Picture a beautiful 300-year-old traditional Japanese house with a loquat orchard, renovated warehouse accommodations and private onsen hot springs. Sounds amazing, right? It certainly is! I’d love to tell you about my experience staying there, and how you can stay too.
As soon as I saw LOQUAT, I knew I had to stay there. It’s not often you find a Japanese warehouse accommodation. LOQUAT is a stylishly renovated 300-year-old house in the sleepy seaside hot spring town of Toi, Nishiizu. The warehouses have been renovated into a bar, and two accommodations with a private terrace and bath.
The main house is now a restaurant, bakery and gelato shop, a hub spot for delicious food made by pros from the freshest, tastiest local produce. With only two groups staying per night in your own private warehouse, and in-room check-in, guests can feel safe here during COVID-19.
What Makes Staying at a Renovated Traditional Japanese House Magical?
Traditional Japanese Atmosphere
Staying at LOQUAT is a beautiful way to experience Japanese culture. The old traditional house, the previous residence of the Suzuki family, is over 300 years old. The Suzuki family were prominent in the area, dedicated to supporting the town and its residents. LOQUAT has continued its legacy by creating this local hub spot.
From the outside structures to the inside woodwork, much of the old Japanese architecture and design remains. In other places, the renovations have been created through the reuse of original materials. The beams and screens in the main building that houses the restaurant captures the beauty of Japanese design and the ancient trees that frame the building transport you to a serene Japanese garden landscape.
The warehouses are renovated but still depict an authentic Japanese style. Outside the warehouse are the original heavy doors with authentic chalk writings. Open the sliding door to a spacious sitting area with an open plan bedroom at the Ninokura (second warehouse).
The rooms are furnished in a stylish Japanese décor that inspires relaxation and serenity. There is a welcoming woody scent from the high ceiling beams.
In the Sannokura (third warehouse), you are welcomed by an old, original kinko (safe) used by the family. Stairs separate the bedroom in this warehouse, and the bedroom wall is made from local volcanic rock.
Both warehouses connect to a private terrace with a natural hot spring pool.
The first warehouse has been renovated into the bar/spa area. At night, it’s an exclusive bar with delicious homemade liqueurs and home-brewed beers you can only try at this location. During the day/afternoon, it’s a salon where all-inclusive guests can enjoy a complimentary treatment.
Spacious Terrace With Private Hot Spring Bath
Both the warehouses open out to a spacious, airy, private terrace with a large bathtub in LOQUAT. You can relax in the bath while looking out at the loquat orchard, take your tea at the outside table, bask in the sun on the sun loungers, or do some morning stretches or yoga.
The water temperature is adjustable, so you can leave it at its original, deliciously hot temperature or add some cooler water for a long, pleasantly warm natural onsen bath. The waters are full of minerals, perfect for total relaxation and rejuvenation.
Local Food With Made By a Pro Chef
Takeru Quindici LOQUAT Nishi-Izu is an Italian restaurant that offers a menu that changes daily, using local ingredients at their best that day. It’s run by chef Takeru Toyama who trained in southern Italy and is also the owner of Takeru Quindici Kita-Kamakura. The restaurant is located in the house building and open as a gelato shop and bakery. On entering the space, you can feel the beauty of the Japanese house through the screens, wooden fretwork and ranma (transoms) carvings.
The food is made from local ingredients, cooked and served for the produces ideal temperature. The restaurant’s commitment to providing guests with exquisite dishes served at their most delicious really shows through.
But what’s on the menu? The menu changes daily to ensure the freshness of the ingredients, and this outstanding eight-course dinner is included in the standard plan! In the all-inclusive plan, drinks that match each course are also included. Jump here to read about the menu we sampled. Allergies and dietary restrictions are also accounted for; the chef served me a wonderful vegetarian menu created by the chef. Breakfast freshly baked from the bakery, eggs benedict, salad and cereal is also included in both stay plans.
Exquisite Free-Flow Gelato and Bakery
Have you heard of a Japanese inn with a gelato shop and bakery? Me neither! What’s more, the gelato is free-flow, meaning you can eat all the gelato you want from check-in to check-out.
