Showing posts with label shiobara. Show all posts
Showing posts with label shiobara. Show all posts

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

Monday, January 7, 2008

Tanakaya Onsen - Shiobara, Tochigi

Map Location


This is a fantastic onsen. If you are in the Nasushiobara area for just a short time and you want to go to an onsen this is our pick so far.

Its not so hard to find. The hotel itself is on the way to Shiobara on highway 400. Its not very attractive from the road. There is not much room there due to the very steep valley and the hotel is jammed in behind the road. There is a small parking area. If the parking area is full there is an old disused section of highway 50 meters down the hill where you can park and walk (carefully) up to the hotel.


Go into the hotel and tell them you want an onsen. The price is 800 yen per person. Then you have to walk to the onsen. Across the road from the onsen just up the hill from the carpark there is a small path, leaving the road, going down the hill. The onsen itself is all the way at the bottom of the hill by the river. Its peaceful, quiet, by the river and has great views. There is a private women's onsen, a large public pool that I'm assuming is mixed though I have only ever seen men in it (except for when its very quiet and my wife sneaks in). Then there are two quiet little pools right by the river. The little pools are not so great in my opinion because they are always too hot and too cold though one of them is very "by the river".

This is easily the number one pick for natural beauty onsen.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Open Onsen, Shiobara, Tochigi

Map Location

In Shiobara there are a number of onsens that are not part of a hotel or onsen house. They are just sitting there in public space. Sometimes you will be walking along a track and you will find a hot spring sitting there.
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So far all that we have seen have a little money box where you can deposit a small amount of money for using them. Our favourite is at the Northern end of Shiobara across the river. Its in a beautiful location by the river. Its mixed and not very well protected from viewers.

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Saeka Onsen - Shiobara, Tochigi

Map Location

Saeka Onsen is a very nice onsen close to Nasushiobara. It has a beautiful mountain view from the outside pool. This onsen is recommended.

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The view from the bath.

Its open until 10PM so it would be possible to go there after work. I don't think you can stay the night there its just a day visit place.

Gensenkang Onsen - Shiobara, Tochigi

Map Location

A beautiful onsen by the river. There is a semi open hot bath overlooking the river. According to some people we met the water is very good here. Its slightly milky and a bit yellow and sulphurous. We felt great after a soak here.

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So far this is our favourite onsen. Very comfortable and relaxing.

You can stay the night at this onsen in the hotel or you for 800 yen you can visit. They open nice and early at 8AM. There are a number of other onsens in the area to try out too.
A few more photos

Gioia Mia Restaurant - Shiobara, Tochigi

Map Location

So far our experiences with Italian Restaurants in Japan have been nearly universally good. They are cheap and very good. Gioia Mia is no exception.
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We had great antipasto, spaghetti, prawns and dessert on the set menu at lunchtime for a price of 4500 yen for two. The service was friendly and quick.
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On the weekend its busy. I'd suggest you go early or late unless you like waiting. Also don't forget to bring your katakana cheat sheet. There is English or Italian text on the menu.

Its on highway 400 on the way to Shiobara. It opens at 11:00 AM and closes at 10:00PM. Its part of a chain of restaurants, normally thats a negative for me, but in this case, I'm happy there is more than one of them :-)

Monday, September 17, 2007

River Valley Walk - Shiobara, Tochigi

Map Location (very rough)

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So now we have a project to get to know Shiobara better and visit a lot of Onsen in the area. This is an excellent walk.


I can't locate this place accurately on Google Maps. Drive up the river on highway 400. Park in the carpark on the left before the first tunnel at the sign shown below. If you go through a tunnel you have just missed it. This corresponds with the downstream/right hand yellow dot on the above map.

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OK. Now its easy. Just walk down the hill, cross the suspension bridge and turn left and you will be on your way. (the path loops around to the right and you will be walking upstream.

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The walk is only 3.3 km., but its pretty steep and hard going. It starts off with a suspension bridge with great views. Then continues through beautiful rain forest. There are fantastic views of the river all the way along and a good waterfall at the end. Actually there is a nice picnic area at the end too.

