Zenagi Hotel @ Nagiso, Nagano

As we get older, our travel preferences have changed.

Highly recommend Zenagi Hotel if you want to experience nature, food and culture.

My husband found this place and decided to visit. It was worth it as it was really one of a kind.

We were there for 4 days 3 nights. It was a unique experience. We got to experience the nature and had amazing food.

Firstly, the accommodation is a historical building itself.

It is private villa resort, available exclusively to one group per day only with spacious living space, 3 private bed rooms, and dining area, so that all the guests can feel fully relaxed.

Staying in History Museum

A traditional Japanese Kominka house, built over 300 years ago in Edo period, was beautifully renovated into a modern accommodation where a collection of fine arts and crafts of the Kiso are scattered throughout the property. Just like a museum of history and local crafts.Its minimal design inspired by Zen temple is one and only in the world.


The glossy jet-black floors are beautifully coated with black lacquer.
The walls, looking like ink wash painting, are covered with washi paper reinforced with iron and copper.
Furniture handmade by local craftsmen and artists is one of a kind.


Designers chairs made from local chestnut wood
Custom made luxurious bathtubs using Kiso Hinoki wood in abundance
Enjoy the one and only Zenagi property to the fullest which can’t be found anywhere else in the world.

  • Zenagi

The interiors (Photo Credits: Zenagi)

Many activities to choose from

We experience kayaking with Ando san, an Olympian.

Me enjoying the nature, despite being unwell.

We also experienced lacquerware painting (Photo Credits: Zenagi)

Lacquerware manufacturing invloves two processes; woodturning and lacquer painting.
Here in the Kiso Valley, craftsmanship of those two techniques is uniquely developed.

Kijishi or woodturners are one of a kind craftsmen who have protected a unique woodturning technique invented by the imperial family 1,200 years ago.
(Today, there are only two families who have been inheriting this technique over the centuries.)

Our exclusive tour will make a visit to the studio of the legendary craftsman,
one of a few artists in Japan who deal with both woodturning and lacquer painting,
and appreciate the craftmanship.

In the studio, you wiil get to experience a traditional lacquer decoration tecnique called Maki-e,
where you draw a picture with lacquer on the surface of lacquerware,
and then apply gold or silver powder on the surface to create a design.

  • Zenagi

Understanding the history and how to draw

One of my tries on lacquerware painting. My son was also able to experience it too. This is not the final product.

We also got some bowls, cups and spoons. Each bowl has different pattern as each wood is different. Depending on the item, the prices varies.

For the rice bowl, it was about ¥22,000 (USD 162). You can used it for many years to come and the colour of the bowls would change gradually.

Below are some of the bowls we bought. Bamboo shoot rice, bamboo shoots dug by husband.

The view from our room

My husband and son were digging for bamboo shoots

My husband working hard while my son went for a stroll with the hotel staff

My son, enjoying the sunset

Enjoy nature

Food was amazing. I will blog about the food, in another post. Below are some of the meals for my son.

We travelled there by car. However, the hotel provides many options.

We had a wonderful time and would love to visit Zenagi again. Hopefully, we can visit next year.

Check out their website for more information and reservation.

Till then…

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