Kiyosato Seisenryo – a popular place to stay in Yatsugatake Mountains – is more than just a hotel. It was conceived in 1938 by an American missionary and educator Dr Paul Rusch as a camp for Japanese chapter of Brotherhood of Saint Andrew – a Christian youth organization he was helping to promote – and then after many twists and turns (aka World War II) grew into a rural community called Kiyosato Educational Experiment Project. At one point there was a farm, a nursery, a vocational school and a clinic there.
Today Seisenryo retains its large territory with pastures, cottages, shops, museums, and places of worship. It functions as an independent retreat and conference center, but its Christian roots can still be felt – in the architecture of the buildings, for instance. Main building with its St Andrew’s cross is very recognizable. They also have a cute little church where one element of Japanese design – tatami floor – has snuck into otherwise perfectly western structure.
Overall I’m happy with my stay here. I think it’s worth stopping by even if you’re not staying in the hotel – for the views and for the ice cream 🙂