Did you know that a Kominka is a type of traditional Japanese house? I had the pleasure of visiting one such restored house located in Hikone, a town on the coast of Lake Biwa near Kyoto.
This Kominka has been masterfully restored and now has an authentic interior and exterior, as well as a traditional Japanese garden. But it’s not just a place that you can look at and enjoy; it also serves a purpose. It houses a wellness salon called Hikone Dharmakur, where you can enjoy many different activities. Let me tell you more about this place.
I arrived in Hikone on a train after a short train ride from Kyoto. I enjoyed the beautiful countryside around Lake Biwa, and when I got to the city, I went exploring a bit. Its most notable feature is the famous Hikone Castle, a relatively large and beautiful castle located in the center of town that is well known for being a great spot to watch cherry blossoms.
There are too many cherry trees located along its moat, and after exploring the area around the castle a bit, I headed out to where this Kominka house was located.
I was greeted by kind staff members who showed me a tour of the place. It was really impressive, and you could really feel the authenticity of this place. They had tried their best to restore the house while keeping it as accurate as possible, of course incorporating certain modern elements but not in a way that would be visible.
The house also has a nice traditional Japanese garden with many interesting rocks, plants, and other features. I had the pleasure of talking to the gardener, who explained the details of his procedures and taught me a lot about gardening in a traditional Japanese style.
There is also a smaller annex to the house, which was in the past used as a granary, but now it will have a different purpose. A part of the house was decorated to be a unique wellness salon, where you could go to have private wellness treatments by the expert staff. I could see how interesting it would be thanks to its unique location and interesting view of the Hikone Castle.
Next up, I tried some of the activities that they offer at Hikone Dharmakur. First up was aerial yoga. For those of you who don’t know, aerial yoga is a type of yoga that’s done using cloths of silk that hang from the ceiling, which enable you to place your body in many unique positions that wouldn’t be possible without the silk supporting you.
It was really interesting, and although I’m not the flexible type, I still managed to do many of the tasks, and I had a lot of fun learning from the sensei. She taught me how to breathe properly, how to assume certain yoga positions, and so on. It was quite a relaxing and entertaining experience.
Following the aerial yoga class, I tried meditation. I lay down on the floor in one of the rooms of the house, and they played some meditation tapes, and I just lay there relaxing, taking in the instructions that were provided. It truly felt relaxing, and I felt much calmer after this. I decided to take up some meditation of my own when I got back from the trip.
To finish up my trip to Hikone, I went to the shores of Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan, and spent some time exploring the interesting places down the coastline. I found a nice big beach where I relaxed a bit, and next to the lake I saw many people driving their bikes around.
I learned that there’s a popular biking trail cycling trail that goes all around the lake and takes about a day to complete. I made sure to make a note of it for next time because it seemed really interesting, but I did not have time to do it this time.
All in all, it was a really fun visit to Hikone and learning all about Kominka, a traditional house, and what they offer here. If this feels like some experience you would like to try, especially if you’re interested in aerial yoga or meditation, make sure to check out Hikone Dharmakur’s website.