3/17/21

Konyoku - Mixed Gender Onsen in Japan

Konyoku Mixed Onsen in Japan


What is a Konyoku?

Konyoku is a mixed onsen in Japan. Like other onsens, this is a nude onsen but here, both men and women bathe in the same bath. This is an old tradition but it has been falling in recent times since it is considere rude and vulgar. Outlawed in Tokyo and other urban centers, konyoku onsen can still be found in most prefectures, often in remote locations. 

They’re on the wane — estimates say there are a few hundred left — and most of them seem to cluster in Tohoku, among which Nyuto Onsen in Akita is perhaps the most notable. Another one is Aomori’s Sukayu Onsen with its famed Senninburo (1000-person bath). When I recently visited Aomori, I decided to finally take the plunge myself.

Beppu Onsen In Oita Prefecture Building

History of Konyoku mixed onsen

Konyoku onsen type is a very old Japanese tradition that is dating back as long as the 9th century. The number of mixed-gender onsen had started to decrease during the Edo period (1603-1868) due to two factors. First is inappropriate behavior coming from men who would stare or even worse harass women. Second is the influence from abroad. During the end of the Edo period, Japan opened its borders to the west. Newly arrived foreigners were shocked by the custom of men and women bathing together in the onsen. 

After the end of the Edo period, Japan wanted to join the club of the “western developed countries” so foreign influence became even more dominant and konyoku took another hit. Since then, the traditional concept of konyoku has evolved to meet foreign perceptions. For instance, the ancient konyoku strictly forbade men and women bathing to wear a towel or swimsuit to protect their modesty. Now, women are provided towels to cover their bodies while men bathe fully undressed.

Tsurunoyu Onsen Akita Prefecture Winter View With Snow


Visiting Konyoku for the first time

I wouldn't prescribe attempting to go to one of these in the event that you object to being naked around the other gender. In the West we have rules about washing along with the other gender – you wear a swimming outfit. Here in Japan this standard is acquiring broad acknowledgment, and I'm here to tell the prigs that I will battle you until the apocalypse. 

Initially, you need to check whether you should wear a bathing suit. And furthermore, you need to check in the event that you should put on a towel around your midsection prior to going into Konyoku (Mixed Gender Bathing). Some konyoku will allow you to wear a towel, however not all. Fundamentally, placing a towel into natural aquifer isn't useful for sterilization, so there are numerous Konyoku (Mixed Gender Bathing) saying not to put and bring a towel. 

Each natural aquifer has each way and rules, so already, if it's not too much trouble, check the note about utilizing Konyoku (Mixed Gender Bathing). Then, in the wake of concluding the subtleties at registration, it's headed toward the konyoku hotspring! You will get bare and, in the wake of getting the 'wrap towel' around yourself, continued to the outdoors shower, also called rotenburo. So exactly what were her underlying feelings? Besides, exactly what sort of individuals really regular such a spot? 

While washing in the konyoku blended onsen, she was frightened by one specific scene; albeit Japanese bathers conveyed their towels with them, the encompassing couples from abroad were totally stripped, and appeared to be not at all piece embarrassed to uncovered all. It is regularly imagined that guests to Japan are a little reluctant about entering totally starkers into a particularly open spot, and in this vain, briefly, Tomoe wound up dismissing the genuine outsider. 

Onsen Hot Spring In Japan Nishimuraya

Fall of Konyoku in Japan 

At the point when Japan facilitated their unfamiliar limitations during the nineteenth century, some were dismayed at what they saw. Blended sexual orientation onsens were classified as "indecent" or "indiscriminate". Another pervasive issue which drove these blended showers bankrupt lies in the terrible habits among bathers. They are known as wani, or crocodiles. Wani alludes to a gathering of men or some of the time even ladies, who prowl in the water for quite a long time, hanging tight for a brief look at exposed skin. 

