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A touch of Japan in Harmony

Fri, Nov 9th, 2012
Posted in Harmony Features

Cindy and Doug Ofstedal, owners of Asahi Loft in Harmony, Minn. Photo by Barb Jeffers

Peace, tranquility, and relaxation. These are just three of the many words used to describe Asahi Loft by guests. Asahi Loft of Harmony, Minn. was opened in June of 2011 by Innkeepers Cindy and Doug Ofstedal. Once a guest arrives at Asahi Loft they are greeted by a place unlike any other in the area.

Cindy and Doug were both school teachers in Harmony from 1976 to 1986 with Cindy teaching Home Economics and Doug teaching sixth grade as well as being an assistant football coach. The couple then moved their family to Tokyo, Japan to teach in a far different culture.

The Ofstedal’s taught in Tokyo for 25 years, and through their travels in Japan collected a wide array of Japanese items. While in Japan the Ofstedals never forgot Harmony and the surrounding area. Cindy even wrote a column from Japan for the Harmony newspaper at the time, The Harmony News, called “Jottings from Japan.”

After returning to Harmony and building a home which was completed in 1999, Cindy stated that the area in the nearby building was just “empty space.” The couple thought about using the space as a rental property or a Bed and Breakfast but decided upon something different than what was already in the area.

With the atmosphere evoking a sense of the Japanese lifestyle from the shoji doors and screens to the hand carved ranma (transoms) the space of the Asahi Loft can surely give a guest a sense of Japanese living. While enjoying the ambiance of the Asahi Loft a guest will also have the conveniences of an air bath hot tub and a kitchen including coffee and a variety of teas to enjoy with the beautiful Japanese dishes on hand. Cindy makes the stay for the guests even more special by delivering fresh eggs and homemade bread as well as other details that visitors rave about.

A recent guest, Barb Gecas, who owns Heston’s Lodge on the Gunflint Trail (www.hestons.com), came to the Asahi Loft to work on a large project for her business. Barb stated, “The quiet and solitude I have found here has been inspiring. “I’ve been able to work hard, relax easily, and to enjoy some unique offerings in Harmony,” she said. Barb added that she will “definitely be back.” Cindy Ofstedal notes that people from near and far spend time at Asahi Loft including parents of Luther College students, couples on a Honeymoon or an Anniversary celebration, to a single person just looking to get away.

The Ofstedal’s are very community-oriented and Cindy believes that “any business in town brings finances to town,” and says, “We are fortunate to have the businesses we have.” The couple are involved in many charity sponsorships including Relay for Life and are big supporters of the Commonweal Theatre in Lanesboro, Minn. and the JEM Theatre in Harmony, Minn.

Asahi Loft is located at 255 5th Street S.E. in Harmony, Minn. and is open year round. The website is www.asahiloft.com and information can also be found on their Facebook page. The phone number to make reservations is 507-226-3735.


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11:03:53, Nov 9th 2012

asahiloft says:
Great article thanks Barb, the telephone number for booking is 507-226-3735


11:10:05, Nov 10th 2012

Jason Sethre, Publisher of Fillmore County Journal says:
I corrected the phone number in the article. Unfortunately, we already went to press, so it will have the original number mentioned in the article. I hope this doesn't cause any communication problems with those looking to get in touch with you.