By Kenji Chida
Kaike Onsen is located along the Sea of Japan, very close to the border between Tottori and Shimane Prefectures. Toukou-en is one of 30 accommodation choices in the area. This ryokan-hotel is a wonderful choice for travelers to the area. It is set back from the beach, but some rooms have ocean views. Many others look out into a lovely central garden.
The ryokan-hotel has a total of 66 rooms, most of which are Japanese-style. There are two Western-style twins and five rooms that are a mix of Japanese & Western. All have a Western-style toilet and free WiFi; some are wheelchair accessible. Toukou-en is very reasonable with rooms starting around 9000 yen per night, per person, with two meals included.
Dinner is a choice of buffet or kaiseki course, both focusing on regional and seasonal specialties, including fish from three local ports. From November to March, famous Matsuba crab is the specialty of the house. Some of the other ingredients are steamed using Kaike's alkaline-based hot spring, which is said to be good for your health. With prior notification, a special menu can be prepared for travelers with allergies and other food restrictions.
With regards to onsen, Toukou-en does not disappoint. The ryokan-hotel has two large communal baths, two impressive open-air baths, and two baths that can be rented for private use. The hot spring water is said to help those with certain skin diseases, rheumatism, neuralgia, and more.
There are a variety of on-site recreation choices for guests of Toukou-en. There is a small 'movie screening room', a collection of ping pong tables, an outdated workout area, and a Japanese manga (comic book) library. Just outside is a lovely beachside walking trail and the beach itself, which has been designated one of Japan's 88 summer bathing beaches.
Toukou-en has free parking for 80 cars. It is about 15 minutes by taxi from JR Yonago Station, or about 25 minutes by local bus.
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