These unwanted irritations would gaze as they go after different bathers. From that point forward the number has been falling a great deal. There are no authority measurements on the quantity of blended showers in Japan. At the point when you check all such onsen 23 years prior, the all out came to more than 1,200. By 2013, that figure had tumbled to under 700. I had an inclination that they weren't as numerous konyoku as in the past, yet when I really took a gander at the figures, there had been an enormous drop.

3/11/21

Kaga Hakusan Area in Ishikawa Prefecture

Spring In Kaga

Kaga Hakusan area is a part of the Hokuriku region in the south-western Ishikawa Prefecture. Ishikawa prefecture is an interesting part of Japan that many foreign tourists have not even heard of. That is unfortunate since this area holds immense natural beauty, rich history, and culture, and is famous across all of Japan for its first-class hot springs. My wish is to show you all the things that make this part so fascinating to me and to hopefully convince you to visit it during your trip across Japan. I have already written about Kaga/Hakusan area on my website so check that out as well!


Tatsunokuchi Onsen Open Air Natural Hot Spring Bath

Kaga Onsen

One of the best things about this area are its many renowned hot springs. The most famous one is the Kaga Onsen-kyo hot spring resort, which includes Yamashiro, Yamanaka, Katayamazu, and Awazu. It is surrounded by picturesque views of the coast and the majestic Mt. Haku, also known as Hakusan. 

Yamanaka Onsen

Yamanaka Onsen is the hot spring town nestled in the mountains, famous for its traditional culture of Yamanaka lacquerware. Daishoji River runs through the beautiful green Kakusenkei valley where many Japanese-style hotels with beautiful views of the river can be found. Yamanaka Onsen's hot spring waters are said to ease muscle and joint pain, speed up recovery from disease and improve one's health in general. If you are there, check out the Kikunoyu, Yamanaka's public bathhouse. 

Yamashiro Onsen

The healthy spring water of this town was discovered by the monk Gyoki during his pilgrimage to nearby Mount Hakusan over 1300 years ago. The gushing water is called "water for longevity." and can relieve muscle and joint pain as well as skin disease and digestion problems. I suggest you check out the public bathhouses in the center of town. They are called Soyu (public bath) and Ko-Soyu (old public bath). Ko-Soyu is interesting because it was built in the Meiji Period style.

Katayamazu Onsen

Katayamazu Onsen is a hot spring town along the shores of the Shibayamagata Lagoon which is famous for the great views its hot springs offer. This scenic view of the peaks of the Hakusan mountain range over Lake Shibayamagata is absolutely breathtaking. Another interesting thing about it is the fact that the lake changes color seven times a day! There are various other scenic points such as the 70-meter-high fountain and Ukimido, a hall that is lit up in the evening.

Awazu Onsen

The historical Awazu onsen area has been a hot springs resort since it opened 1,300 years ago and many inns are scattered about in the quiet mountains. Each inn has its own spring and so the water is fresh and thus famous for "beautifying hot water" that makes the skin soft. The town is home to Hoshi Ryokan. This famous ryokan was founded in 718 and is the world's oldest continuously running hotel.
 

