古民家オーナーインタビューvol.3「道中庵ユースホステル」(前半) Cominka Owners Interview vol.3 “Do-Tyu-An Youth Hostel”

Cominka Owners Interview vol.3 "Do-Tyu-An Youth Hostel"(The first half)

English here.


① 農家の風習に反発した若い頃



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Cominka Owner Interview vol.3
"Do-Tyu-An Youth Hostel"(The first half)

We would like to deliver you the 3rd edition of our "Cominka Owners Interview" – featuring Mr. Makoto Itabashi, the Parent of "Do-Tyu-An Youth Hostel" in Sendai, Miyagi. At his hostel, everything from the building through the garden is thoroughly taken care of. The hostel is a highly unique one, famous as a cominka-inn at the city center and it has been featured on the Michelin Guide overseas.(this article is a summary of his talk given at "The Great East Japan Earthquake from the perspective of cominka", a bus tour conducted on 24th March, 2012.

Younger days: rebellion against customs of farming family.

This is my 34th year. I was born as the eldest son of a farming family, and have been doing it, working on fields. But I had been very rebellious against traditional ideas of farmers. For example, they never let their daughter marry with a farmer, but they are all so eager to find a wife for their sons. These things were so clear. So I left my home, working as a business man for a while then toured around Japan on a bicycle. I deliberately went through lively places such as Midosuji (Osaka) and Ginza (Tokyo). When I was asked where I was from and answered "Tohoku", people said "Tohoku is a great place", "I wish Tohoku was my home" – thing like that. This experience made me think that starting a Youth Hostel converting a cominka might be a good idea.

Opening a Youth Hostel as an inn with farming experience, after researching situation in advanced countries.

It was 60 years ago that the system of Youth Hostel entered Japan. It is still under the jurisdiction of MEXT as a system of "nurturing youth". However, when I opened this place Youth Hostel was seen as something like a motel – something disreputable. I was really frustrated that people were saying things like "the son of that family (Mr. Itabashi) never does meaningful things".But I knew what I was doing. Upon opening this place I went to countries like Germany – advanced countries for Youth Hostel system – to do a research, which assured me that what I was doing was a right thing – something meaningful for youth and children. Today concepts like Green Tourism are popular, but I started a Youth Hostel as lodging with farming experience 34 years ago.
>>To the latter half

Makoto Itabashi

Parent – Do-Tyu-An Youth Hostel

Born as the eldest son of a farming family. As he was against rigid, old ideas of farmers, he left his home and became a businessman, after which he toured around Japan on his bicycle. Inspired by the comments he got while touring, such as "Tohoku is a good place, I wish I could make it my home", he developed the idea of starting an inn with thatched roof where one can experience farming. With his instinct and enthusiasm, he went abroad to research advanced cases. Sympathizing the concept of Youth Hostel, Itabashi opened Do-Tyu-An after returning Japan. The hostel made news and its opening was featured in many magazines and news programs. It was refurbished from thatched roof to its current state 22 years ago. The hostel received Sendai Urban Landscape Award in 1991 (first awardee from the private sector), and is featured on Michelin Guide as a recommended inn.


Do-Tyu-An Youth Hostel

2-3-7, Oonoda, Taihaku, Sendai, MiyagiTEL: +81-22-247-0511FAX: +81-22-247-0759

Discover the area with places the owner of “Do-Tyu-An Youth Hostel” recommends!