Ryokan Sugimoto, located in Utsukushigahara in the Shinshu area, is widely known for its gourmet repertoire, including soba noodles kneaded and hand-cut by the owner-chef, natural ingredients like edible wild plants and mushrooms indigenous to the surrounding mountains and locally raised Shinshu-ogon-shamo poultry and Shinshu beef
The natural hot springs at the Inn is known as Tsukama no Yu, which is mentioned in the ancient poetry anthology, Go-shui Waka-shu written in the final years of the Heian Period (794-1185).
Guests can allow their bodies to be enveloped by the warm water that bubbles up from the natural onsen, and enjoy the cuisine with a bottle of wine personally selected by the owner/chef. An after dinner sherry at the bar is relaxation that anyone who enjoys a leisurely drink would envy.
The eight islands of Japan sprang into existence through Divine Intervention.The first two gods who came into existence were Izanagi no Mikoto and Izanami no Mikoto, the Exalted Male and Exalted Female. It was their job to make the land for people to live on.They went to the bridge between heaven and earth and, using a jewel-encrusted halberd, Izanagi and Izanami churned up the sea into a frothy foam. As salty drips of water fell from the tip of the halberd the first island was formed. Its name was Onogoro.So far, so good. But when Izanagi and Izanami first met on their island, Izanami spoke to Isanagi without being spoken to first. Since she was the female, and this was improper, their first union created badly-formed offspring who were sent off into the sea in boats.The next time they met, Izanagi was sure to speak first, ensuring the proper rules were followed, and this time they produced eight children, which became the islands of Japan.I'm sure you did not fail to miss the significance of this myth for the establishment of Japanese formal society.At present, Japan is the financial capital of Asia. It has the second largest economy in the world and the largest metropolitan area (Tokyo.)Technically there are three thousand islands making up the Japanese archipelago. Izanagi and Izanami must have been busy little devils with their jewelled halberd...Japan's culture is highly technical and organized. Everything sparkles and swooshes on silent, miniaturized mechanisms.They're a world leader in robotics, and the Japanese have the longest life-expectancy on earth.Text by Steve Smith.