During the Edo period (1603-1868), the Ishida family (commonly called KYUZA) lived by a river. In 1858, a large earthquake happened in the Hida region (The Great Ansei Earthquake) and many houses in the community, including the Ishida house, were completely destroyed. Nine members of the Ishida family died in the earthquake. However, ISHIDA KYUZABURO was working in his relatives’ rice paddy across the river and miraculously survived.
In the following year, KYUZABURO and his relatives rebuilt the Ishida family house in its current location to restart his life in Genda community.
Around the beginning of the Meiji period (1868-1912), there were thirteen houses in the community, and the households made their living through forestry and agriculture. According to them, even though the village was small, it had a gold mine, a clinic, and a school, and they could live prosperously.
However, many people left the agriculture-oriented life to pursue a different style of living. Alot of villagers left because of its mountainous topography and incredibly heavy snow in winter. Now, of the thirteen households, there are only three houses left. Tsuyuko’s parents passed away, and she started solo life from 2015.
Even though the house is gorgeous and has been handed down from generation to generation, she had struggled with finding a new owner. Since she cannot live alone in the house, eventually she decided to tear the house down. However, The Pavilions Niseko Kominka project team found the house and decided to relocate it just before the dismantling process was about to start.
The family members and relatives are all pleased that the house will not be destroyed, but reconstructed and restored by The Pavilions Niseko team to become the resorts reception, salon, library restaurant and upstairs bar. There is also a second Kominka building, which will feature a luxurious onsen, spa, gym and yoga room facilities.
In its most simplistic form Kominka refers to traditional farmhouses, usually constructed of wood, clay, straw, bamboo and topped with a thatched roof. Reminiscent of idyll countryside life, simple meals cooked over irori by women in yukata and open space for families and friends to gather, this distinctive style of architecture is unfortunately disappearing.
With authenticity at the core of Pavilions values, The Pavilions Niseko has sourced two two-hundred-year-old Kominkas from Gifu prefecture which will house the resorts luxurious facilities while preserving a piece of history.
“We had originally planned a mid-century modern resort reminiscent of the Toblerone House in Sao Paulo, but after discovering these gems from Gifu we saw a unique opportunity to give our guests an authentic Japanese experience with contemporary luxuries.” Says Gordon Oldham, Owner of The Pavilions Hotels & Resorts.
Each Kominka comes with its own unique story. At the time of dismantling the Kominika, handwritten scrolls detailing each Kominkas unique history through the Meiji period (1868-1912) were uncovered.