Showing posts with label ryokan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ryokan. Show all posts

Monday, September 13, 2010

Kita Onsen - Nasu, Tochigi

Kita Onsen - map location must be one of the great hot springs in the Nasushiobara area. It has a beautiful location, good water, lots of history and style. You can stay at Kita onsen overnight or you can drop in for a day onsen. Its also one of the entry points to Nasu park.

I don't know the history of the Kita onsen building. But I know Kita onsen opened in 1696! The building is really old. Sometimes I think Japan defines rustic, dilapidated and the boundary between differently. But Kita isn't about faded carped and rusty metal, its definitely rustic and has heaps of style. If you go there for a day onsen the entrance area will be full of friendly walkers flopped around the firepit. Its a great place.

There are a number of pools in Kita onsen. First up there is a giant one out the front. Its not my favorite one due to the fact the arrival path goes right by it and a number of rather crappy additions (like the metal slide). Never the less I've sat there looking up at the mountains under moonlight with a group of friends and can say its very nice. The best pool is the roten up the back. Good views of the river and the strange concrete structures it flows over. The water here is good, flow is great.

You can stay at Kita overnight. I recommend it. The great old building made of heavy timber has a great atmosphere. The staff are very nice. Its the the lower cost, simpler end of the ryokan experience though. Dinner is simple and eaten in your room. Its good. Breakfast also simple and eaten in a dining hall. When we went we had it all to ourselves pretty much. Its some time since I went, but it cost 6 or 7,000 a head for 4 to a room for our party. If you're looking for shiny, elegant and expensive then Kita is probably not for you.

Local and Access:
Its a fairly short walk (5 or 10 minutes) from the carpark to the onsen. It can be a bit treacherous in winter. The location is fantastic at the bottom of the mountains, next to the river. If you are on foot, and you walk up the carpark and then keep walking up to the main road, across the road there is a track that will take you all the way up to Omaru.

More Photos

Monday, January 4, 2010

Okushiobara Kogen Hotel - Okushiobara, Tochigi

Map Location

We are very excited about this ryokan. We just popped in for a day onsen. We'll be back to stay the night some time pretty soon. This is a beautiful area in winter.

They have some little private onsen rooms. We booked one for 2500 yen for 40 minutes. We already knew the water was very good in this area (some of the best in Nasushiobara area). They have 3 private rooms that all look to be different in style. There are also larger baths that we did not visit for (I think) 800 yen a visit (separate men's and women's).

The guy at the front desk spoke pretty good English.

The winter rate for a ryokan stay is a bit over 10,000 yen per person for 2. It includes a Hunter Mountain ski pass.

More photos

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Shionoyu Onson - Shiobara, Tochigi

Map Location

We drove through here ages back while exploring. Onsen areas often look a bit run down, but this place really has a gone bust look to it. There are a few broken down onsens there slowly going to seed. We never thought to go there.

Anyway, by chance we ended up spending a midweek night at Myougaya Honkan (the remaining ryokan). Wow! What a great place. I don't think we really got the photos to do it justice.

There are two distinct parts to Myougaya Honkan. The main building is a modern building and unremarkable. Our rooms were here and they were also pretty standard ryokan/hotel rooms. Normal tatami rooms with futon beds. The view from the rooms down onto the river was very good though.

The rest of the complex is old wooden buildings. The dining area is here. Also there is a covered stairway down to the onsen area.

The food was first rate. Fairly simple kaiseki. The best were the beef cooked on a hotplate and some sashimi (aiyu I think).

The highlight was the riverside onsen. There are men's and women's indoor hot tubs. When we were there the outdoor onsen was mixed in the evening and women only in the morning (6AM - 8AM). There are different pools of different temperature. You are right by the river and can dip your feet in it if you like.

Midweek, peak season (they told us its more expensive when we went in November) it cost 9000 yen each for 4 to a room (I think 2 to a room is 11k each).

More Pictures

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Yumoto, Tochigi

Map Location

If you've been to Tochigi there is a good chance you've been to Nikko. You might not have been the lakes up above Nikko though. They are well worth a visit. First up is a quite large lake called Chuzenji. We'll blog about that some time. Its quite a nice place. But even further up in Okunikko (deep Nikko) there are some very nice areas. Today we'll write about Yumoto.

View from the lake walk

Yumoto is a small town by a lake. Its quiet and picturesque. There is some nice walking nearby too. Its a nice place for a slow paced weekend getaway. Its also has a small ski field. We've never been there is winter.

Yumoto Town

There is a nice walk around the lake. It takes about an hour. There is a waterfall at one end and you can also go down to the bottom of that.

Also a bit further south is the Okunikko park. There is lots of good walking in there. Its a kind of wetland that looks a bit look Oze.

We stayed at Itaya hotel. We had a traditional Japanese room with a nice meal for 16,000 yen a night per head. It was nice, but next time I think we'll try a different place.

Onsen at the Itaya

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Hinoki Ryokan - Kusatsu, Gumna

Map Location

This is a nice little Ryokan in Kusatsu, Gumna. Its within walking distance of all the nice places we found in this great town. The service and food are great.


Its very hard to find. The map location linked above is accurate. You can access it from the road to the north or the south, but the north is much easier, even though it doesn't look it on the map.

The ryokan entrance from the north

You can book the ryokan at their site. There is also a phone number at that site which you could try (they do speak a little English.)

Great Food!

I'm not normally a big fan of inside onsens, but this one is totally wood and actually quite nice (sorry about the poor photography.)

More Photos (including other Kusatsu pics).