Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Obon & Daimonji Japanese Festival 

Obon & Daimonji Japanese Festival

It is believed that each year during Obon, starting on August 13th and ends on August 15th, the ancestors’ spirits return to this world in order to visit their relatives who remain.  Obon begins with the welcome fire Mukaebi 迎え火 . You put out a lantern or a very small fire in front of your home to guide the spirits back.

Yearly japanese ritualInside homes, offerings of rice, green tea, fruit, sweets and ancestors’ favorite food are placed to offer the ancestors at the family’s Buddhist alter called Butsudan 仏壇.

During this time families visit the graves of the ancestors and perform ritual cleaning of the grave stones.

At the end of the 3 day ceremony there is a bonfire to send off the spirits back, Okuribi 送り火.

In Kyoto there is a large festival to send the spirits back called Daimonji大文字 Festival.  It’s formal name is Gozan no Okuribi五山の送り火 which means  “Five mountains send off fire”.  There are three giant characters, 大Dai, 妙法Myoho, another大Dai, and two shapes, one is a shape of boat 舟形Funagata, and the other is a shape of bird鳥居形Toriigata, made out of bonfires placed on mountain slopes.  The bonfires are large enough to be able to see from the distance.

At 8 PM on August 16th,2017, the bonfires will be lit starting with 大Dai, 妙Myo, 舟形Funagata, another大Dai, and 鳥居形Toriigata.  By 8:30 pm all of the bonfire characters are burning in the dark sky.

Gion Festival in July and this Daimonji大文字 Festival in August are very famous festivals in Kyoto, Japan.

In Tokushima in the island of Shikoku, there is a dance festival called Awa Odori 阿波踊りduring Obon.

This is the most famous dance festival during Obon date back 400 years, and draws over 1 million tourists every year.

Sadao and I are very proud of his Japanese heritage, and are always happy to share this culture with visitors to our Berkshires Shirakaba Japanese-American Guest House.



Japanese festival in Kyoto
String of festival fires in Kyoto
Obon dance 2017

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Monday, August 7, 2017

4th Place in USA Today’s “10Best Eco-Friendly Hotels 2017!”

4th Place in USA Today’s “10Best Eco-Friendly Hotels 2017!”

After a month of voting, the results are in! And with competing earth-friendly resorts such as the Ritz-Carlton in Charlotte, Virgin Hotels in Chicago, and the Mardarin Oriental in Vegas… our little 2-suite Berkshires Shirakaba placed 4th! Thank you to everyone who voted for us!

Quaint Japanese Style Bed and Breakfast in the Berkshires

4th place as Eco-Friendly Resort 2017It’s quite an honor, to say the least! If you recall, USA Today began way back in 1982, and launched their website in 1995… back in the days when the world wide web was in its infancy. Their travel site, 10Best.com is where we were nominated by a panel of travel experts. Would you believe that travel site averages 5 million visitors per month?

This is what makes it even more exciting! Though we were nominated by travel experts… voting was done by regular Joe’s like you an me! And we placed fourth! Sadao and I are just really happy to have had our quiet little place nominated, let alone actually place!

Environmentally Friendly Green Hotel in the Berkshires

It’s always fun to be recognized as a leader in something you believe and practice for the benefit of others, not for yourself. Being environmentally conscious here in the Berkshires is just a way of life for us, and by sharing this sustainability with our guests, we hope to show others how enjoyable it is to tread lightly on this planet.

So I just wanted to send out this quick update regarding this very exciting news. The next time you’re in our neck of the woods, stop by and say hi! We’re always happy to have you!

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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Nominated for USA Today’s 10Best Eco-Friendly Hotels

A BIG Thank You to all our guests, friends and family who voted for Berkshires Shirakaba in
USA Today’s 10Best Eco Friendly Hotels contest!

Top10 Best Eco-friendly hotels by USA Today

Image credit: USA Today

Sadao and I have been together for many years now, and one thing that has always been important to us has been to have the smallest negative impact on our environment in everything we do. We were eco-friendly before it became the norm!

So it was just a given that we first built our home back in 1999, we would do it with the help and guidance of the Energy Star Program.

  • We used triple pane Thermotech windows,
  • Geothermal Furnace/cooling by Water Furnace,
  • Solar panels on roof, radient floor heating,
  • Icynene insulation (we even donated all the cut offs to be made into giant bumpers that were used on local ski slopes to keep guests from hitting trees!)
  • We used all energy Star rated appliances and light fixtures.

Even today, we also use eco friendly products for cleaning and toiletries for guests and recycle/reuse everything we can.

Being environmentally aware has been our way of life for many years, and will continue to be. And we’re so happy to provide this environment for all our guest when they stay with us.

We have been so honored to be nominated as part of the 10Best… and are excited to see the results when they are posted on Friday!

I’ll keep you updated!

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Saturday, May 20, 2017

2 Great Places To Stay In The Berkshires | Wilco Solid Sound Festival 5 at MASS MoCA | June 23-25

2 Great Places To Stay In The Berkshires For The Wilco Solid Sound Festival 5 at MASS MoCA | June 23-25

For the 5th time, Wilco is having their family-friendly Solid Sound Festival at MASS Moca in the Berkshires, Massachusetts on June 23-25th, 2017. Mass MoCA is located at 1040 Mass MoCA Way in North Adams, MA 01247.  It could not be happening during a more exciting year for this contemporary museum!

