I planned a stay one time in Shuzen-ji, the historical hot spring resort in the middle on the Izu Peninsula, and found a suprisingly large choice of places to stay. Looking for somewhere inexpensive and central, but with a nice onsen bath to soak in, I chose Yado Mizuguchi, and was very glad that I did!
Situated immediately next to the river that runs through the town, it's easy to spot with its distinctive yellow ochre walls. There's an appealing traditional feeling as soon as you walk in, with smooth wooden floors, paper screens and bamboo furniture, and as you go inside you take off your shoes then pad around in slippers (or socks, if you're me).
Check-in was smooth, as the staff speak a little English, and let me leave my bag as I'd arrived early. (In my room I found a printed sheet giving fuller information in English.) There's an attractive, peaceful atmosphere around the guesthouse, with wooden floors and fittings, and flowers and art dotted around by way of decoration. There's a small shared lounge overlooking the river, where you can sit and relax, and take advantage of the free Wi_Fi.
My room was very cosy, in traditional Japanese style: soft tatami mats on the floor, understated decor in muted tones, but with a splash of colour on the hanging scrolls in the alcoves. Of course there were also modern conveniences, air conditioning and a small TV, and my window opened onto a shared balcony overlooking the river, which I'd have definitely sat out on if it hadn't been the middle of winter.
The baths aren't open 24 hours: they're available from 5:00pm to 10:45pm, then in the morning from 8:00am to 9:30am. The bathroom is also compact, and there's really only room for one person to sit in the bath, but I found it satisfyingly steamy, leaving me well cleaned and poached.
There's a curfew of 11:00pm, but that shouldn't be a difficulty, because the town is a sleepy one and everyone pretty much stays in. There was a menu of drinks in my room: soft drinks, beer or highballs are from ¥500-¥700, wine ¥1500 for a bottle, and locally produced orange or strawberry liqueurs ¥600 for a glass, ¥3000 for a bottle.
There are different sizes of room available: according to the website I use to make reservations, it looks as if you'll pay around ¥5700-¥6500 per person for a night, and you can include breakfast for an extra ¥1080 each.
It's right in the middle of the town, just over the river from Shuzen-ji temple. There are regular buses from Shuzen-ji station, or you can walk from there in about fifteen or twenty minutes. Check in is from 3:30pm to 5:00pm, check out until 10:00am.
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I came to Japan from Manchester, England in summer 2003, and have travelled a lot since then, around Japan and in Asia. When I`m not working I write satire at www.iothern.blogspot.com and perform stand-up comedy in and around Tokyo. Check my youtube channel `CunningPunster` for a taste.