Gelato and bakery SANTi’S goods are made using local products, with the environment in mind. It’s part of a movement towards slow-food, food made from organic local ingredients. The gelato menu changes every 2 months and has over 10 flavours. Would you take up the challenge of trying them all during your stay?
The bakery is also popular with the locals, the popular bread (like pain au chocolat) even selling out within minutes of opening.
The warehouse accommodation is equipped with all kinds of amenities, everything you need. The separately packaged and carefully selected shampoo and body wash are refreshing and cleansing. The specially produced loquat oil offered in an ample size to lather your face and body after a relaxing bath is made locally and has a delicately pleasant scent. A souvenir bag stained from loquat pits is provided as a souvenir for you to take home and use, a reminder of your stay.
The mini bar is stocked with soft drinks, beer and wines, all included in the room price. You can also enjoy a cup of coffee or locally made loquat tea on the terrace. Listen to records, read books, watch television on the portable TV and charge your devices with the provided cables. LOQUAT really has thought of everything!
How Can I Spend My Stay?
Want an idea of what it’s like to stay at LOQUAT? I can take you through it. After a walk around the local area (which included a visit to the world’s largest flower clock), we were greeted at the LOQUAT entrance and taken to choose some complimentary gelato to eat during check-in at our room. Guests can choose to stay in the Ninokura (second warehouse) or Sannokura (third warehouse), depending on availability.
We settled into our room, changed into a fluffy bathrobe and enjoyed a soak in a private terrace bath, and then relaxed with a book on the sunny terrace; bliss. After a lovely warm bath, another round of refreshing gelato definitely hit the spot.
I worked up an appetite by walking to the beach; sunsets at Toi Beach are supposed to be some of the best in Japan, but it was unfortunately too cloudy, maybe next time!
Here’s what the menu on 2nd June 2021 looked like:
Course 1. Kama-age shirasu (whitebait) and green peas
Course 2. Turban shells from Suruga Bay and shiitake mushrooms from Suzuki Shiitake Mushroom Garden
Course 3. Suruga Bay sardine fritters
Course 4. Spaghetti with Japanese parsley and karasumi (dried mullet roe)
Course 5. Gnocchi with fava beans and ricotta cheese
Course 6. Oven-baked seafood of the day (freshwater prawn from the surrounding area)
Course 7. Roasted Amagi black pork
Course 8. Ricotta cheese ice cream and new summer orange
The water served with dinner was infused with kuromoji (a type of spicebush) to refresh and cleanse the palate between courses.
Course 1: The peas, boiled just right to retain their texture, were topped with flavoursome baby sardines famous in the Izu area, an indicator of the high-quality dishes to come. This was paired with champagne.
Course 2: The turban shells fresh from Suruga Bay and shiitake mushrooms were tossed in a butter sauce. The crunchy texture of the turban shells and the woodsy shiitake mushrooms were a perfect match. Served a glass of white wine.
Course 3: A crunchy fritter dish made from sardines caught in Suruga Bay. The mozzarella, citrus peel on top, and the coriander flowers were fragrant and complemented the robust taste of the sardines. Served with “Beer of the Valley of the Winds”, an organic pilsner.
Course 4: Spaghetti with an impact of flavours from the slightly salty dried mullet roe and bittersweet Japanese parsley. Paired with Japanese sake to complement the fish.
Course 5: Gnocchi with a rich potato depth, perfected with broad beans. The sweetness of the ricotta cheese matched the beans.
Course 6: Scampi shrimp from the Izu sea, plump and free from any unpleasant “fishy” scent. The basil-flavoured couscous a good accompaniment that enhances the sweetness of the shrimp.
Course 7: A dish of acutely roasted black pork raised in Amagi, which is not widely available and can only be eaten here. A luxurious roast that is free of fat, retaining moisture. A perfect match with red wine.
Course 8: The fresh ricotta cheese ice cream matched the refreshing sweetness of the new summer oranges, refreshing the palate at the end of the course.
