By Roger Smith
¥800 may sound like a lot of money for a visit to the onsen. Most onsens are around ¥350 to ¥450, what sets Hotel Kanyo Minamisanriku apart from other onsens?
Two words: The View.
The onsen at Hotel Kanyo has an epic view. It is most popular at sunrise and sunset and with those times you can expect to enjoy the view with many other people. At sunrise you can see the sun breech the ocean underneath the clouds, spilling golden light all over the ultra green forests that surround the bay.
However, there isn't a time of day when the view is bad. Hotel Kanyo sits on top of a sea bluff in Shizugawa Bay that looks almost directly due East out into the ocean. The main pools for the men's and women's jut out above the bay but are shielded from the rest of the hotel by large bamboo screens. While relaxing neck deep in the hot spring, it appears to float high above the ocean below. Even in a rain storm Hotel Kanyo's onsen is a "zen" experience. With no roof covering half the outdoor pool you can sit outside and soak up the serenity of a summer rainstorm above the neck and let the hot springs give you repose from the neck down.
All of the facilities inside the onsen are luxurious and well kept, like the rest of Hotel Kanyo. The shower and locker room area is very clean and there are towels available to rent if you forget yours. Just outside the onsen entrance is a nice lounge area where you can get fresh draft beer and other cold drinks and free ice water to help you get your body temperature back under control.
Getting to Hotel Kanyo in Minamisanriku is really the only difficulty. Minamisanriku is a very rural area of Japan and after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami much of the Shizugawa area's infrastructure was washed away or destroyed. There is no train service to Shizugawa but there are buses to the local shopping district where you can likely catch a taxi to the hotel. However, if you are planning on visiting the beautiful Minamisanriku area, car rental is the best option.
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Andrew is the Co-owner and Co-Editor in Chief of easydistance.com which specializes in adventure stories, ESL teaching, cooking and arguing with his wife about syntax. “An easy distance, do you call it? It is nearly ﬁfty miles.” “And what is ﬁfty miles of good road? Little more than half a day’s journey. Yes, I call it a very easy distance.” – Jane Austen Andrew Kehoe is originally from Sacramento, CA. He has a degree in Government from California State University Sacramento, is TESOL certified and is currently teaching English at two different junior high schools in Japan. Andrew spent 8 years working in marketing after college for a large Fortune 500 company. Andrew is an avid sports fan, video game nerd, tech wiz (sort of), fashionista, indie movie lover, loves eating Shenandoah’s cooking, reader of Cormac McCarthy, barely functioning musician and poet. http://easydistance.com/