In just 8 days, on May 28th, the final phase three – 130,000 square foot expansion, Building 6 will open.  Building 6 will double the size of the galleries at Mass MoCA.  Building 6 will be featuring long term residencies by such high profile artists such as James Turrell, Gunnar Schonbeck, Robert Rauschenberg, Jenny Holzer, Luis Bourgeois and Laurie Anderson. The expansion has created a walking path through the exhibitions in a circular route of 4 miles that does not cover any of the same ground twice.

Lodging Options For the Wilco Solid Sound Festival

1. Berkshires-Shirakaba in New Ashford, MA

 Shirakaba Guest House offers two peaceful choices for Solid Sound Festival Lodging

Stay with us, just a relaxing 25 minute drive from MASS MoCA  in one of two suites.  Let Sadao and Louise pamper you during your stay. Bring up to 6 friends and occupy both suites here with our private swimming pool,  sauna and 6-person hot tub out under the Berkshires stars.

2. Private Condo In Wyndham Bentley Brook

OR stay at a condo unit at Wyndham Bentley Brook at Jiminy Peak just 6 minutes farther from the venue in a 2 Bedroom 953 sq ft unit that sleeps up to 8 with a washer and dryer (handy for rainy concert days) an full kitchen. $550 total for both nights lodging.

For more information, visit here, or download the information sheet.

Click edit button to change this text.

For more information on either property, check our reservations page, or simply give us a call! We are more than happy to help you make June 23-25 one of the best weekend getaways for you and your friends and family! We look forward to seeing you!

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Looking for Last Minute Family Ski Vacation Packages in the Berkshires?

Looking for Last Minute Family Ski Vacation Packages in the Berkshires?

One of the best thing about The Berkshires is that we get to fully enjoy each and every season.

And winter is one of the best seasons to experience here.
family ski vacation packages berkshiresSo many people come for weekend winter getaways on family ski trips, you know it’s a great destination for anyone living in New York City, Boston, Hartford… everywhere seems to be under a 3 hour drive away!

But it’s the peacefulness that really strikes people when they visit.

I think the reason the Berkshires is one of the best family friendly ski resort areas is because we have a little something for everyone. And I’m not just talking about skiing at Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort… though that is a good one!

No, there are quiet times too.

Watching the snow fall.
Hearing it crunch beneath your feet.

Getting away from the honking and constant din of city life.

I think that is what draws people to look for cheap ski trips here… to have an excuse to get away from the noise. Visual noise, audible noise… all of it.

The Berkshires is a place to recharge your soul.

One thing we strive to do here at our Berkshires Bed & Breakfast, is to have a place of refuge after the family ski time.

Come back after a long day of shushing down the slopes and just unwind.

Sit in the hot tub.
Swim in the indoor pool.
Relax in the sauna.
Kick back and just veg out in front of the big screen tv.
Let us pamper you a little.

If you’re looking for a great romantic weekend getaway… we’re here to make sure it’s one of the best!

Check out our availability, and come visit us this weekend! Heck, stay for the week! At only 10 minutes away, Jiminy Peak has some of the best ski deals around!

We look forward to seeing you!

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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Mystical Soup | Sadao’s Japanese Dinner Event

Mystical Soup | Sadao’s Japanese Dinner Event

The allure of ancient Japanese mythic storiesYou know, there is just something so mysterious about some things in the Japanese culture! The beautiful, wispy music, the powerful mythic stories that personify human nature and desire. Even though Japan is on the other side of the earth from us, so often it feels as though it’s a whole different world.

This is one of my favorite dishes that Sadao makes for our dinner guests. It captures that flowing, billowing feel of ancient Japanese battles, of the stormy seas crashing down on the island, of tormented love between separated lovers.

Yes! You get ALL that from a bowl of soup!

Watch this video, and you’ll see what I mean:

See! I told you!

Click to learn more about our bed and breakfast, as well as The Berkshires.

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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Last Minute Weekend Getaway B&B Berkshires Opening!

We’ve been booked solid since late April, and we’ve had the Take No Ma – Bamboo Suite open up for this weekend, July 8-10!

If you have been thinking about getting away from it all, don’t forget, we are just a couple hours’ drive from most of the New England major cities, and located smack-dab in the center of The Berkshires, 10 mins south of Williamstown, MA and 10 mins north of Pittsfield, MA!

King size tempur pedic bedWith all the wonderful summer events here such as Tanglewood,  Williamstown Theatre Festival, amazing exhibits at The Clark Art Institute, and outdoor activities such as Mt Greylock (JK Rowlings’ home to her newest wizardry saga!), Ashuwillticook Rail Trail, and Ramblewild (just 2 minutes away from our Bed and Breakfast!) you must give this weekend a try!

Our Take No Ma – Bamboo Suite boasts a spacious, secluded 415sq ft of living space, with separate bedroom and tatami mat room, which can be used for romantic dining, contemplation and meditation, or bring along a second couple to enjoy the atmosphere as well!

To take advantage of this last minute opening, fill out our short Availability Reservation form and let us know what time you’ll be arriving! This special offer obviously expires this weekend, and our next weekend opening is not for several more weeks! So don’t let the summer go by without taking advantage of this unique opportunity. We look forward to hearing from you!


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