The chef carefully thought out all the dishes, and the attention paid to the timing and temperature of serving was evident. By using local ingredients, the restaurant offers dishes that diners can only enjoy in Nishiizu. It was a delightful experience, where time moved differently than normal.
After dinner, we enjoyed some drinks at the warehouse bar. There was a selection of handmade liqueur available, some fruity such as the white loquat, limoncello, summer orange, and unique spirits such as shiitake mushroom, wasabi, and green tea infusions.
True to the name, we tried the white loquat liqueur, and it was beautifully refreshing with an apricot, amaretto essence. The soft lighting, relaxing atmosphere of the bar was the perfect way to finish the evening. Time for another soak in the bath before bed.
Morning on the Terrace
What could be a better way to start the morning than a self-yoga practice on the sunny terrace? Followed by a cup of loquat tea and a dip in the bath. There’s nothing quite like an asaburo (morning bath). The best thing about having your own private hot spring in your room is the availability to jump in and out whenever you like.
Breakfast served in the restaurant was a selection of freshly made SANTi bread, salad with fresh Toi vegetables, minestrone, cereal and eggs benedict. The bread was fluffy and flavoursome, the pain au chocolate crispy on the outside and soft and chocolatey in the middle.
A luxurious after-breakfast morning laze on the sunny terrace later, and it was 11 am, time to check out. We were so sad to check out and could have easily stayed longer (read: forever)!
How Can I Get There?
The closest bullet train station is Mishima. You can take the bullet train there from Tokyo (around 45 minutes from Shinagawa), and from there, the next step depends on what time you arrive. You can either take a bus straight to Toi (a few of these run a day) or a local train to Shuzenji Station (26 minutes) from which you can take a bus (40 minutes). Another option is to take the Odoriko from Tokyo, or Yokohama that arrives in Shuzenji; this is the route we took on the way back. The bus stop you alight at (中浜, Nakahama) is a 1-minute walk from the hotel. Or rent a car from Mishima and drive to LOQUAT (60 minutes) along Izu’s scenic coastal road for some spectacular views.
There are two plans available at LOQUAT, the standard and all-inclusive. Both the plans have some very valuable money-saving inclusions.
Standard Plan 50,000 yen per person per night
- Italian course dinner and breakfast by Takeru Quindici
- Welcome amenities
- Free flow (all you can eat) Izu fruit gelato made by Bake & Gelato SANTi)
- A variety of freshly baked bread at breakfast (Bake & Gelato SANTi’s specialities)
- Minibar (Shizuoka Prefecture craft beer, soft drinks, mineral water, sparkling wine, Shizuoka tea, etc.)
- Souvenirs made by LOQUAT
Visit this page for more information.
All-inclusive Plan 70,000 yen per person per night
All the above plus!
- Wines and other beverages to match the cuisine
- 60-minute beauty treatment by Salon mimosa using white loquat oil (body or facial)
- Late-night Kura Bar all you can drink
Visit this page for more information.
With these inclusions, you are not only getting a night at an amazingly unique Japanese warehouse with a private, natural hot spring bath, with a value of around 50,000 yen per person, but also dinner prepared by a pro chef worth over 12,000 yen, breakfast, all you can eat gelato, mini-bar drinks worth thousands of yen and luxurious amenities. A complementary treatment worth over 10,000 yen for all-inclusive guests and all you can drink exclusive drinks are also included!
Relax and Recharge at LOQUAT Nishiizu For a Traditional Japanese Experience
Apart from the obvious warehouse accommodation and onsen, it’s the small details that help LOQUAT stand out. From the excellent service, the carefully prepared amenities, the stocked mini-bar, locally produced tea and body oil, books and record player and the comfortable sleepwear, everything felt special.
If you are looking for somewhere to stay in Izu, or a Japanese style accommodation with a private natural hot spring, LOQUAT is the place! On staying at night, I can wholeheartedly recommend a stay: it’ll be a place you will want to come back in each season to enjoy the seasonal food and gardens.