Rojo Koen Park At Komatsu Ishikawa Prefecture

There are quite a lot of places in the Kaga/Hakusan area to visit, and I already covered a lot of them in detail in my website post. However, there are many more interesting facts that you might want to know about these attractions. The first of these is the Komatsu Hikiyama Koryukan Miyossa. This facility was opened in May of 2013. Hikiyama is a type of traditional festival float that skilled craftsman from Komatsu City created. During the “Otabi Matsuri” festival Kabuki (Japanese classical dance-drama) is performed inside of the Hikiyama. This unique festival has been held every May for the past 250 years. At Miyossa, two of the Hikiyama are displayed and you can experience the exquisite beauty of the Hikiyama floats yourself. Various other activities are held as well, such as traditional Japanese music, dressing in Kabuki make-up and nails, traditional Japanese dance, and many other cultural activities. As you can see, this place is a must-visit for any true fan of Japanese culture. If you are more interested in technology, I have a perfect place for you as well! The Science Hills Komatsu is a science museum in Komatsu City, a famous manufacturing town. One of the highlights is an interactive exhibit called Wonderland. This exhibit links local industries with science education and helps everyone learn about this process. Another highlight is the programs shown at the dome-shaped 3D theater called 3D Studio, which is an innovative stereoscopic vision system. It is one of the largest 3D theaters in Japan. Many other events and interactive workshops take place there all year round so you won't miss out no matter when you come. A unique museum that you won't find in many places is the Nakaya Ukichiro Museum of Snow and Ice. This museum introduces the studies of the world-renown snow expert, Dr. Nakaya Ukichiro, from Katayamazu. Here you can learn details about snow and ice from the displays of crystals and experiments with diamond dust. Truly fascinating stuff!


Kaga Specialty Local Ingredients

Any visit to Japan would not be complete without good local food! And I am happy to tell you that you won't be disappointed with what Ishikawa Prefecture has to offer. Most people agree that the most famous and unique dish in this area is the snow crab. The snow crabs caught in the nearby sea have a unique sweet flavor. Especially the female crab, called Kobako-gani, the eggs and the crab butter are especially delicious. Another good one is the Fugunoko (globefish roe). This delicately flavored globefish roe is pickled in sake lees and produced only in this area. Also, Kabura zushi has been a delicacy of the Kaga district since the Edo era (1603-1867). This sushi consists of turnips and yellowtail pickled together with a good balance of sweet and sour. You can enjoy the crispy texture of the turnip with the fatty flavor of the yellowtail. If you like a different type of meat, wild duck dish is right for you. In the Kaga district, the hunting of wild duck, called “Sakaami-ryo,” has continued for a long time. The fat of the wild duck is of good quality and the flavor rustic. The high season is from November to February. Delicious sweets such as the Rakugan, Mizuame, and Manju are famous as well!

Kaga Katayamazu Onsen Cherry Blossom

All in all, the Kaga/Hakusan area of Ishikawa Prefecture is a place you won't regret visiting. It is ideal if you like things such as onsen and great countryside, and want to evade the crowds of more popular areas. Check out the website of the Kaga Hakusan area and learn more!

10/4/20

Hana Irodori no Yado Kayuu - Wakayama

Hana Irodori no Yado Kayuu - Wakayama


Today we will show you a great resort-style hot spring inn located in the Nanki Taiji hot spring area of the Wakayama prefecture. Its name is Hana Irodori no Yado Kayuu and it is ideal if you want to take a break from exploring the Kansai area. The hotel is a 15-minute drive from JR Kii-Katsuura Train Station on the Kisei Line, and a free shuttle is offered. It is a 10-minute walk to the Taijicho Whale Museum and Taiji Kujirahama Park. Both indoor and open-air hot-spring baths are available for use, and you can enjoy resting on the sun terrace or practicing golf on the putting green. Karaoke and massages are also on offer, and the lobby has a free-use internet PC. The rooms you will be staying are at extremely well decorated. They have all you need and more. If you decide to stay in the rooms on the 6th floor, you will also have a private hot spring which is amazing! I already wrote about this in my website post, so you can check it out here!

Now let's talk about one of my favorite things; food! I really love the way they prepare food here. The chefs there say that their 5 important rules are: 

  1. Have gratitude for the opportunity to enjoy nature blessed seasonal foods.
  2. Select the ingredients carefully to produce the best possible food.
  3. Use local, seasonal ingredients as much as possible.
  4. Create cuisine that pleases all five senses of the guests.
  5. Cook with sincerity.

