By Anna van Dyk
If you intend on experiencing all that Japan has to offer, it is essential that you take in not only its big cities such as Tokyo and Osaka, but also its quaint, countryside towns such as Takahata. Situated only two hours away from the capital on the JR East line by Shinkansen, Takahata is the perfect side trip from Tokyo. If you plan on making a stop here, there is no better place to base yourself than at the Hotel Folkloro Takahata.
With its charming peach walls and floral accents, this hotel is instantly welcoming. It is conveniently situated near the train station, too, which means that there will be no struggling with heavy bags and expensive cabs in order to get to the warm embrace of your hotel room. A short two minute walk from your train, in fact, and you will find yourself being greeted by the hotel's wonderful staff. Upon arrival, I was relieved of my luggage and shown up to my gorgeous room which was simple, clean and comfortable. Each room has a mini bar, a flat screen TV and a large bathroom, and comes with wonderful additions such as complimentary loungewear, tea, hair brushes and bath products. If this is not enough to make you feel truly relaxed, the hotel is associated with its very own spa. Claim your free ticket from the front desk and enjoy a few hours soaking in this pleasant onsen.
During your stay, it would be a shame if you did not make use of the hotel's exceptional restaurant. The menu has many options available, and specialises in regional Yamagata cuisine. I was treated to incredibly tender, sizzling beef with fresh steamed veggies and a salty noodle soup and, for dessert, vanilla ice cream with a sweet bean paste. For breakfast, help yourself to tea, coffee, miso soup and rice, before tucking in to a smorgasbord of salmon, hash potatoes, salad and sweet eggs.
After such food, service and comfort, I was sorry to have to depart from this haven in the pretty country town. My stay at Hotel Folkloro was the first time throughout my travels in Japan that I felt close to being at home. Perhaps, when you visit, you won’t make the same mistake that I did – book yourself in for more than one night in order to truly appreciate what first class service in Japan really is.
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