Kifu no Sato > Concept
Concept: Embraced by the presence of flowers
The spirit of Kifu no Sato –What I learned from the proprietress
Many of our guests praise our flower arrangements saying how delightful to see them reflecting the natural world outside. The appreciation for nature, I believe, has been nurtured in our family and handed down generation after generation. It’s in our DNA to respect nature and appreciate its beauty as it is. I have a story to tell you to illustrate the point. Many of our gardens are designed in a traditional Japanese style. One of them had a few dandelions blooming in it. Strictly speaking, they would have to be removed to make the garden look “perfect” as the dandelions are considered as a type of weed. When I consulted with my mother, our proprietress, she said, “it’s better to leave them there.” At that very moment, I understood very clearly the value our ryokan places on this ideal. This sense of non-perfection but something warm and down- to- earth is what I want my guests to feel whilst treating them with utmost courtesy and respect. This is the core value and will always be the source of inspiration for Kifu no Sato.
The local community building initiated by Sasaki Takeshi, the second generation owner
My grandfather, Sasaki Takeshi, passed away at the age of 97 on July 31, 2016. I have special emotional attachments to him, which are not based on any concrete events or experiences I had with him. So I am not sure why I feel so strongly about him, but this is definitely love I have for him. This feeling is deeply embedded within my heart to the point that I cannot forget about it. The photograph of him (below)shows that he loved flowers. Not just within our ryokan, but in every street and corner of Yunogo, he planted and looked after all sorts of flowers. When I was in elementary school, he donated flower pots to the school. I was praised for my grandfather’s generosity in front of the whole school. This was the only time in my school life I got this level of attention. He became famous as a local “Hanasaka Jiisan” (a character from a Japanese folk tale who can magic the cherry branches into blossoming). His passion for flowers must have rubbed off on me without me noticing. I came to think, as long as I look after the flowers, this ryokan will survive. So the reason we are getting by is, I believe, I remember to keep my appreciation for wild blossoms vibrantly alive in our ryokan. I hope that, one day, I will also help make my town Yunogo a place where flowers will never stop blooming.
The present day “Hanasaka Jiisan” at Kifu no Sato
Mr Koyo Kuroda (Sensei)He is one of the people who I have deep respect for. In my youth, Mr Kuroda told me he started to develop interests in flowers and nature due to his weak health constitution. He started learning flower arrangement at the Ikenobo School of Ikebana whilst he was in junior high school and met a great master who helped him to develop his talents. For a period of time after his schooling, his busy work schedule didn’t allow him to dedicate himself to work on his flower arrangement skills. However, now his determination to polish his skills day after day often surprises me. Still brimming with passion for flowers, Sensei often asks me, “what do you think of this piece? How do you like it?” and shares his new ideas for future pieces. He is my inspiration and I hope to live with the same kind of curiosity and devotion as Mr. Kuroda.
Mr Hironori Sumitani
Sankei Inc.I was introduced to Sumitani Sensei by the first grade licensed architect Mr Ogasawara who heads the architect firm “Kankousakusha. Through his impassioned talks, I realised what interested him most was not so much his own designs but how best to build rooms so that the guests can appreciate Sumitani Sensei’s gardens. What we, the three of us shared was the belief—how important to live feeling part of nature. I learned that we draw strength from the joy of experiencing the natural beauty all around us.
To continue the spirit of “Hanasaka Jiisan”I want to make my company into what everyone involved perceives as a paradise (a lush green place brimming with flowers). We are here to make sure our guests are happy but I, as president of the company, want to make sure that every one of my staff enjoys working here, each shining and content with their lives. I want them to grow into valued members of the society. Also it is my mission to preserve the hot springs and pass the legacy down from the last thousand years to the next thousand. To achieve these two goals, I would like to keep the flowers blooming in the town (though I personally don’t know anything about flower arrangement). I would like to help the company to flourish as a Hanasaka Jiisan”like my grandfather, keeping my appreciation for wild blossoms in and around Kifu no Sato alive.
Click to watch the video capturing the essence of Kifu no Sato showing 76 pieces of flower arrangement, foyer with tatami flooring, our spirit of hospitality, elegant and restful rooms and suites, hot spring baths that revitalise your skin condition and finally the multicourse meals with freshest sea and mountain produce.