These rules will ensure that you always get the best possible meals here. Some of the meals you must try are the Kumano beef, fresh tuna, and the grouper fish. The genuine certified Kumano beef was raised in the natural environment of Kumano and is descended from Tajima beef. The fresh and delicious tuna is from Katsuura Port, the largest tuna unloading port in Japan. you can enjoy the sweet, tender-textured fresh wild tuna. The grouper is a local delicacy that grows up to 1 m in length. It is in season from autumn to winter and is considered a delicacy eaten raw as sashimi or in hotpot dishes. The exquisite white flesh plumps up when cooked and fills your mouth with a rich flavor. Tasty! If you like to taste some local drinks, you won't be disappointed. They have many local beverages available including "Kumano Kodo Beer" with the citrus fruity aroma and wheat malt sweetness, pure rice sake "Nachi no Taki" made of the holy water of the Nachi no Taki Waterfall and Wakayama brewer's rice, and many more!


One reason I really like Kayuu is the fact that it is located on the Kii peninsula near so many great attractions that often get missed by most tourists. You can use it as a base to explore the surrounding area of the peninsula. The Kii Peninsula, part of the Kansai region, is a large peninsula in south-central Honshu. The Kii Peninsula juts southwards into the Pacific Ocean, with the Inland Sea to its west. The peninsula has the Yoshino-Kumano National Park and Ise-Shima National Parks, offering remote high mountain trails, sacred sites, waterfalls, gorges, beaches, and onsen.  Kumano Kodo is a historic pilgrimage route famous in the world and with parts of it protected by UNESCO. Three sacred sites are located in the hills and mountains of the Kii peninsula; "Kumano Sanzan," "Koyasan," and "Yoshino / Omine," In July 2004, UNESCO recognized these three sacred sites, the pilgrimage route connecting them, and the cultural landscape formed by nature and human activities over a long period of time, and the "Kii Mountain Range" was recognized as a property shared by humankind. Each of these alone is worth a visit, and the memory will stay with you forever. 



Hana Irodori no Yado Kayuu seaside resort ryokan is great for many types of visitors, and I am sure that you will love it as well. Whether you want to spend a few days relaxing by the seas and having fun with its many facilities and hot springs or use it as a base to explore the Kii peninsula, it is great for you! Check out their website and learn more!


9/6/20

Kijitei Hoeiso - Traditional Ryokan in Hakone

Kijitei Hoeiso - Traditional Ryokan in Hakone


Wondering through the streets of big cities like Tokyo is a fun experience. Visiting museums, going shopping, and enjoy the nightlife are all things many of us want to do when we visit Japan. But that fast pace and rush can sometimes become a bit too much. That is why I suggest to all of you that you spend some time exploring the Japans countryside. Japan's nature is immensely beautiful, and many of its rural areas still have that mysterious and unique atmosphere. Places like these are ideal for relaxing and getting in touch with that traditional side of Japan. One such place is Hakone, a famous area located close to Tokyo and Mount Fuji, with many hot springs and interesting places to see. It is best experienced by staying in a traditional ryokan, and an ideal one I can recommend is the Kijiteo Hoeiso. I already talked about many things this place offers in our website post which you can check out here!

As I noted in the post on our website, Kijiteo Hoeiso is a luxurious and authentic ryokan set amidst the mountains of Hakone next to a river. The ryokan offers the rotenburo outdoor onsen bath by the river and the magnificent view of the great nature from guestrooms. Indoor hot spring baths are also available! All baths are constantly filled by pure hot spring water that flows directly from the source, with overflow water being discharged into the river. Also, there are private hot spring baths in your room!

Regarding meals, you won't be disappointed since Japanese breakfast and dinner are served in the dining area. They are made from high-quality local ingredients. Their staple meal is pheasant meat that is famous for being both tasty and mild. Of course, there are many other types of dishes that can be served.

