While traveling, it is always interesting to experience staying in accommodations unique to a destination. I personally had never previously stayed in a ryokan, a Japanese inn originating from the Edo period that usually consists of communal baths, tatami-matted floors and futons, so I was glad I finally got to experience one when staying at the Yumoto Kanko Hotel Saikyo, a hotel under the HMI Hotel Group.
Alighting at JR Nagato-Yumoto train station, it is only a short 10 minute walk to the hotel, a high-rise in the middle of lush, green mountains. There, the hotel staff, dressed in suits or traditional kimonos, stood outside greeting guests, their voices brimming with sincerity. Once inside, one is greeted by a spacious lobby, a souvenir shop that sells traditional products from Yamaguchi, and a beautiful view of the Japanese garden and pond outside.
The Yumoto Kanko Hotel Saikyo has three distinct sections to the hotel, each revealing a unique style of room that make up the 106 available. The main area of the hotel caters to the main room type: a tatami-matted floor, futons, a LCD television, and so on.
In another hotel section, the Nagato No Shou rooms can be found. This part of the hotel resembles samurai quarters, giving guests the authentic feel of living in medieval Japan. The interior of the rooms are incredibly impressive, and the distinct feel of living in samurai quarters will make for a good travel story to share.
Finally, the Saikyotei, which is one of the hotel's most luxurious annexes. As the door opens, you will be welcomed by the sight of the beautifully designed Japanese-style interior, with sliding doors separating the different room sections. Opening the main sliding door reveals a spacious tatami-matted living-room, with a television and comfortable couches sitting in the lounge area. What was most impressive, however, was the beautiful, private garden outside. This also houses a private hot bathtub. Mikimoto soaps and other bath necessities were all set up nicely for guests to have a bath outside, and I can say for a fact that any guest putting up at this space may spend most of their time in the tub, something of which I'm guilty as charged.
Besides the beautiful rooms, the Yumoto Kanko Hotel Saikyo provides some of the best facilities I've ever seen. The public onsen (hot spring bath) at the third level is available for guests who want to soak in the hot spring waters, and the foot onsen at the first floor provides guests an outlet for their weary feet. For those seeking a sumptuous Japanese meal, the hotel's main restaurant on the fourth floor serves up a variety of Japanese dinner courses, with cuisine that includes signature fresh Yamaguchi seafood, tempura and premium wagyu beef. For those wanting yakitori delights, the izakaya at the basement level will do well to fill those cravings. Entertainment-wise, the hotel does well to satisfy their guests. Karaoke bars located near the lobby are available for those wanting to sing their hearts out, and a gaming arcade sits besides a huge bowling alley at the other end of the first floor. The hotel's in-house disco offers all-you-can-drink liquor, for those feeling a tad frisky. If what you seek is Japanese theater, the basement level houses one where a modern kabuki-style dance troupe puts on an enthralling performance every night for an hour, a delightful spectacle of traditional kabuki garments and makeup that contrasts with the modern Japanese pop music playing in the background.
Yumoto Kanko Hotel Saikyo is also conveniently located to some of Yamaguchi's famous attractions. The nearby Yumoto Onsen (湯本温泉) is one of the oldest hot springs in Yamaguchi, dating back to some 570 years ago. Hagi town, a culturally rich city in Yamaguchi city, is but a mere 40 minute drive away, and visitors to Hagi can enjoy some of the scenic views of the Sea of Japan along the way. The Yumoto Kanko Hotel Saikyo is certainly a great ryokan experience, and one of the best hotels I've stayed in. You certainly can't beat a hotel that offers great facilities, hospitable staff, and picturesque mountain views of beautiful Yamaguchi.