By Bonson Lam
Many people who visit Osaka miss the essence and character of this vibrant place, something that can only be found through a genuine connection with someone whose history is as rich and multi-layered as this city. What better way to experience the spirit of Osaka than by staying at Osaka Home Share and Yoga Room?
Your host Misato is from Osaka, and her guests are like-minded travelers from Japan and around the world. You will feel the hospitality and welcome of Osaka from the moment you step into this warm and friendly home. Misato has stayed at hostels in about 30 different countries, including New Zealand, Australia, Italy and Canada, and has worked the front desk at a hotel in Hawaii, so she deeply understands the needs of her guests. Her fond memories of the warm welcomes she received overseas have been instrumental in creating an intimate space where guests of different backgrounds and ages can connect with one another in an open setting. “The share house makes me feel relaxed and happy from the sense of belonging, just like a family house,” says a Chinese woman from the United States who just recently arrived at Osaka Home Share.
Even the design of the home engenders friendship, with the common living room and kitchen in the center, and the three guest rooms surrounding the common areas. To ensure the feeling of comfort, there is a limit of three guests or couples staying here at any one time. It is also possible for a small group to reserve the entire home, and so this may be an ideal place for a family relocating to Osaka and wishing to have a home base while they find their feet.
Osaka Home Share is an authentic Japanese home with all the conveniences you need, so you do not have to miss out on anything just because you are away from home (house-cleaning parent excepted). Wonderful welcomes, a communal open kitchen filled with delightful Japanese ceramics, plus all the modern conveniences like a large screen TV, piano, immaculately clean bathroom with a deep soaking bath and shower, laundry machine, drying space and free Wi-Fi.
Additionally, feel free to read the Japanese and English newspapers and books at your leisure. There are individual reading lights and curtains in each of the rooms should you prefer to snug up in bed with your favorite journal or iPod. Unlike dormitories, each guest has their own room, so you can be assured of privacy, space and a good night’s sleep. While the room next to the entrance may experience some road noise, I had no difficulties sleeping the last time I was there.
In a traditional Japanese home, the word Oku, meaning deep inside, refers to the space on the far end of the house . These rooms at the end of a Japanese home often has a view of the garden or the scenery outside. While the balcony takes the place of the Engawa, or Veranda at Osaka Home share, here you can have your private place for meditation. Maybe you can imagine what Tokugawa Ieyasu would have felt as he looked out of his castle from a similar height in the 17th Century over the terrain of Osaka. The connection to the changes in cityscape and to nature’s changes encourages us to reflect on our place within it. One of Misato’s father’s pastimes was to gaze out of the balcony in the morning light, as the city awoke from its slumber and the sun transformed the night sky into a pinkish hue.
In Japan, homes are decorated in a minimalist style, and Osaka Home share is no exception. It gives a sense of calm, stillness, something you slow down to and get a taste of in the meditative practice of yoga, for which Misato is an experienced practitioner.
Osaka Homeshare is located west of Umeda near Universal Studios Japan (USJ). So no matter where you come from, you may find your home away from home here.
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