Hot Springs & Hot Springs Resorts in Shizuoka Prefecture

Hot Springs Spa Resorts in Shizuoka Prefecture: Yoshiharu Hotel in Izu Peninsula! 1: The Baths

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Service: Smiling and attentive
Facilities & Equipment: Traditional and ancient, partly renovated, but extremely clean. Great washrooms. Spacious lobby with free coffee et al.
Prices: Appropriate to expensive. Cheaper on weekdays and in low seasons.
Strong points: Great baths overall. Private outdoors bath in rooms. Local gastronomy with local products.

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Complimentary glass of white wine!

Izu Peninsula is known all over Japan and beyond for its innumerable hot springs and hot springs spas/hotels.
It is for the more pleasurable that most serve excellent gastronomy thanks to the many local products be they from the land or the sea.

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The Dragon and I, taking advantage of a cheaper fee in mid week during the off season traveled to Mishima before boarding the Izu Hakone Railway Line and get off at izu Nagaoka Station.

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There we stayed overnight at a renown spa hotel called Yoshiharu/古春 (meaning “Old Spring”).
It is a venerable establishment although it has been greatly reformed 2 years ago.

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The overnight stay included dinner and breakfast, the usual deal in such hotels, so I will have to divide this report into 3 parts, otherwise you will miss all the good points!

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Beautifully renewed lobby!

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You will discover a hot spring foot bath on the way to your room!
As the hot water runs away all the time you can rest your feet in clean water!

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Inner garden!

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These fish are made of leather!

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The dining room overlooks another small garden with pond and minuscule waterfalls!

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Rock garden!

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Our own traditional Japanese room!

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Our own private outdoors hot spring bath and patio!

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Fences and edges keep off any unwanted eyes except those of many wild birds!

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Pastoral atmosphere?

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Easy chairs!

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Always clean yourself before entering your bath!

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The bath!

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Fresh water constantly moving in and out of the bath!

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The bath is deep enough for the water to reach your neck when you sit on the tiled bottom!

Now, there are other outdoors baths of two different kinds:
-Private baths whose door you can lock for total privacy provided they are vacant.
-Public baths where you can either bathe inside or outside!

Let’s have a peek at all of them!

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Italian-style bathtub!

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Japanese-style double bath!

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A grand bath made all of wood!
Probably my favorite!

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Jacuzzi bath!

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Another Japanese-style bath all made of carved stone!

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Now to the public bath!
This is entry for ladies!
Remember the Kanji!

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And remember the kanji for gentlemen, too!

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The indoors public bath!

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And finally the public outdoors bath!

See you at dinner next!

YOSHIHARU HOTEL
Izu No Kuni City, Nagaoka, 989-10
Get down at Izu Nagaoka Station along the Izu Hakone Railway Line (leaving form Mishima City). Take a taxi (under 1,000 yen)
Tel.: 055-948-1212
Credit Cards OK
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)
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Hot Springs Spa Resorts in Shizuoka Prefecture: Yoshiharu Hotel in Izu Peninsula! 2: Dinner

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Service: Smiling and attentive
Facilities & Equipment: Traditional and ancient, partly renovated, but extremely clean. Great washrooms. Spacious lobby with free coffee et al.
Prices: Appropriate to expensive. Cheaper on weekdays and in low seasons.
Strong points: Great baths overall. Private outdoors bath in rooms. Local gastronomy with local products.

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Right from the beginning of a very pleasant dinner one understands that Yoshiharu Hotel does make an effort to use local products as much as possible!
Mind you, it is not too difficult when you know the wealth of the land and the nearby seashores!

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No, this is not the main dish, but the main appetizers!

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Salmon, salmon roe and grated Japanese yam.

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Marinated scabbard fish.

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White-flesh fish sashimi, sweet shrimp and raw cuttle fish.

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A general view also featuring a small cup of umeshu/Japanese plum wine, and portable hot pot.

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Local Fuji no Kuni Pork!

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Scallops balls!

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Stewed persimmon, gingko nuts, deep-fried kabocha, shrimp caviar, yam, fried rice talks and vegetable tofu!

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Deep-fried scabbard fish.

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Oyster rice!

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Shark fin and egg soup.

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Pork cooking in its pot!

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Home-made pickles.

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Red miso soup with scallops balls.

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The stewed pork with vegetables and red miso is ready!

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Home-made sorbet!

See you at breakfast next!

YOSHIHARU HOTEL
Izu No Kuni City, Nagaoka, 989-10
Get down at Izu Nagaoka Station along the Izu Hakone Railway Line (leaving form Mishima City). Take a taxi (under 1,000 yen)
Tel.: 055-948-1212
Credit Cards OK
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)
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Hot Springs Spa Resorts in Shizuoka Prefecture: Yoshiharu Hotel in Izu Peninsula! 3: Breakfast

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Service: Smiling and attentive
Facilities & Equipment: Traditional and ancient, partly renovated, but extremely clean. Great washrooms. Spacious lobby with free coffee et al.
Prices: Appropriate to expensive. Cheaper on weekdays and in low seasons.
Strong points: Great baths overall. Private outdoors bath in rooms. Local gastronomy with local products.

