Legendary mountaineer Tabei's lodge to get new lease on life(「沼尻高原ロッジ」故田部井さんの宿新たに)

The Numajiri Kogen Lodge in which preparations for its reopening are underway.(リニューアルオープンに向けて準備が進む沼尻高原ロッジ)

 A lodging facility in Inawashiro, Fukushima Prefecture, once owned by the late Junko Tabei, the first woman to reach the summit of Mt. Everest, will reopen on Nov. 11, breathing new life into a place of relaxation filled with her desire to let many people enjoy nature.
 The Numajiri Kogen Lodge, which is surrounded by Mt. Adatara, Mt. Bandai and Mt. Azuma, opened its doors in 1992. After Tabei, a native of Miharu in the prefecture, died in 2016, the lodge was closed. However, Ookawaso, an Aizu-Ashinomaki hot spring hotel in Aizu Wakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, took over the lodge from the Tabei family.


 Koji Watanabe, the 41-year-old president of Ookawaso and an admirer of Tabei, started renovation work in July to reopen the lodge. He aimed to create a lodging facility with warmth by using more wooden materials while trying to retain the original atmosphere with a fireplace.
 The two-story lodge with a basement will have 11 Western-style rooms and one Japanese-style room. Some of the guest rooms will have shower rooms to cater to foreign travelers.
 On a mezzanine level, there will be a lounge serving alcohol and other drinks. The lodge plans to offer healthy menus using food produced in the Aizu region.
 The interior of the lodge will be adorned with photographs of Tabei, her climbing boots, pickels and skis, among other items of hers, as well as handicrafts that she brought back from all over the world. The lodge will also offer a day-use bath service.


 Watanabe, whose hobby is mountain climbing, said, "I want people to get familiar with mountains, not necessarily through serious mountain climbing, but from activities like casual trekking while healing the mind and body."
 Misako Oho, a 59-year-old Tokyo native who serves as the lodge's manager, is making preparations for the lodge's opening. "We want people to know about the nature and attractiveness of the Nakanosawa and Numajiri area that Ms. Tabei loved," she said.


 The lodge is also known for once hosting Edmund Hillary, a New Zealand mountaineer who became the first person to reach the summit of Mt. Everest.
 "I'm looking forward to seeing how the lodge has changed," Tabei's 78-year-old husband, Masanobu, said. "I hope it will serve as a lodging facility where people can have a good time for many years to come."

( Translated by The Japan News )


 【 2019年10月21日付・福島民友新聞掲載 】