The guest rooms are of high quality as you would expect, with everything you need. I want over that in our website post so you can check more about it there. However, I would like to tell you now about their annex guest cottage that is available for groups of 7 or more people. It has been converted from a traditional Japanese farmhouse. Built-in the distinct architecture of a Gassho-style house, it is a rare and important cultural building. These styles of houses were common from the 17th century up until the start of the 20th century, but few remain these days. They had the house transferred here from a village in Gifu prefecture which is renowned for these types of houses. Some of the villages in Gifu are designated as world heritage sites due to the unique cultural importance of these houses. The cottage has a high ceiling with a steeply sloping roof and makes the perfect getaway for larger groups wishing to have a memorable and traditional Japanese experience and I highly recommend it.

One of the biggest advantages of this ryokan is its excellent location in the Hakone area. Hakone is part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, less than one hundred kilometers from Tokyo. Famous for hot springs, natural beauty, and the view across Lake Ashinoko of nearby Mount Fuji, Hakone is an ideal destination if you want to take a break from Tokyo and enjoy all the amazing things it offers. I recommend that you get the Hakone Free Pass and use it to explore this area with several methods of transportation: train, bus, boat, cablecar, and ropeway. There are so many interesting places to see such as the Hakone Shrine, a Shinto shrine famous for its giant torii gates, one standing in the Lake Ashinoko in front of the shrine, and two others over the main street of the nearby Moto-Hakone. Lovers of nature will enjoy Owakudani, an area around a crater created during the last eruption of Mount Hakone over 3000 years ago. The ground there is bright yellow and in the air, there is a strong smell similar to rotten eggs because of the sulfur, so be prepared. Also there you can buy eggs, cooked in the naturally hot water, whose shells are black and which are said to prolong one's life by seven years. Fan of art and culture will be delighted to visit the famous Hakone Open-Air Museum where art blends with nature and where works by both Japanese and Western artists are framed by trees, grass, and mountains. The ancient and famous Tokaido road runs through Hakone, so if you enjoy hiking it is a perfect place to take a stroll. Also, the Tokaido at one point passes next to the Kijitei Hoeiso! So make sure not to miss it!

Many people have stayed at this exquisite place and have been absolutely delighted by what it offers. I am sure that if you book a stay here, you will be among them as well! If you are even a bit interested in this place, visit the Kijiteo Hoeiso and learn more! 

Araya Totoan - Historic Establishment in Yamashiro Onsen

Araya Totoan - Historic Establishment in Yamashiro Onsen


Have you ever dreamt of traveling back in time to ancient Japan and living in that land of wonders, traveling across it, meeting great samurai warriors, great artists, and wise men? Unfortunately, we do not have the ability to do that. However, there is something that we can do to at least come close to that feeling. We can explore the traditional side of Japan and do our best to experience the culture and history from up close. One great way to do that is to stay at a prestigious and historic ryokan. One that suits that description ideally is the Araya Totoan whose history extends back to 1639. I have talked a great deal about this amazing ryokan and what it offers in my website post which you can check out here. I would like to take this opportunity to tell you a bit more about the history and culture behind this unique place. 

Araya Totoan is located in Yamashiro Onsen, one of the best hot springs in the Hokuriku region, which was opened almost 1300 years ago. That put that in perspective, one of the most powerful countries in the world today, the USA, has only existed for a little over 200 years!

There is an anecdote about the origins of this hot spring that goes something like this:

On his pilgrimage to Sacred Mt. Hakusan, the high priest Gyoki found a purple cloud trail and headed towards it. He then spotted a crow that tended its wounded wing in a puddle. As he came closer he discovered that the puddle was actually a hot spring. The Araya Totoan sits on the exact spot described as the hot spring source in the Karasu-yu Legend, which is also the original source of Yamashiro Onsen.

In the initial years following its discovery, the hot spring was mainly used by local farmers. However, after a retired emperor that entered the priesthood ordered the construction of temple buildings there, Yamashiro Onsen became known throughout the country. Since that time, influential persons of each historical period have visited for therapeutic purposes, such as Akechi Mitsuhide and Maeda Toshiie, the latter being the first lord of Kaga-han.