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Japanese breakfasts in Japanese hotels, hot springs spa hotels in particl\aular, are so enormous!
They do make sure not only that you enjoy this important meal of the day but that you are well-fed for a long time to be during your coming trip!

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Your breakfast will always include plenty of freshly steamed rice, dry seaweed/nori, onsen tamago/soft-boile egg cooked in hot springs water, raw seaweed, and green tea (especially in Shizuoka)!

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Then it will depend on the products of the region.
In Shizuoka you can expect dry shirasu/sardine whitings, wasabi zuke/pickles made of wasabi stems and leaves and Japanese sake white lees, chawan mushi/Japanese steamed salty pudding, and mentaiko (not from Shizuoka!)!

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Hot pot with tofu and mushrooms!
That alone will please guests who do not wish to eat meat or fish!

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Fish is also a must!
Above is “himono/sun-dried fish” which had been grilled before serving.
Did you know that Shizuoka Prefecture produces as much as half of all himono in Japan?

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And of course steamed local vegetables served with gomadare/sesame seeds dressing!

What a healthy way to start the day!

YOSHIHARU HOTEL
Izu No Kuni City, Nagaoka, 989-10
Get down at Izu Nagaoka Station along the Izu Hakone Railway Line (leaving form Mishima City). Take a taxi (under 1,000 yen)
Tel.: 055-948-1212
Credit Cards OK
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)
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Shizuoka Hotsprings: Sumatakyo-Part 2

Check the Hotel Homepage for more information (Japanese)!

Now, how much did we pay for one night at Suikoen Hotel, thebest one in Sumatakyo, lost in the southern Japan Alps with full dinner, breakfast and onsen bath/hotsprings bath?
130 US $ each, not bad!

Meals are taken early in Japanese hotsprings hotels.
Ours was launched at 6:00 p.m.!
A plate of zensai/appetizers was waiting for us. I can’t remember all the descriptions as I had no time to jot down anything, waht with being busy the pics (with a mobile phone, which is not the perfect way! Sorry) and the Missus waiting impatiently!

Bamboo Shoot

Vegetarian sushi with rice steamed in green tea.

Stewed mushrooms and pickled ginger.

Kogomi/fern, moutain vegetable.

Tea leaves tempura.

Fuki, mountain vegetable

And the procession of appetizers continued with stewed cold chicken and boiled vegetables,

yam, pickled wasabi and myoga ginger,

grilled yamame, you can eat the whole!

Japanese-style bbq with pork and vegetables and miso paste,

20 minutes later!

Shika tataki/Seared venison sashimi (the venison comes from wild deer in the nearvy mountains!),

an interesting “sashimi plate”: gomadofu/sesame tofu, salmon and konnyaku/devil’s tongue tuber jelly mixed with local green tea!

I don’t know too much baout this one. All I know is that it was made with azuki beans, yam and tofu. Very hearty!

Chinese-style fried salmon with sweet and sour sauce,

tsukemono, Japanese pickles,

Yamasemi (Mountain Kingfisher) white wine from Nagano Precture (extra fee!),

Freshly steamed rice is brought inside a double-lid pot,

so simple and delicious!

Miso soup, naturally,

Kawane Green Tea (did I tell you that Shizuoka Prefecture produces more than 45% of all green tea in Japan?)!

And Kawane green tea jelly for dessert!

before taking our first bath of the day, we took time to admire the carps in the garden pond!

The entrance of the hot baths…

The noren/curtain barring the view of the hot baths for men.
”男” means “men”. Don’t make a mistake!

The noren/curtain barring the view of the hot baths for women/ladies.
”女” means “women”. Don’t make a mistake again!

The “venues are switched every 12 hours. Do be careful and check! LOL

A view of the “make-up” room.

The indoor bath.

Scrub yourself before entering any bath!

Rotenburo/露天風呂/outdoors bath. A bit small, I must admit!

The relaxation room by the outdoors bath.
Do not trust the scales!

We did dip in the baths the next day before and after breakfast.
The breakfast was the all you can eat self-service style, both European and Japanese style. Above was my first helping (European).

I was really hungry after allthe walking the day before (and more coming on taht day!), I couldn’t help wolfing down another, Japanese-style, breakfast!

