Our train hurries away from the murky concrete sprawl of the world’s largest metropolis. It now hangs slow and tight along a winding ridge. A bright green bamboo forest brushes by. It suddenly gives way to an expanse of fields and mountains that take some seconds to comprehend. In the distance, pinks, reds and whites juxtapose dark greens. The colors flow down into valleys to cast their hues over freshly plowed rice paddies. Life is slowly returning to the land. The Cherry Blossoms usher springtime to Japan.
Having been to Japan a few times in the spring, I knew it would be beautiful. But I just didn’t know how beautiful until I came to Takezawa Town (Bamboo River Town), in Saitama Prefecture.
Why did I come here?
I found a very intriguing & well priced Airbnb located in a private bamboo forest.
This Runaway Hideout is Eco Life Loghouse in Saitama Prefecture, Japan.
The Eco Life Loghouse is a 2 floor cabin nestled in a giant bamboo forest. The first floor has a massive living room, a furnished kitchen, shower, and indoor outhouse style toilet. The second floor consists of 2 rooms where 2 to 4 futons can be laid down in each. Although we were only two people, it has enough space to fit up to 4, or even 6 fairly comfortably.
Naoko-san is the owner of this cabin. She’s one of the coolest and funniest earth loving older ladies you’ll probably ever have the pleasure of meeting in Japan. Not only that but she speaks nearly perfect English.
She’ll probably meet you upon arrival like she did with us, take you to the Soba Noodle restaurant, and show you how to get back to the cabin via the bamboo forest paths, which are peppered with Shinto shrines & Buddhist gravestones.
The other locals are mostly older people who are as kind, polite & helpful as most everyone in Japan.
Things To Do
It’s all about the Bamboo! The first morning I found myself running off the path through an endless forest of Bamboo, meditating under it’s rustling leaves, and paying respects to the various Shinto Shrines I came across.
The second morning I found the workshop under the guest house, complete with vices, boring tools, saws and scythes. And the third morning I decided I needed to take advantage of the two and create something cool.
By the time I left, I developed something for all those with a deep passion for sitting; The folding Bamboo Backpack Chair. Check it out below!
Where To Eat
Although dining options are pretty limited in Takezawa, the few that do exist are gems. From Wed – Sun, 9-2pm, there’s an awesome Mom and Pop cold Soba noodle joint. Needless to say, amazing noodles.
Then there’s this other restaurant located in a traditional house from the 17th century called the Yoshida house. Here you can eat Udon, Tempura, & Bamboo shoots while drinking sake out of fire warmed Bamboo. Definitely a must. This place is only open on weekends.
Although there aren’t many English speakers, as long as you smile and bow a bunch, you’ll end up having an incredible experience unique to the Japanese countryside.
If you’re looking to cook at home, there are just two small convenience store sized super markets in town. If you’re in need of a wider selection, you have to take the train about 10 minutes to Ogawamachi.
Pick up a bottle of Sake and some pre marinated meat, and you’ll be ready for the most magical fire pit bbq of your life.
The main drawback of this house is definitely the pooper. While it looks like some International Space Station poo sucking contraption, it’s actually just a massive plastic septic tank with a poop shoot too small to accommodate any male. The result is an interesting butt cheek balancing act invoking new sensations, self asphyxiation, and a violent urge to shower immediately thereafter. Other than that, the set up is pretty darn swell.
Whether you’re looking to escape Tokyo for a few days or looking to experience the traditional way of life in Japan, this is the spot. I’ll definitely be staying here again next year.
If you’ve never used Airbnb before, sign up through my link below for 40$ off your next stay anywhere in the world. www.airbnb.com/c/lharum