By Mandy Bartok
The narrow mountain road descended below the clouds at last and into a beech forest still clinging to the last sparse patches of fall foliage. The road plunged deep into a valley and then followed the course of a river upstream to a tiny island of civilization, the Hotel Nosegawa.
Hot Spring Hotel Nosegawa
Getting away from the rat race of daily life, reaching a point where meetings, deadlines and having to follow a schedule becomes a concept as distant as the moon can be an enormous challenge. Getting as far out into nature as possible and shut off all the computers and gadgets one has guarantees that disconnect but doesn't leave much in the way of comfort. The Hotel Nosegawa offers the perfect compromise. Located in a river valley in Nosegawa Village (population ~500), there is no guarantee that one's cellphones and digital devices will receive receive service. For guests, though, service is a guarantee. The comfortable wooden architecture of the Japanese style rooms provide a warm atmosphere and the plush futons allow for great sleep.
During the warmer months 4 bungalows on the mountain across the river from the hotel's man building, a campsite and car camping grounds allow one to get that little bit closer to nature if desired. All guests, regardless of where they stay, have the chance to partake in the delicious gourmet countryside menu available from Hotel Nosegawa's kitchen. The traditional kaiseki course meal that I ate was one of the most creative and beautifully presented meals I've had in Japan and the amago (Japanese mountain trout) sashimi that came with it was also some of the freshest I've ever eaten. The hot springs baths with river views after dinner were also the perfect way to wind down before bed and wake up and prepare to take on the day.
The Hotel Nosegawa offers guests courtesy pick up and drop off at Koyasan Station as there are no train lines anywhere near the hotel and the bus service in the area is extremely limited. Excursions from the hotel to the surrounding area are best accomplished by car. Fishing in the river and hiking on the Buddhist pilgrimage trail to the temples of Koyasan are also available.
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Seven years of exploring and playing in the wilds of Japan! Now I'm JapanTravel's Tourism and PR Ambassador in Nara Prefecture and the Regional Partner for Nara Prefecture. It's been my experience that there's little if any awareness of Nara and its importance outside of Japan. My goal: remedy that