Kanazawa, Japan

Jun 2015

Google X is Google’s secret lab, on the edge of Google campus, Mountain View, California. ‘Its aim is finding new solutions to big global problems’. To find such solutions, instead of searching for results, they seek an idea’s failure. ‘It is not the final goal, but the means to find it’, says Astro Teller, Google X’s head. The means to reach Wataya could be a mistake – choosing a traditional inn as a dwelling in Kanazawa, two hours away from the city, after the new fast bullet train Tokyo-Kanazawa (the Hokuriku-Shinkansen) took us to the Ishikawa prefecture in little more than two hours. The most authentic Japanese rural adventure we ever had arose from this ‘mistake’. To get to Wataya one must catch the single-track train to Tsurugi, a long car open on the low countryside – a journey itself. Wataya is Satoko, pure delicacy, the vestal of the big wooden house founded in 1865, in the wonderful Edo period. Satoko knows the art of hospitality, of rituals, of the most ancient culinary tradition. Since decades, Wataya serves local ‘edible wild plants and fresh water cuisine’ at the foot of Mt Hakusan. This young woman’s cocoon, elegant and loving, wrapped in her rustling clothes with ever-different yet ever-identical patterns, is like a sweet timbre we will keep in our heart for long. This is a Japanese old style hearth.


Words Paola Corini

Photos Luca De Santis

Translation Alessia Andriolo

Thanks to Satoko Wada, Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) and YADO


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