All considered, a good enough hotel, good steady food and very reasonable. Definitely recommended!
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Shizuoka Hotsprings: Sumatakyo-Part 1

Suikoen Hotel entrance in Sumatakyo

The Missus and I finally found a couple of days off work to go to a favourite destination of ours: Hotsprings.
Shizuoka Prefecture is probably the most famous region in Japan for such a venue.
Hotels, Ryokans (inns) and Minshuku (Pensions) can wildly vary in prices, services and meals served, but my other half is a wizard (sorry, witch!) when it comes to find out the best deal out of the Internet.
She planned the whole trip as my experience has taught me it is better this way in spite of all the grumbling (why do I have to do everything?….).
The following three articles are a journal of the two days spent together (in bliss?) along the railway tracks and mountain lanes in search for simple pleasures!

Kanaya Railway Station, Oi River Railroad (minuscule!)

We left Shizuoka City (Higashi Shizuoka Station) at 09:56 and reached Kanaya Station at 10:34 using the Tokaido Railway Line.

Before buying our tickets, we checked with the small food stand at Kanaya Oi River Railroad Station (next to Kanaya Station) as they always sell good local ekiben/railway line bento!

Large signs across the track made sure you know your destination!

We ignored the SL train as we were planning to board it on our return and instead used the diesel-pulled train. No need to say that all trains along the Oi River Railroad track are crowded with train buffs on week-ends!

That railroad is mainly a single-track line except inside stations (and not all at that!).

My bento box!
I wrote an extensive article at Ekiben/Railway Station Lunch Boxes-Bento 8!

It even contained a postcard!

The food inside!

The bento chosen by the Missus!

The food inside!

Cute SL train-shaped soy sauce container!

Green tea rasks for dessert!

Kawane Green tea to washi it down. Don’t forget that Shizuoka Prefecture produces more than 45% of all green tea in Japan and the area we are going to cross on our way, Kawane, is the major green tea producing area!

Although the train runs along the Oi River between montains, thereis plenty of place for (tea) farming.

Tea fields everywhere!

This is the season and farmers are busy even on Sunday! You will find very few recreation spaces there as farmers are just too tired at the end of the day!

The Oi River has always been a major river in Japan! For once the weather was clement!

Wherever you go in Jpaan, you will discover ball parks where Elementary School kids are eager to show off their new uniforms!

We left Kanaya at 10:49 to reach Senzu Station, the last station for that particular train. Nice natural decoration!

A view of Senzu Station, which stands pretty high in the South Japanese Alps!

We had arrived at Senzu Station 12:04 and still had sometime before taking the bus to Sumatakyo at 13:30. We were getting a bit hungry. Luckily we noticed a gentleman grilling/bbq-ing large yamame!

Yamame (山女 or “Mountain Woman” in Japanese!) is a kind of trout, either called Japanese trout or Seema.

One can either eat wild ones or pond-raised ones. These fat samples are raised in local ponds fed with fresh mountain waters. Griiled with salt/shoyaki/塩焼き, they are succulent. You can eat the skin, too!

Almost “next door” to Senzu Station stands a very interesting museum dedicated to sound in their many form, natural or devised.
The place is called Otogi No Sato/Sound Village.
Check their (Japanese) HOMEPAGE.
I was particularly interested in the “percussion faces”.

Long teeth!

Another one for a music-loving dentist?

Another one for hard hitting!

We finally reached our destination Suikoen Spa Hotel at 14:10.
Now, who is that lady?
Check the Hotel Homepage for more information (Japanese)!

I can assure you they will never lack water to turn that wheel!

Hotel lobby sitting room.

The lobby seen from the inside courtyard.

The same from another angle.

A small but scenic courtyard, indeed, with the nearby wooded mountains.

A small carp pond, naturally!

A traditional irori/囲炉裏 with a real charcoal fire!

As we still had plenty of time until dinner (served at 18:00, a bit early by Western standards!), we took the opportunity to visit the locality!

A traditonal minshuku/民宿 or pension.

Narrow streets with plenty of verdant nature!

Rivers and waterfalls running through the village!

Traditional Houses and shops.
And then it was time for dinner, but that is for Part 2!
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Izu Peninsula Hotspring Resort: Hotel Isaba in Heda!

Service: A bit stiff but friendly and attentive
Facilities: A bit old-fashioned but clean. Excellent hotspring bathroom
Prices: Expensive
Strong points: Excellent private hotspring bathroom and open-air hotspring bath with great view on the sea. Excellent breakfast
Overall: 72/100

The best time to check in a hotel in Heda is at sunset when you can admire the sinking sun over the horizon from your windows!

It is the more striking when you squid fishing boat cutting the sea under a sinking flaming orb!

Hotel Isaba is one of the most popular hotspring resort hotels in Heda, Izu Peninsula, thanks to its location overlooking the great sea expanses.
One can choose a room Japanese-style or Western-style.

The hotel is a bit kitsch and definitely from another age but comfortable with all amenities.

