お勧めの登山: 初の北アルプスに唐松岳 Recommended Hikes: Mt. Karamatsu for 1st-Time Alpinists

2020.10.10: 信州の山 Nagano’s Mountains, その他 Miscellaneous


日本の屋根(唐松岳頂上と雲海)On top of the World (Mt. Karamatsu's peak looking over a sea of clouds)

私達は前日のお客さんを見送ってから白馬へ出かけた。登山口となる八方池山荘まで通常のルートは八方地区のゴンドラ「アダム」そして二つのリフトに乗り換えていける。(片道60分、往復で約3000円) 長野駅からの急行バスの八方バスターミナルからゴンドラまで歩けるから電車やバス交通には便利。車で行けば期間限定で黒菱第三リフトから1回の乗り換えで行けるけど、リフトまでの道があまりにもくねくねで結局ゴンドラ「アダム」経路の方が早い。(黒菱ラインは往復1200円.)アクセスの詳しく






Kurobishi #3 Chair Lift. You can skip the gondola by driving up to here.

リフトとリフトの間の湿原 Walk through a marsh in between the two chair lifts

数か所にケルンが立っている。Cairns mark the path in a few places.

八方池(晴れたら白馬三山の反射が最高)Happo Pond (Photogenic reflections of the 3 main Hakuba peaks if the weather is clear)

唐松山荘 Karamatsu Mountain Hut

奇跡の雷鳥 An elusive rock ptarmigan




Stopping to reflect on life as an innkeeper 宿主としての見直し

2020.10.06: その他 Miscellaneous

(I was requested to write about running a business in Japan, and would like to share my reflections here.)

I run a traditional onsen ryokan along with some side businesses such as a rental cycle / guided cycling and walking tours program, an Uber Eats-like deal for local restaurants, and selling the Seattle-style cookies I bake for our guests over the internet.  Besides these business activities, I also run a non-profit organization for promoting tourism to Nagano, called the NINJA Project.

For the ryokan, the inn had been in my wife’s family for several decades and the mother-in-law wanted to retire but didn’t have anyone to take over so she talked about tearing it down and making a parking lot.  Most of the inns nearby have replaced their wooden buildings with multi-story ferro-concrete boxes.  Our inn still has the original wood building surrounding a central garden with passageways leading to semi-detached guestrooms.  If the inn had just been a concrete box, I wouldn’t have been sad to see it go.  But I felt the wood buildings deserved to be around for at least another generation, so my wife and I sold our house and gave up our lives in Seattle to move back to Nagano and become innkeepers.

The eco tour side business is an attempt to take advantage of our town’s rural setting and the cycling possibilities with the Chikuma River Bike Path and all the great hill climb courses around.

The restaurant delivery and cookie baking resulted from the Covid-induced downturn in our inn’s business.

The biggest joy with running the inn has been being able to provide a place for guests to escape their hectic lives for a night and get back in touch with themselves.  We often get thank you messages saying that staying at the inn let them recharge their bodies’ batteries.  I feel that providing that experience has become my calling.

The biggest challenge with the inn has been making the necessary improvements.  The mother-in-law didn’t have energy to do much needed maintenance and updating.  Since we’ve come, I’ve built three outdoor baths with a 4th in the works now, and we’ve renovated several of the guest rooms to make staying in them more comfortable.  We’ll never have all the modern comforts that the concrete boxes provide so another challenge has been to choose our guests better, i.e. attract guests that appreciate the classic ambience of an old-fashioned inn.


For anyone who wants to get into the business of running a ryokan, there are innkeepers throughout the country whose children aren’t interested in taking over and are faced with having to close their family-run inn.  If you find one that fits your passion, start out at the bottom offering to work with cleaning or as a room servant and gradually work your way up.  Learning the art of ‘omotenashi’ (Japanese-style hospitality) can be a life-long endeavor.


Actually running the inn is about 50% of my work.  The other half surprisingly is all the work with the local ryokan association and the civic improvement work with the town and even the prefectural level.


Covid has fundamentally changed our operation.  Up until now, we’d been focused on trying to max out our room occupancy.  Now we’re trying to provide a higher level of service to a fewer number of guests.  For example, after I get this latest outdoor bath finished, the next project will be to add a private outdoor bath to one of the guest rooms.

亀清旅館の新型コロナウイルス対応 Kamesei Ryokan's Corona Virus Measures

2020.10.02: その他 Miscellaneous


  • チェックインに際しては、直接の対面を避ける為にクリアパネルを設置しております。感染予防策を講じた上で旅行者全員に検温と本人確認を実施しております。
  • 旅行者に検温等の体調チェックを実施し、発熱がある場合や風邪症状がみられる場合には、週末も含め保健所の指示を仰ぎ、適切な対応をとっております。
  • 浴場や飲食施設等の共用施設の利用について、人数制限を設け、3密対策を徹底しております。大浴場の脱衣所にかごを減らして人数制限しております。なお、客室は10部屋で制限しております。密にならならい為です。そして、2階の部屋に関してはお客さまとお客様の間で最低1日を空けて、完全に喚起しております。海外の宿泊施設ではこれが主流で、外国人のお客さまが安心できるためです。(そのご要望の方は予約の際に申し付けてください。)
  • ビュッフェ方式は元々ございません。食事会場での食事提供の場合、座席の間隔を離すなど、食事の際の3密対策を徹底しております。
  • 客室、などの共用スペース等の消毒・換気を徹底しております。エレベーターはございません。
  • 「参加条件」を徹底・実施している旨をこのブログにてホームページやフロントでの掲示等で対外的に公表しております。
  • 宿泊施設でのチェックインの際等に、旅行者が順守すべき事項を周知徹底しております。また、若者の団体旅行、重症化しやすい高齢者の団体旅行、大人数の宴会を伴う旅行は一般的にリスクが高いと考えられるため控えるようにお勧めしております。ただし、それだけをもって一律に支援の対象外とするものではなく、実施する場合には、修学旅行・教育旅行などのように、着実な感染防止対策が講じられることを前提に、適切に旅行が実施されるべきことを周知徹底しております。
  • 【従業員の対策】従業員の出勤時の検温、日々の体調管理しております。お客様の前で必ずマスク着用しております。