While in my previous installment I introduced a small hot spring place called Dai Onsen, this time I will talk about my favorite hotel there.
It is a Japanese style hotel, a so-called Ryokan, and you could call their style omakase, which basically means "We (the guests) leave it to you (the hotel/ryokan) since you're the expert". For example, for dinner you can choose from a menu and it is brought to your room. However, don't imagine it being like a classic room service, they literally create your dinner table in your room, and most people eat more or less at the same time when the meals are ready. If you are staying in one of the suites, you can cook your own food on a coal barbecue called irori, and again you choose from their daily menu. Or, if you choose one of the Japanese style rooms, someone will come in between 9 and 10 p.m. to set the futons for you. They pay special attention to detail, fresh flowers every day, seasonal food and the like, it is truly great tasting and a work of art to look at.
The setting of the hotel is truly amazing, there is a creek running between the two sections of the hotel, providing a nice and soothing sound. If you choose to go to the open air bath, it is very relaxing and I especially like it in winter.
They offer 3 types of rooms, a semi-Western style room with an open-air hot-spring bath, the semi-Western style room with various interior designs and the reasonable Japanese style room. They also offer massage, hot stone therapy, reflexology and aroma therapy, if you want some extra pampering on top of the hot springs. The whole setting is designed to be extremely relaxing, the sound of the creek, the proximity to the forest and the secluded area setting.
The prices range is between ¥7,500 yen to ¥35,000, or in US $75 to $350. Their website offers some basic information in English only, but it has lots of great pictures that give you an idea of the atmosphere.
To get there by car, take the Hanamaki exit, then Route 37 towards Hanamaki onsen. Just before Hanamaki onsen turn left and follow the road, it's a loop and you can't miss it. By train, get off at Hanamaki station and take a taxi or a bus from there. If you're coming by plane you can take a taxi from the airport, it's about 20 minutes. Enjoy!
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I grew up in Quebec, Canada and studied electronics in college, never worked in that field. Moved to Vancouver in the early 80's where I found my real passion, cooking. I ran my own restaurant for 14 years after that worked as a financial advisor for 4 years, I really enjoyed that too but we had to move to Japan for family reasons. After moving to Japan I started teaching English and French. I enjoy teaching too but most of all I enjoy challenges, moving here was challenging but really interesting. Another challenge that I had been thinking about for about 20 years was renovating a house, so for the last 2 years that is what I have been doing. I bought a 25 year old house and am bringing it to modern standards in terms of comfort and earthquake strength. In my time off I like cycling, hiking and snowboarding in winter. Of course I still enjoy cooking. Hope you like my articles.