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The downside of it is that once you complete the walk there are only two reasonable ways to get back to the start. One is to walk the return path which is a bit of a slog. Or you can walk back along the road. We chose the road and it was quite horrible but much faster. The traffic was especially intimidating on the narrow road. Next time I think we will walk the longer way. My admiration of Japanese elegance and love of beauty took a bit of a dent with the amount of rubbish that had been left by the side of the road too.

Afterwards we went up to our first main Shiobara onsen. We visited Green Village Onsen (Map Location). It was OK but nothing special. Then we walked along the river a bit and found some real outdoor onsens along the side of the track. You still have to pay to use them, but they are really very attractive. They are however mixed (only men there today).

More Shiobara pictures

Monday, September 10, 2007

Cloudy River Hotel - Tochigi

Map Location
After our great trip to Sandogoya we decided to try another overnight Onsen Hotel this weekend. So we headed up into Shiobara to climb our own local Mt. Fuji with plans to stay overnight.

Its a bit hard to say how good this hotel was since we don't have much to compare it with. We were recommended a local hotel by some people we met on the walk, but the price of 6-8000 yen a head made us think the meal might not be that good so we opted to go a bit more upmarket.

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We checked in at The Cloudy River Hotel (rough translation). The price of 16,000 yen a head was a bit high for me, but we had a special event to celebrate so we splashed out a bit. At first I was a bit disappointed, the hotel was clean and neat but it felt in decline. The onsen was nice but not sensational. The people were very nice. And when dinner arrived (and kept arriving) I revised my opinion. It was a really good dinner.

There were male and female onsens, plus two little private rooms about the right size for a couple. In one of the private rooms the water was too hot for us to get in. We preferred the private room but if the hotel was busy it might be hard to get into that room.

Our room was nice. Judging by what I have seen on TV it was fairly standard for a ryokan room.

Our dinner must have had at least 15 little dishes. They were all excellent, the highlight was a little beef barbeque. The sashimi and tempura was also very good. I enjoyed breakfast too (though I am not a big fan of Japanese breakfasts). Unfortunately, we failed to get pictures of dinner.

I think I'll reserve final judgement till we have been to more onsen hotels. But it was certainly and enjoyable weekend away. The food and service were particularly good.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Tochigi's very own Mt. Fuji

Map Location

Up in the Shiobara area there is a mountain called Mt. Fuji. Its nothing like the Mt. Fuji we all know. Its a nice walk, but frankly, I'd recommend Numappara or Nasu or our favorite Yaita walk (not written about yet) before Mt. Fuji. Though it might be very beautiful in autumn I think. We'll be back then to check.

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Its a fairly short walk which you can start from the nearby hot spring village or you can drive through the village and turn left just before the vegetable stands and park at the parking area. Or you can continue a bit further, turn right again and park at the much larger marshland parking area. I've tried to size the Map Location
so you can see the town and all the roads. The walk around the lake was not possible due to typhoon flooding, but that looks very good for autumn.

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The walk itself is a couple of hours if you walk right around the mountain. Its green and beautiful. No matter where you start you will walk by town and there is a short side trip to see the marshes. There are a couple of short steep bits but its an easy walk overall. You walk past an area where the volcanic gasses are coming up from the ground. It smells sulphurous.

I'll write about our stay at the hot spring hotel in a separate post.

More Photos

Shiobara Waterfall - Tochigi

Map Link

The drive from Nasushiobara up to Shiobara and beyond is very beautiful. There is much to explore up there and we have only scratched the surface. Expect quite a few posts about this area coming soon.



Unfortunately the typhoon hit the area pretty hard. I have no idea if the rice (much of which is lying down now) will recover. There is lots of water in the river so it made the drive up the valley even better than usual.


The waterfall is a short walk starting from the side of the road and following a beautiful little tributary to the main river. Its just a short walk, maybe half an hour. I bet its even better in the wet season (July).





Carpark Sign.

The carpark also marked on the Map Link is a bit up the hill from the falls. Here is the sign to look out for.

Further up the road are lots of well regarded hot spring hotels. Much further is Hinoemata and Oze (which we will be writing about soon).

More waterfall pictures