The Araya Totoan also had its fair share of famous guests, among which were the members of the Imperial family and the famed artist Kitaoji Rosanjin. He was an artist who demonstrated his talent in a number of different arts, such as seal engraving, calligraphy, and painting. In addition to being a prolific artist in a number of areas, Kitaoji Rosanjin was also a famous ceramist. In the early part of the Taisho period (the early 1900s), while in his thirties and still relatively unknown as an artist, Rosanjin stayed at Yamashiro Onsen for about one year and studied under Seika. Today the Araya Totoan houses some of the works of Rosanjin, including a red decorated plate that is considered to be his first work of ceramic art, as well as a screen that portrays the Karasu (crow cawing at daybreak) connected to the history of Karasu-yu.

These are just some of the reasons why you should visit this prestigious traditional hotel. To find out more about it visit the website of the Araya Totman. You will not regret it!

8/18/20

Matsuya Sensen in Awara Onsen - Hot Spring Resort in Hokuriku Region

 Matsuya Sensen in Awara Onsen - Hot Spring Resort in Hokuriku Region



Are you looking for an authentic but modern Japanese style hotel at which you can rest from your fast paces exploration of Japan? If you do, look no further, I have just the place for you and it is called Matsuya Sensen. This luxurious ryokan is located in the Hokuriku area of Japan, a bit of the beaten path that foreign tourists usually take. As such it can serve as a perfect base from which to visit many hidden gems in this area.

Many traditional-style Japanese hotels might have a hard time communicating efficiently with guests, however, that is not the case with Matsuya Sensen. They have English-speaking staff at the front desk. There are also English signs in the hotel.

I am a huge fan of Japanese hot springs and I love the ones they have available here. There are male and female bathing areas like you would expect. The male bathing area is large and well equipped, making for a truly relaxing experience. It includes an open-air bath as well as one of the largest baths in the Hokuriku region which is a delight to be in. Each of the five baths has a unique ambiance, and each offers a blissful bathing experience. The bathing area is spacious, making it perfect for a long, leisurely soak. Each wash station is sectioned off for an added sense of privacy. From single-person tubs to outdoor open-air baths, guests can enjoy a variety of baths and bathing environments.


The female bathing area features a variety of baths, including a solo-bathing bath, a 'ne-yu' sleeping bath, and a healing sauna that offers the same benefits as a bedrock bath. The female bathing area is also spacious and sectioned off for an added sense of privacy. One more thing the ladies will love is the ladies-only floor which contains a relaxation parlor to enjoy after bathing, an aesthetician’s spa, and more. At the aesthetician’s salon, located right next to the female bathing facility, you can receive aromatherapy and Bali-style treatments to help you rejuvenate.


If you book one of the more luxurious rooms, you will also have a private hot bath, which in my opinion, is a huge advantage! The rest of the room is also impressive. From the careful placement of ornaments to the tastefully selected furniture, the rooms exude a sense of authentic Japanese hospitality, ensuring a peaceful and relaxing stay that everyone can appreciate. Rooms offer both privacy and a refined atmosphere to ensure guests can truly unwind during their stay at Matsuya Sensen.


The ryokan has many facilities for you to use while you stay here which will make your stay more comfortable, fun, and relaxing. Of course, there are restaurants, 3 to be exact. With an open kitchen and modern Japanese atmosphere, Sen-no-Sachi is the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing dinner of seasonal delicacies. Each dish is carefully prepared by our team of expert chefs and makes use of the finest local ingredients of the season. At the more casual Gottsuo-tei Hana Hana you can also expect many dishes but a more casual atmosphere. The highlight is definitely the Zen & Saron Chiyomigusa. It is an upscale dining hall for the exclusive use of guests staying on the special Hanareza floor. Meals served here are of the highest quality and use the finest local ingredients such as the famed Echizen crabs. There is also a tea lounge which is considered a  sophisticated and comfortable space where guests can relax while drinking a cup of aromatic coffee. If you want to have some fun at night there is the Club Kimi-Matsuya and the Bar Lounge Ware-Matusya. Here you can enjoy drink, parties, or rent a karaoke room. For additional fun, mahjong room and a ping-pong corner are there.


