Hotel surrounded by the sea and starry skies, illuminated by the morning sun and moonlight

【Isohara Seaside Hotel】

~Washing away fatigue with the background music of soothing ocean waves, recharging energy with meals made from locally sourced, organically grown, and handmade ingredients from Ibaraki ~

Isohara Seaside Hotel is located in Isohara-cho, a village town by the sea in Kitaibaraki, where the scenery of good old Japan remains, surrounded by the ocean and sky and illuminated by the sunrise, moon, and stars.

The panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean and the Joban Sea spreads out before your eyes in all oceanfront rooms. Whether it is a stormy day, when you are overwhelmed by the sound of the incoming and outgoing tides, or a calm day, when you feel as if you have arrived at an isolated island in the middle of the ocean, the changing nature in front of your eyes will captivate and soothe your mind as time passes.

For this interview, we asked Manager Chiharu Fukuda about the story behind the birth of the Isohara Seaside Hotel, its features, and its specialties.

●Table of Contents

●Protected by Futatsushima ~The Untold Story of the Birth of Isohara Seaside Hotel

-First of all, can you tell us how this hotel came into being?

The previous owner opened the hotel at this location in 1987. It was not until November 2010 that the business was transferred, and a new start was made under the current management structure.

Four months after the start of the new organization, the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred.

The tsunami came with a bang and the seawater flowed into the hotel. The force of the waves seemed to have weakened slightly, thanks to "Futatsushima," a large rock in the sea in front of the hotel, which divided the waves to the right and left. Due to the structural difference between the ocean and national highway sides of the hotel, the kitchen and restaurant on the first floor on the ocean side were inundated, but the main kitchen and restaurant on the second floor on the national highway side were safe, and the front desk, also on the national highway side, escaped tsunami damage. After confirming that we were in a position to provide safety and security to our customers, we were able to resume operations on April 1, when electricity was restored, which was unusually early for this region.

Our first customers after reopening were construction workers, but since the water supply had not been restored, we had to go buy plastic bottles every day, and our meals consisted only of rice and pickles. From there, we gradually restored the hotel's functions, and it took about one and a half to two years before we were able to welcome regular tourists. Even now, we are often told by guests who knew us back then, "How did you make it this far?

●Hotel with zero distance from the sea

- If you had to name one characteristic of the hotel, what would it be?

The best thing is the proximity to the ocean.

The location of the hotel is such that the beach is directly below you, or rather, the waves are lapping against the hotel building. When the ocean is rough, you will hear the sound of thumping, but when it is quiet, you will feel as if you are always with the ocean. You will always feel as if you are with the ocean during your stay. One of the hotel's specialties is the view of the sunrise from the sea. You can watch the sunrise from anywhere in the hotel from around 4:30 a.m. in summer and from 6:30 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. in winter. Some repeat guests stay at the hotel every year to watch the sunrise on the first day of the New Year. Since there are no city lights in the vicinity, the moon rises in jet-black darkness at night. Have you ever heard of a moonlit road? At our hotel, you can enjoy both the moon and the moonlit road, and on cloudless days, you can see countless stars twinkling in the night sky. The location where you can feel and enjoy nature close at hand, with the ocean as the main attraction, is our hotel's greatest feature.

- It seems that we can enjoy the ocean from anywhere within the hotel, is that correct?

There are 30 guest rooms in total. The rooms are located on the 3rd to 6th floors of a 6-story building, and the proximity to the ocean varies from floor to floor, so you can see and hear the ocean and waves differently in each room. However, the most surprising thing to guests who enter any of the rooms is that they had no idea the ocean was so close. The ocean is really right below the room. We are so close to the ocean that we sometimes receive comments such as, "I couldn't sleep because of the loud sound of the waves. (Earplugs are available at the front desk for guests who are concerned about noise.)

In addition to the guest rooms, you can also enjoy the atmosphere of "zero distance from the sea" in the common spaces.

First, let's take a look at the baths. The baths are located on the second floor and are separate for men and women. Like the guest rooms, the ocean is directly below you, but being on the second floor, you are even closer to the ocean than in the guest rooms. When you open the window and take a bath, you can hear the sound of the waves, and feel as if you are bathing in the ocean. The open-air bath on the roof of the hotel allows you to soak in hot water while enjoying the Pacific Ocean stretching as far as the eye can see. The beautiful moonlit and moonlit road on the ocean and the rising sun from the horizon of the vast Tokiwa Sea. You can feel nature all over your body in this hot spring, which is filled with an outstanding sense of openness. Here, there is a system of alternating between male and female use. The hot water in both the observation and outdoor baths is from a private source that is pumped from the premises. Since the water temperature is low, we adjust the temperature by adding fire and circulating the water.

