Hagakure guesthouse opened early 2017 as the first dormitory style guesthouse in Saga Prefecture. It was created to offer hub where locals and travelers could come together, mingle and build their own community. In Japanese ‘hagakure’ means devotion under the samurai warrior code, the guesthouse staff are devoted to make your stay the best it can be. Aesthetically, Hagakure blends the capsule concept with a minimalist loft-like space.
Having a sake bar that doubles as a reception, there is a chance that you will not only be greeted by the staff but also by the locals who frequent Hagakure to socialize and sip the locally produced sake on hand. Takase-san, the manager, is a welcoming host and one who is very knowledgeable about Saga City and the surrounding area; if in need of travel recommendations, Takase-san is your guy. On request he’ll provide you with a hand-written map to make the most of your time in the area. Although the map is only written in Japanese, it is still helpful as a guide to the city.
Located on the second floor of the building you’ll find the sleeping area. Hagakure offers a mix-dormitory room, a female-only dormitory room, and Japanese-style rooms. Although it is a dormitory, each “capsule” has its own curtain to give you some privacy. And with the dormitories only accommodating up to 6 people (4 people for the female-only room), you don’t feel bombarded, more like you’re sharing an apartment with friends.
Within the dormitory rooms there’s a kitchen equipped with an oven and a microwave and cooking utensils, making it convenient for those who rather save a few bucks and eat in. If you want to test out the local culinary scene, Takase-san’s map has several food recommendations in the nearby area. For those with adventurous palates, there’s an old seafood Izakaya called Toki, offering traditional dishes for 1000 yen just a few blocks from Hagakure.
Back on the first floor, it’s at the sake bar that that’s the beating heart of Hagakure. You will be respected if you want your privacy, but if you are open to interacting with the locals, this is the place to go. What’s extra special is that the bottles of sake, all sourced from the Saga or from from the Kyushu region. Bar staff also offer some snacks to pair with your sake, if you’re feeling a little peckish. Because there is no kitchen serving hot dishes, guests are welcome to bring their own food to the bar. After a few sakes, the good conversation might turn a little rowdy and who knows, maybe the 11pm closing time can be pushed back a little longer.
In the morning if you have time to kill before heading out on your tour of Saga, grab a spot on the tatami floor at the front of the guesthouse and enjoy one of the books on hand, you might end up learning a few tips from the samurai warrior code while you're there.
Stay at Hagakure in Saga
NAVITIME TRAVEL EDITOR