all photos by Masahiro Ikeda courtesy Nosigner
At one point in time, the 400-year old Narai-juku was one of the most-prosperous “stations” along the Nakasendo trail that connected Kyoto with current-day Tokyo. As a designated preservation site, it’s one of the few places in Japan that has retained its Edo-era architectural charm. Along a narrow road lined with merchants and inns was the former Suginomori sake brewery. It’s here that a new lodge called Byaku has decided to inherit roots.
Byaku takes its name from the kanji character for lodge or 宿, which is comprised of the radicals 宀 (rooftop), 百 (one hundred), and 人 (person)
Byaku takes its name from the kanji character for lodge or 宿, which is comprised of the radicals 宀 (rooftop), 百 (one hundred), and 人 (person). Inspired by a “vision that 100 people might connect through this site, and that it last 100 years or more into the future,” a stylized version of 百, which could also be read as 100, was used for the logo.
And one hundred goes on to inform the signage and visual communications of the rest of the lodge with phrases like “a picture is worth a hundred words” and “hospitality with one hundred flavors,” explains Nosigner, who worked with the lodge operator to develop the concept, logo and signage.
One unique element of the lodge is their Byaku Fuda (100 cards) introducing 100 local stories; 100 local experiences. The cards, which are presented to guests at various times throughout their stay, are in essence an invitation to go beyond the walls of their inn.
At a typical luxury hotel, the guest experience is confined to the facility itself, so any activity there fails to spill out into the area; if anything, it leads to a separation between the local site and the hotel. We thus felt it was key to treat this facility as a hub linking guests with the region.Nosigner
You can discover everything Byaku has to offer, and plan your visit–once we can all safely travel again, that is–over on their website. You can also travel vicariously through their Instagram account.