are not covering stench with scent, they are curating your sensory experience and this is just the beginning.
You are relieved of your bags and escorted to the library. Someone has obviously put in time deciding what type of art will adorn the study walls. It is spartan but passionate, modern and timeless, stark while explicitly embellished. So comforting.
A vetiver wisp. The blossoms fall like rain drops. Petals lead the way.
You are offered a warm towel that smells like chamomile. The towel is refreshing, but the glass of fresh pressed pear juice was ethereal. Having been pressed only moments earlier, the pear solids are suspended in the sweet froth that floats on top of the juice. Your first bite, a drink of pear.
The environment is emptiness in its most perfect form. The lack of embellishment emphasizes the definitiveness of the details. Nothing exists without purpose on this property. Every empty space is a space to fill with freedom and light.
The airport is a distant memory. It does not exist simultaneously with this space. You realize that you may have absolutely no context for the journey you are about to embark on. This environment evokes the deepest sense of calm. For the first time, you realize it is being coaxed from within you. Your hosts are introducing you to their meditation. The discovery of each detail allows you to slip further into your sacred space.
This is only the greeting, the first ten minutes.
This is Spring at Beniya Mukayu, one of the great small Inns of the world, in Yamashiro Onsen, Kaga, Ishikawa, Japan.
This is the Modern Innkeeper.