[Japan: Minami Uonuma] Exploring Mountain Vegetables at Satoyama Jujo 里山十帖

A most relaxing stay at Satoyama Jujo's The House Izumi - a fully renovated 150-year-old village house in Niigata! The house is thoughtfully designed and carefully preserved including a small traditional Japanese door that requires everyone to bow before entering. My favorite feature is the private outdoor onsen with spectacular views of the majestic mountains nearby! Equipped with two bedrooms and tall vaulted ceilings, it’s spacious and suitable for friends, families and couples. We had the whole house to ourselves and had the most relaxing time here - just enjoying the sounds of nature while gazing at the breathtaking landscape around us.

The main reason for our visit to Satoyama Jujo was to eat at their restaurant Sanaburi which was awarded with a Michelin Star in the 2020 Special Niigata Edition! More on our meal later in this post.

When it was time for dinner, we were picked up in a car and driven to the main property of Satoyama Jujo where Sanaburi is located. Helmed by Chef Keiko Kuwakino, the restaurant showcases seasonal mountain vegetables using traditional methods of fermentation and preservation. With an emphasis on natural flavors and local ingredients including sake and wine, guests can experience all the flavors that the region has to offer. While the menu is not vegetarian at all, the vegetables are truly the main stars of the meal here. We were lucky to visit in spring where fresh mountain vegetables are available for a limited amount of time only - the chef goes foraging daily and handpicks the ingredients. I’m usually not a vegetables person, but I was very impressed by the variety of vegetables in the meal along with the preparations - it’s definitely a unique experience and a destination restaurant worth visiting while you’re in Japan.
Chef Keiko Kuwakino showing us her bounty of mountain vegetables

J and I each chose a different pairing - mine was wine and his was sake - and all of the offerings were from Niigata.

[Sesami Tofu]
Horsetail / Walnut

[Mountain and Sea]

Urui / Katakuri / Sorrel / Shaku / Hijiki / Ginbaso

[Local Greens]

[Spring Field]
Beans / Fennel / Thinned Carrots / Onion

[Kogomi, Spring Onion, Akebil]
Smoked Trout

[Sea Water Fresh Water]
Sea Bream / Gyoja Garlic

Local Pork

[Delicacy Rice]
Minamiuonuma City's Rice Hermit, Kiyosan's Koshihikari, Misosoup, Homemade Pickles


The next morning, breakfast was served in the kitchen at The House Izumi with freshly cooked rice and plenty of side dishes to savor. We ate inside but you can also choose to eat outside with beautiful views of the area!

What a fantastic way to end our stay at Satoyama Jujo! I definitely want to revisit in the winter time so I can enjoy the magical snowy views of Niigata!

Satoyama Jujo
1209-6 Osawa, Minamiuonuma, Niigata 949-6361, Japan
Tel: +81 570-001-810