BY Lisa Lindblad
March 7, 2012
One of the loveliest of the ryokans I saw in Japan last week was Beniya Mukayu in the spa town of Yamashiro, Ishikawa Prefecture. A Relais & Chateau property that has been in the Nakamichi family for four generations, Mukayu carries on a tradition of wellness through waters and balancing therapies that stretches back a thousand years. Onsen are thermal waters, and Yamashiro onsen are simple, alkaline hot spring waters that are soothing and curative. Along with communal and private baths, an extensive menu of spa therapies, and personally prepared herbal recipes, are yoga, meditation and delicious, spectacularly presented food gathered from the sea and the mountains. With only 17 rooms, eight of which are Japanese, Mukayu is also treasure trove of art objects both contemporary and traditional.
The famous Chinese philosopher, Zhuangzi, who lived 2,300 years ago, said “An empty room will be filled with light because of its emptiness,” words meaning that a mind entirely free of everything exists in a place of nothing, a place belonging to nowhere. The word, Mukayu, also means non-existence, non-purpose, the natural state as it is.
Richness in emptiness….
These are the concepts that guided Beniya Mukayu’s design. The resulting ryokan is a blissful creation.