I stayed in Hachibei for 5 nights just a little over a year ago and had a lovely experience. The owners were so friendly and welcoming. The inn is actually quite big, lots of rooms and the women had 2 lots of onsens (Japanese style shared baths). The onsen experience was a bit daunting at first but I got used to it after a while (you scrub clean first before going into a warm pool). It is so relaxing after a day of 100 Yen store shopping!! There is even an onsen that is outside - a wonderful experience sitting in a bath of warm warm water under the night sky contrasted with the crisp autumn air.
The inn is a bit further out from town, there is a bus but I hadn't quite figured it out, so I walked everywhere. Just as well, because I ate EVERYTHING served to me during breakfast and dinner. At the inn, there is a choice of Japanese style or Western style breakfast (in case you can't take miso and rice for breakfast). I opted for the Japanese style one and it was ABSOLUTELY scrumptious! You even get to cook your own bacon and egg over a hot plate on a bunsen burner looking thing. Dinner was even better, the food was plentiful - soup (sometimes miso, another time corn chowder, NOT out of a can), rice, salad, tempura or crumbed dish, pickled vegies, all arranged beautifully and they even make their own miso paste, so YUM. The meals are eaten in a communal dining room.
You sleep on tatami mats in the rooms with bean (or maybe rice) filled pillows. I thought my back would be aching but surprisingly I was fine.
Overall I had a wonderful experience at Hachibei Inn and in Takayama overall. The friendly owners (whole family lives there, from grandma to grandkids) and home cooked meals made all the difference. Takayama is a gorgeous little historical town, with cobbled streets and traditional sake brewery houses. I would thoroughly recommend it.
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