As I already said, Matsuya Sensen is ideally located to make your exploration of the Hokuriku area of Japan simple and fun. Many of the local attractions can be easily accessed. There are many types of things to see, so no matter what your preferences are, you will find something to love! For fans of nature, there is Tojinbo. Tojinbo is a series of steep cliffs with a height of more than 20 meters. The cliffs are a nationally designated place of scenic beauty and are also a national natural treasure. There are naturally shaped rocks that look like a lion, a candle, and many more interesting shapes, and visitors can enjoy looking at them from a sightseeing boat. Fans of Japanese culture will love to see Daihonzan Eiheiji. This temple was founded in 1244 by Zen Master Dogen, who was a patriarch of Soto Zen, for Zen practice. Various treasures including Hukan Zazengi (a national treasure), which is said to be written by Zen Master Dogen, are on display. If you love beautiful Japanese gardens, you will be happy to learn one of the best ones, Kenrokuen, is nearby. The garden was granted the highest rank of three stars in the Michelin Green Guide Japan. If you are with kids, they will love to visit the famed Shibamasa World. A massive theme park surrounded by green grass and the Japan Sea. This theme park has a variety of attractions, including pools with some of the longest and highest slides in the world, mini-golf courses covered in natural grass, go-carts, roller coasters, and many more. Also, you might check out the Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum which is one of the largest dinosaur museums in the world, or the Echizen Matsushima Aquarium where you can encounter various sea creatures including sharks, giant octopi, and doctor fish, and feed marine turtles and saltwater fish.


I am sure that you will love to stay at this interesting ryokan. That is why I suggest that you check out the website of Matsuya Sensen and learn more!









7/22/20

Grandia Housen in Awara Onsen - Hot Spring Resort in Fukui

Grandia Housen in Awara Onsen - Hot Spring Resort in Fukui




Have you ever wanted to find a luxurious and authentic Japanese hot spring resort where you can relax a bit from the rush of sightseeing all across Japan? Look no further because I have a perfect place for you. It is called Grandia Housen and it is a ryokan, a traditional Japanese hotel. It is located in Awara Onsen, a town in the north of Fukui Prefecture which is famous for its hot springs. This prestigious ryokan has been around for over 50 years and during all that time it was known as a prestigious and high-quality establishment. In addition to beautifully decorated rooms in both Japanese and Western styles, this ryokan has three different high-quality hot spring water sources, which are said to have many healing properties. I am a huge fan of onsens, so this is a huge plus for me. There is no better way to relax for a hectic day that to spend a part of the evening in a hot bath. The thing that goes perfectly with a hot bath for me, and you as well I am sure, is a delicious dinner. That is why I was delighted to find out about many delicious types of Japanese food served in Grandia Housen's several restaurants. More about that later. 



Even though Grandia Housen is located in Fukui Prefecture, a little bit off the usual tourist routes across Japan, that is what gives it even more charm in my opinion. It is a perfect detour and a place where you can slow down the quick temp of sightseeing. I recommend that you rent a car if you like driving and take the short trip to here from Kyoto or Kanazawa. If don't like driving, don't worry. There are many ways you can simply access Awara Onsen and Grandia Housen. You can reach it via train or bus to JR Awara Onsen Station from which a shuttle bus can take you to the ryokan. You can find out more details on their website



