On my trip to Hachijojima, the subtropical island nearly 300 kilometers south of Tokyo, I learned that my return trip by ferry was canceled. The first place that I found in my search for an additional night's stay was a lucky find in a secluded spot, just right for chilling out after an exciting visit on the island. Gingasou, Galaxy Guest House, is a world in itself, an easily accessible spot yet deeply secluded on the flank of Hachijo-Fuji, the tallest mountain in the Izu Island chain. On my way up the road to the guest house, I got a little lost. A phone call to my kind host revealed the secret location of this cozy and quiet house.
Galaxy Guest house, located not far off a main road, is a beautifully crafted bessou, or holiday villa, that has been re-purposed as guest accommodation. The house, at the top of an old agricultural access road, is full of handcrafted architectural details, salvaged vintage shoji and fusuma doors, and has a vaulted two story living room. The spacious living room, open to visitors, overlooks a deck and garden, and has views of the Pacific Ocean.
Ginga, meaning The Milky Way, is the theme of the house. The guest rooms are named after the planets and stars, and you'll notice linens and décor that reflect a space theme. And you're certainly in a different space - a slow, out of this world, peaceful place for relaxing. My room was the attic room with a thick futon bed. Other guest rooms have western style beds.
The host, Keiko-san, is an artist who works in a contemporary style that incorporates Japanese elements. You'll spot her works all over the house. The shared bath, too, with a big bath tub and shower space, is also one of her designs in stone, tile, and glass accents.
Galaxy Guest House welcomes Japanese and non-Japanese visitors alike. Visitors who are not fluent in Japanese can rest at ease as Keiko-san can guide guests in English, as can her son, who is bilingual in Japanese and English.
Call the host ahead for directions to the house, as Google Maps coverage is limited when it comes to Hachijojima geography.
For nominal fees, the guest house provides bicycle rental and laundry.