By Cathy Cawood
Located in Kaga, Ishikawa Prefecture, Hotel Hokuriku Koganoi is a beautiful setting for those looking to unwind at Katayamazu Onsen (hot springs), one of four onsen towns that make up the Kaga Onsen area.
The hotel is situated by the shore of Lake Shibayama, making for fabulous views from the rooms and the onsen baths. In the summer, guests can enjoy a fireworks display over the lake (held from 9pm every Saturday in July, or every day in August).
With a minimalist, modest entranceway to the hotel, as you enter the hotel it opens up into a wonderfully spacious lobby, with welcoming, friendly staff. The hotel is decorated in a classic, Japanese style with a modern feel.
Hotel Hokuriku Koganoi essentially provides the true ryokan experience. Guests stay in tatami-matted rooms, can experience a traditional kaiseki multi-course dinner, and enjoy authentic hot spring onsen baths.
The public onsen baths are gender separated and provide gorgeous views of Lake Shibayama, and Mount Hakusan to the southeast, making for a great way to enjoy the sunrise or sunset. Onsen baths complete with such amazing, peaceful views make for a truly rewarding and unforgettable experience. Private onsen baths are available for an additional fee. There is also an open air swimming pool, open during the summer period, which resides directly adjacent to Lake Shibayama.
Hotel Hokuriku Koganoi comes with a wide range of facilities, including a lounge where you can get late night drinks, bookable karaoke facilities, a Japanese tea room and a souvenir shop where you will be able to grab something for your loved ones. A banquet hall exists to cater for larger groups as well, otherwise the main restaurant with its kaiseki dinner course (including the crab speciality dishes that can satisfy gourmet palates) is a culinary tour de force to be savoured, combining locally-sourced seafood and multiple Japanese dishes. In the morning, the breakfast buffet combines Japanese and Western options to suit the taste of individual guests.
Outside the hotel, a short 5 minute walk takes you to the Ukimido floating shrine on the lake. Out in the centre of the lake, a fountain shoots jets of water up to 70m every hour. A 7 minute walk north along the side of the lake brings you to the Nakaya Ukichiro Musuem of Snow and Ice (中谷宇吉郎雪の科学館) (Katayamazu being the hometown of the world-renowned scientist, Ukichiro).
Hotel Hokuriku Koganoi makes for a fabulous break away from the hustle and bustle of the urban cityscape, and Katayamazu is a great stop on any itinerary venturing north. There is no other way to spend a more luxurious, comfortable and quiet getaway in Ishikawa than to relax in this onsen resort area.
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