However, the area around Awara Onsen is not just a good place to rest and enjoy many hot springs; it also has its fair share of interesting places to see. Probably the most famous one is Tojinbo. It is a spectacular series of steep, rocky cliffs that stretch for about a kilometer along the coast. These giant, pillar-shaped rocks are a unique geological formation that can only be seen in a couple of other sports in the world, and nowhere else in Japan. This Japanese natural monument can be explored via trails that lead along the rocky embankment to various chasms and promontories. If you love visiting traditional temples and shrines, Eihei-ji Temple is a place you might be interested in. This important temple of Zen Buddhism was founded in 1244 and is one of the head temples of the Soto Sect of Zen Buddhism. If you are interested in art, one place you would love to see is the Kanaz Forest of Creation. This facility was set up to display and introduce creative artworks, and visitors also have the chance for hands-on experiences of creative arts such as glass-blowing, ceramics, and fabric dyeing, all set in the middle of nature. Fans of history will also be delighted to learn about the historic ruins of the Ichijodani Asakura clan. This is a castle town from which the Asakura clan ruled over this area for over a hundred years. For fans of Japanese food, there is Awara Onsen Food-Stall Village "Yukemuri-Yokocho", an area dotted with small food establishments where you can interact with locals and try their tasty dishes. If you are looking for a bit of entertainment, Shibamasa World is the place for you! In this huge leisure complex, you can find all kinds of entertainment, including a putter golf course, a water park with huge slides, a fully-equipped campsite, and more! Additional interesting places include the Echizen Matsushima Aquarium, Fukui Prefectural Children's Science Museum, and the Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum. As you can see, there are a lot of things to do here which many tourists never get the chance to visit!



Grandia Housen itself is an amazing place where you can easily spend several days and still not get enough of it. Guests can enjoy beauty treatments, take a stroll in the lovely garden, or browse the souvenir shop. There is also a vibrant nightlife with a karaoke bar, private karaoke rooms, mah-jong rooms, a Japanese noodle restaurant, and more. The rooms, as you can see, are absolutely amazing. Perfectly designed, equipped with the highest quality furniture and many also have private outdoor hot baths. These are perfect if you want a bit of privacy; they are yours 24/7! However, the public baths in Grandia Housen are also exceptional. Tenjo no SPA, located in the main building, was recently renovated and was transformed into a high-end, comfortable, and modern bathing facility. Outdoor baths here at Grandia Housen enable you to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the surrounding area which looks wonderful no matter the season. When the weather is good, you can enjoy the spectacular night sky. If you choose to stay at the Kotobuki-tei Villa or Yutorogi-tei Annex parts of the ryokan, you will have access to one more bath, Hinoki large public bath.



As I already said, I am a huge fan of Japanese food and for me, the best evenings are those where I can enjoy a nice hot bath and a delicious dinner. If you are like me, you would love the wide variety of dishes offered in Grandia Housen's restaurants. I love trying as many local dishes as possible when traveling so I was happy to see that the local area is rich in high-quality ingredients from the mountains, countryside, and nearby sea. These seasonal ingredients are used to prepare exquisite dishes of the highest quality. 



As I said, there are several restaurants in Grandia Housen, so there is something for everyone. At the Kotobuki-tei Villa, traditional Japanese meals are served in the guest room or a small banquet room. At the ryotei Yuuzen or the restaurant Tokinokura, you can enjoy dining in a sophisticated atmosphere. Staying guests are served Japanese breakfast and a traditional multi-course dinner featuring local seasonal specialties. If you stay at the Kotobuki-tei Villa, the head chef himself will prepare traditional kaiseki course dishes of the highest quality that will be both delicious and perfectly presented. A Japanese fine-dining restaurant called Yuuzen is also available. The dinner courses feature dishes of vivid color and presentation with ingredients selected on a daily basis. 



All in all, I am certain that stay at this wonderful and luxurious ryokan is something that you will remember fondly. If you are a person who enjoys spending some time relaxing and exploring less known parts of Japan look no further than Grandia Housen. Make sure to visit their website to learn more about this amazing ryokan.