Oct 29, 2009

Escapade at Japanese Inn Nikoso in Oita

In a room of a Japanese ryokan inn, various types of wigs such as those used for disguise of an oiran, geisha, samurai, maiko, etc. are lined on a shelf, and many kimono and other costumes are hung down on hangers or piled up high on tables. In a corner of the room was a carton box in which fake swords and spears are stored in disorder. Tabi socks are seen being stored in a translucent plastic chest that has about five drawers. The tabis seem to be sorted by size and stored in drawers corresponding to their sizes.

Something like a table or workbench is placed in the room. On it, foundation, brushes, and other items used for makeup are put in a jumble. In front of the table, two chairs are set in a face-to-face position. One is occupied by a man wearing a surgical mask, and the other is occupied by a woman. The man is busily painting foundation and drawing eyebrows on her face. The woman is apparently talkative and keeps talking to the man. Even when she must shut her eyes because he needs to paint foundation on her face and pat her face with sponge, her mouth is busy.

If you stay at the Japanese inn Nikoso located in Beppu city, Oita prefecture, you will witness a scene just like the above described. My friends and I stayed at this inn on October 18, 2009.

Formerly, many of the guests of Nikoso were those who enjoyed parties with gaisha, and the Hamawaki Onsen district where this inn was located was a lively hot-spring lodging town. However, the number of such guests decreased in the course of time, and the lodging business here has lost briskness.

The owner of Nikoso enjoys unusual costumes including women's kimono and wigs, disguising himself as a geisha, oiran, etc. He enjoyed such activities as a hobby at the beginning, and later, he started offering the guests of his inn opportunities to wear part of his clothes and wig collection and allowed them enjoy parties with such costumes. This offering by this inn gained in popularity attracting more and more guests. Now, guests are sometimes from abroad.

Now, this inn is known as the only ryokan in Japan offering costume party service, being visited by many people including repeat guests. You can choose your favorite outfit from 300 types of costumes when you stay at this inn. According to the owner, he sometimes goes to the Tokyo area to purchase new wigs and clothes in order to offer a broadened selection of costume in the service.

To tell the truth, I was indifferent to wearing costumes, but my friends insisted that they wear costumes and disguise themselves as an oiran, geisha, or maiko. Ok, I gave in and decided to stay at this inn.

I thought I would lose nothing by using this service because the lodging expense included the costume service. So, I finally decided on that day to disguise myself someone unusual.

"I don't look very serious."

"Crime of passion?"

"I was very happy to be flanked by two women."

Thus, I was cooking with gas.

By the way, I felt the humidity on the head when wearing the wig. Sweat containing the foundation and other dyes and looking blackish blue began to drip from my nose tip. I thought it difficult for me to enjoy the costume party with this heavy makeup.

So, I changed out of these clothes and went to the bath to wash off my makeup. This was an onsen (hot spring) and I was relaxed and refreshed. Then, I enjoyed the party with good foods. Probably, Nikoso is a good ryokan for those who want to disguise themselves as some unusual personae. Also, foreigners who want to wear Japanese kimono may want to stay at this inn.

Today's Sake
Sawanoi Ichibankumi Nigorizake (Ozawa Syuzou)
On 24, October, I attended the kurabiraki event (the brewery is open to the public in this event) of Ozawa Syuzou that is making this sake. This sake was sold only in this event. Personally, I prefer mellow aged sake to young just-pressed sake, but this sake is available only at this time of the year. So I bought this bottle. Drinking this fresh sake, I realize the autumn is far advancing.
Seimaibuai: 65%
Alcohol: 19 - 20%


Tokyofoodcast said...

So, kosupure ryokan!? I will add this to my list, definitely.

Ichibay said...

Yes, a kind of kosupure ryokan. Beppu can be a good travel destination for those from abroad.