Marukibune, a hot spring inn with soul-stirring Ainu cuisine and music

  • Marukibune, a hot spring inn with soul-stirring Ainu cuisine and music

    2017.03.20

    Experience

    by Shungo Hanaoka

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    2 (2)Marukibune, a hot spring inn by Lake Kussharo in Teshikaga of East Hokkaido, is a facility providing a full experience of Ainu culture. The inn comprises a restaurant and lodgings, and offers Ainu cuisine—which is rare even in Hokkaido—as well as “Moshiri Live”, a nightly performance of contemporary dance and music based on traditional Ainu folk songs.

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    The restaurant area is designed in the Ainu style. Although the menu includes ramen and curry, do try their Ainu cuisine. The prix fixe menu based on traditional Ainu dishes is only available here.

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    Roasted Hokkaido deer. Locally hunted deer.

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    Miso butter soup with vegetables and ground chicken. Each dish has a deep, delicious flavor.

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    Ruipe kokanee from Lake Kussharo. Ruipe, or Ruibe, is eating frozen fish raw. Other rare dishes made with local products are also on the menu.

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    If the timing is right, you can talk with Atuy, the innkeeper. The Ainu people cherish the bounties of nature, and revere things that are useful and beyond their strength as gods. They faithfully perform prayers and ceremonies to this day. Their cooking is seasoned only with natural ingredients.

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    In the live performance, the staff change into costumes and appear on stage. Listen to their beautiful voices sing modern arrangements of their songs.

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    This picture is a number inspired by the cranes’ dance.

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    At the end, the audience also dress in traditional clothes, and sing and dance with the performers.

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    After the performance, they take a group photo.

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    Lodgings are situated on the second floor of the building, and aside from Japanese and Western-style rooms, they also have Ainu rooms. The rooms have beautiful distinctive patterns and offer a scenic view of Lake Kussharo. This little-known inn and restaurant is a rare gem that offers a complete experience of Ainu culture.

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