NIPPONIA HOTEL Ozu Castle Town: Charms and Unique Experiences

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NIPPONIA HOTEL Ozu Castle Town, located in Ozu City, Ehime Prefecture, is a rare lodging spot in the world where the castle town itself is turned into a hotel. In this article, we will introduce its charm and the experiences that can only be had at this hotel.

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NIPPONIA HOTEL Ozu Castle Town: Features and Highlights

Ozu City in Ehime Prefecture's Shikoku island is a quiet rural town far from Tokyo and Osaka. However, this distance from these major cities has allowed it to preserve traditional Japanese culture as well.

NIPPONIA HOTEL Ozu Castle Town is where you can deeply experience Japan's ancient culture.

NIPPONIA HOTEL Ozu Castle Town is a distributed hotel where the castle town functions as an entire accommodation. Italy's Albergo Diffuso is a famous distributed hotel where the whole town is turned into a hotel. However, it's quite rare to have a historic castle town turned entirely into a hotel.

NIPPONIA HOTEL Ozu Castle Town is located in Ozu City, Ehime Prefecture, which is acclaimed for its experiences that utilize local history and culture. In 2023, it was selected among the "World's 100 Sustainable Tourist Destinations" by the international certification organization Green Destinations. This place is currently garnering attention, ranked number one worldwide in the "Culture and Tradition Category."

This article will introduce the unique charms of NIPPONIA HOTEL Ozu Castle Town.

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Ozu City in Ehime Prefecture Boasts a Rich History and Nature

Photo by Pixta

Before we introduce NIPPONIA HOTEL Ozu Castle Town, let's first describe Ozu City.

Ozu is located in the basin of the Hijigawa River, the largest river in Ehime Prefecture. It has prospered since ancient times as a place where various goods were gathered using water transport. In particular, industries such as washi paper (traditional Japanese paper) and wax created many wealthy merchants.

Furthermore, many cities in Japan lost their old townscapes due to earthquakes and air raids during World War II. However, Ozu did not suffer such damages, and the old townscape from the Edo Period (1603-1868) to the Meiji Period (1868-1912) remains beautifully preserved.

Ozu is brimming with beautiful nature, including cherry blossoms in the spring and autumn foliage in the fall. There's also the fantastic scenery of morning mist and a sea of ​​clouds in the winter.

Charms and Unique Experiences at NIPPONIA HOTEL Ozu Castle Town

So, what can you enjoy at NIPPONIA HOTEL Ozu Castle Town in Ozu City?

We will introduce the accommodation's appeal from three main attractions.

Attraction 1. Stay at a Beautiful Inn Renovated into a Historic Building.

NIPPONIA HOTEL Ozu Castle Town treats the entire castle town along the Hijigawa River as one hotel. There are a total of 31 guest rooms housed in 26 buildings.

The guest rooms are all buildings with unique stories, including those used initially as residences for feudal lords and wealthy merchants, merchant houses selling alcohol and tea, and storehouses.

The building features an old interior and a beautiful garden, so you can spend a night in the castle town feeling like you've traveled back to the Edo Period.

Room sizes range from 2 to 4 people, and there are various room types, from suites to deluxe rooms, to choose from. 

Attraction 2. Have Numerous Unique Experiences

Many buildings in the castle town of Ozu are designated as cultural properties. This includes the Garyu Sanso Villa, which was awarded one star in the Michelin Green Guide Japan.

NIPPONIA HOTEL Ozu Castle Town offers plans to rent these rooms out for dinner or experience a private tour.

There are also experiences to enjoy Ozu City's unique customs.

``Ozu no Ukai'' is a traditional fishing method and Ozu tradition where fishers dressed in traditional costumes skillfully manipulate cormorants from small boats to catch sweetfish. It's a complex technique, so only a few people can accomplish it. 

NIPPONIA HOTEL Ozu Castle Town offers a program from June to September that allows guests to see this invaluable culture of Ozu in an intimate boat setting.

There is also an experience program where you can enjoy breakfast on a boat while touring the Hijigawa River. Please check the official website for details.

Attraction 3: Eat Ehime’s Gourmet Food Prepared by Famous Chefs

At NIPPONIA HOTEL Ozu Castle Town, you can have a meal at Restaurant Le Un, where the Ozu Castle can be seen up close.

Also, guests can enjoy dinner supervised by Grand Chef Shu Ishii, who is active at La Grande Maison in Switzerland and a leading figure in French cuisine in Japan.

Ehime Prefecture, where Ozu is located, is blessed with various ingredients, including fresh seafood from the ocean, agricultural products from the mountains, and fish caught in rivers.

Chef Grand Ishii brings out the charm of an array of ingredients and creates innovative fusion dishes that are neither Japanese nor Western.

Another feature is the bowls made of Tobe ware ceramics from Ehime, which have a signature bright blue stain on the white porcelain. You can enjoy local specialties served in locally crafted dishes.

Ozu Offers Plenty of Other Attractions

In Ozu City, where NIPPONIA HOTEL Ozu Castle Town is located, there are many attractions such as Nyohoji, a beautiful old temple in the mountains, Ohanahan Dori with its beautiful historic streetscape, and  Pokopen Yokocho which exudes a retro atmosphere.

Furthermore, the number of fashionable cafes and general stores has recently increased.

NIPPONIA HOTEL Ozu Castle Town features its town highlights on Instagram .

Also, when you actually stay overnight, the staff will act as your concierge and personally introduce the town's highlights.

We hope you have a wonderful time in Ozu City.

Click here for access to Ozu City

This article provides details on how to access Ozu City. Please take a look! 

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Written by

Ozu City belongs to an area called Nanyo on the western side of Shikoku, and is centered around the Ozu Basin, facing the Seto Inland Sea to the north and the Shikoku Mountains to the south. The clear stream, Hijikawa River, flows through the center of the city, and as the name suggests, the river curves like an elbow. Ta. In the Edo period, the remains of a prosperous castle town around Ozu Castle are still alive on the banks of the Hijigawa River.

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