The better rooms have a nice, if small, kind of terrace opened onto a great sea landscape.

Cozy place to enjoy a drink or a book in summer!

The private hotspring bath, small by Western standards is big and deep enough for two adults!

Like the terrace it opens onto a sea landscape particularly striking at dusk and dawn!

The dinner served inside your room over a table large enough for 4 adults is a big affair!

Complimentary home-made blueberry aperitif.

Live abalone you grill by yourself after listening to the maid’s instructions!

It’s dancing over the fire!

Chyawanmushi/Japanese hot salted pudding and Japanese pickles.

Mishima Pork shabu shabu.

Varied appetizers.

Sashimi plate from Suruga Bay!

Italian-style lobster.

Simmered “Medai” seabream and taro.

“Menuke” fish Sautee.

Plenty of rice and miso soup!

And dessert!

The specialty of the house: Suruga Bay sea-salt sorbet!

Wake up early enough in the morning to enjoy a great ocean view!

And catch the sight of the returning squid fishing boats!

And then first pay a visit to the large hotspring bath on top of the hotel!

Don’t forget to scrub yourself before taking a dip!

Large bay windows will allow you to enjoy a great view again at the same time.

But your hotspring experience will not be complete with another body-relaxing dip in the “rotenburo/open-air bath” outside the main bathroom whatever the season or weather!

A great souvenir picture!

Breakfast is simply enormous and should last you half a day!

And very healthy too with local ingredients!

Seaweed soup.

Horse mackerel from Suruga Bay.

All kinds of tidbits to accompany the rice, and a little dessert.

Tamagoyaki, Sweet and sour tofu, pickles and crab miso soup.

And plenty of rice, the traditional way!

HOTEL ISABA
400-3402, Shizuoka Ken, Numazu Shi, Heda, Bihama Kaigan, 3878-20
Tel.: 0558-94-3048
Fax: 558-94^4270
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)
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Shizuoka Hotsprings: Guest House Kazeyoobi in Itoh City!

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Izu Peninsula in Eastern Shizuoka Prefecture is the most famous and oldest hotsprings area in Japan. Start either from Atami or Mishima JR Shinkasen Stations and visit this great region by train, bus or car!
If you begin your journey from Atami, take the train to Ito City and change onto the local private line and get off at Izu Koogen Station. From there you can either walk (45 minutes) or take a taxi if you are in a hurry!
Guest House Kazeyoubi in fact is a private pension with real hotsprings private bath and open-air bath fed with water coming from the nearby Ooumuro Yama, a long-extinct volcano.

The Guest House is a bit out the ordinary as it is conceived and decorated as a Spanish House with Spanish food as its main course for dinner! Plenty to please and satisfy expats! The owner actually told us that foreigners are far from being the exception, but keep in mind that they offer Japanese cuisine options as you will see later!

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As I said, the whole interior decoration has been conceived along Spanish lines!

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But the Japanese bath on the balcony is definitely Japanese-style with real hotsprings water!
The rooms do have European-style shower, bathrooms, so no worries there, either!
There is also a “rotenburo”/open-air semi-public bath. As the guest house has only 6 rooms, you will always find some time during the day or night vacant all for yourself (ves)!

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The dining room for dinner and breakfast has also been decorated in Spanish style. You can even eat on the verandah when the weather is good enough!
Dinners are served early from 18:00 but breakfasts start from 08:00 (nothing Spanish about that, LOL!)

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Now, expats will happy to learn that meals are Gargantuan by Japanese standards! Above Amuse include Iberico Smoked Ham!

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Now if you want to drink wine (Spanish. There are all kinds of drinks available, though!), ask for “nomihoudai”/”drink as much as you want” system, it’s a bargain!

We had ordered the sashimi plate on the Internet as an optional dish to an already great meal!:
-From top clockwise (see above picture):
Aji no sashimi/Saurel Sashimi
Amaebi/Sweet Shrimps
Aji no tataki/Saurel cut in small pieces
Katsuo/Bonito with freshly grated ginger
Inada/Young Japanese amberjack (buri)
Maguro/Tuna
-Centre:
Ika somen/Cuttle-fish served in long thin strips
Notice all the shiso leaves!

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The very Spanish garlic soup!

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The (small) lobster (enormous) paella for two!

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The fresh vegetable dip to help us wait for the next courses!

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The Iberico Pork Steak for me,

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and a great Japanese Beef steak for the Missus!

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Do not ask how we managed to finish the dessert (actually, I helped the Missus!)!

In fact eating dinner so early was a good idea, because
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I had to help the Missus finish it!

Guest House Kazeyoobi, a place I would definitely recommend to anyone, especially considering the great smiling and attentive welcome!

Guest House Kazeyoubi
〒413-0235 Ito City, Oomuro Kougen, 7-210 
TEL 0557-51-2935
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

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