Innkeeper Interview: Beniya Mukayu, Japan

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 2015 at Beniya Mukayu


The Host: Nakamichi Sachiko

The Location: Beniya Mukayu, 55-1-3 Yamashiro Onsen, Kaga-city, Ishikawa-Prefecture, 922-0242, Japan

Tell us about your Inn: "This ryokan is 86 years old and is operated by the 3rd generation. Before becoming Beniya Mukayu, this small ryokan was located in the town then move to the present location."

What is your favorite guest room and/or detail?: "The Wakamurasaki Suite is located on the second floor, and is complete with beautiful views of mountain cherry and maple trees, and an open air bath."

What do you enjoy most about your day?: "To see the guests happiness and smile during and after their stay."

Where do you go when you escape?: "When I would like to have a rest or escape from something I will go to the garden because nature is the best medicine."

What details do you look for in a guest room?: "To give significance to the idea that 'empty rooms fill with light', which means that a mind entirely free of everything exists in a place of nothing.

'Mukayu' means 'non-existence' or 'in the natural state', it is a word that is found in the book of Zhuangzi, the Japanese often use the term in the saying 'the countryside of mukayu'.

Consider the time that rests as empty space in a busy schedule book. It is in fact time filled with freedom because it is empty. It is the peace of mind found in the shade of a large tree which had initially appeared useless. Such are the thoughts and feelings that reside in the name of this Inn 'Mukayu'."


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published