Then there is the lounge. The banquet hall originally located on the middle floor was extensively renovated in 2022 and opened exclusively to guests as the "ISOHARA Lounge. About 18 meters wide and nearly 5 meters deep, it is an open relaxation lounge with large windows and a terrace facing the sea. In addition to large sofas and relaxing chairs in a space that emphasizes a natural feel, it is also equipped with a working desk for those on vacation. Other amenities include darts, soccer games, Othello and Shogi (Japanese chess), hobby magazines and picture books, etc., allowing each guest to enjoy his or her "special relaxation.

Complimentary tea, detox water, etc. are available for your enjoyment. From the "ISOHARA Lounge," you can of course overlook the Pacific Ocean, which stretches 180 degrees to the right and left.

●Eat Up Ibaraki - Organic Fusion Cuisine and Handmade Breakfast

- I heard that the cuisine here is highly regarded for its attention to detail. What kind of dishes are offered?

The fusion cuisine is based on Japanese cuisine and takes advantage of the bounty of the mountains and sea of Kitaibaraki. The head chef, Masai, has always focused on Japanese cuisine, but since around 2019, he has been focusing on local gastronomy and is thoroughly committed to local production for local consumption, basically using only ingredients produced in Ibaraki Prefecture. Although not well known, Ibaraki Prefecture is a treasure trove of marine and agricultural products. It ranks about fifth in the nation in terms of production of most vegetables, fruits, and marine products, and local produce is available throughout the four seasons. The only non-prefectural product we use at our hotel is olive oil. For vegetables in particular, we were able to find a farmer near the hotel who grows vegetables completely organically, and we purchase only pesticide-free vegetables from him. It is hard to tell without eating them in comparison, but organically grown vegetables have a strong flavor. Crisp, fresh vegetables delivered directly from the fields to the kitchen can be used in their entirety, from skin to leaves. We serve Kitaibaraki fusion cuisine that blends elements of international cuisines, incorporating local seafood, meats, and sometimes gibier such as duck, while focusing on these vegetables as the main garnish.

Breakfast is buffet style, but in addition to ingredients from Ibaraki Prefecture, we value "homemade" food.

The rice comes from a contract farmer with reduced pesticide use, and the miso soup is a fisherman's soup full of the flavor of the sea made with homemade miso. Salads with pesticide-free vegetables are served with handmade dressings. For side dishes, the vegetables themselves are delicious, so we try to keep the seasoning as simple as possible to bring out the best of the ingredients, for example, grilling them with olive oil and salt, or stir-frying them with homemade salted malt or soy sauce malt. In addition, to customize the Ibaraki specialty natto as you like, we have prepared four types of homemade sauce and about 10 different toppings such as grilled fish tips and baby sardines to create a presentation that allows you to enjoy and find a delicious way to eat natto. Bread is also made without additives using a home bakery, and the butter, jam, and yogurt that go with it are also homemade. We sometimes arrange granola by adding buckwheat seeds produced in Ibaraki Prefecture instead of nuts, and we hope to convey to our customers the richness of Ibaraki's ingredients by making it by hand. I think there are very few accommodations as large as our hotel that offer perfectly homemade organic breakfast and dinner. To be honest, it is difficult to use no additives at all, but we would like to bring "deliciousness" to our customers' hearts by utilizing the power of ingredients such as fresh vegetables and meat, and incorporating the wisdom of traditional fermented foods and preserved foods.

●Winter Fun, Anglerfish Dishes

- Do you have any recommendations for limited meal plans or event information that I can enjoy because of Ibaraki?

It is an anglerfish dish only available in autumn and winter. Although it is not well known, Kitaibaraki is famous for its anglerfish. Anglerfish is famous as a fish that there is no place where you can't eat it, and a typical example is a hot pot. Anglerfish hot pot is usually soy sauce or salt based, but a traditional dish in Kitaibaraki is called "dobu-jiru," a rich hot pot with plenty of anglerfish liver. Originally, fishermen would stew anglerfish in a boat with no water, using only vegetables and the water from the anglerfish's liver. The hotel also offers creative anglerfish dishes from September to mid-April, centering on dobu-jiru nabe, a thick, rich flavor filled with anglerfish liver, fried anglerfish, and other dishes with vinegared accompaniments.

●Isohara Seaside Hotel Official Information

Name of Hotel:Isohara Seaside Hotel

Address: 2550 Futatsujima, Isohara-machi, Kita Ibaraki-shi, Kitaibaraki, Kitaibaraki, Japan, 319-1541


E-mail:[email protected]


【By Car】

Approximately 6 minutes from the Kitaibaraki IC of Joban Expressway.

Free parking for approximately 50 passenger vehicles. Large buses can also be parked (reservation required).

【By Train】

Approximately 5 minutes by cab from the East Exit of Isohara Station on the JR Joban Line.

■Persons we have spoken with

Ms. Chiharu Fukuda (Chief Operations Officer)