Japanese Hot Spring Inn (Onsen-Ryokan)Author: rogue.wave.traveler
Date of Trip: March 2014
No harm done. The proper technique (for women) is to kneel in front of the bar directly on the wood floor, shift weight onto your hip, swing legs into the bath, stand up, pull the chair into position, then sit gently. A note to those visiting a ryokan for the first time, you need a certain amount of physical dexterity and a not so large frame.
However, even though I am a fairly large lady by Japanese standards, my enthusiasm counts for a lot!
The bar man insisted on speaking to me in English and offered me a welcome drink. I chose his suggestion of a non-alcoholic, frozen apple mint margarita-ish thingie. It was the perfect bit of refreshment while the hot mineral water relaxed the travel-weary feet.
While enjoying the drink, we processed the check in information and settled on a time for dinner and breakfast the next morning.
Information was provided about the onsen facilities, how to access the free WiFi and how to wear the traditional cotton robe (yukata) and jacket around the ryokan.
A towel was provided to dry off and I was shown a selection of yukata to choose from. The large size came right to my ankle and wrapped around me nicely. Yukata cotton robes are very forgiving and comfy!
Into the tiny elevator up to the 4th floor!
The elevator had a chair for those who might need to sit on the ride from the basement to the fourth floor.
The doors opened into a little lobby with a low table and two chairs. Nearby was a dispenser with hot and cold "ionized" water, whatever that is ...for drinking. Around the corner were two private open-air mineral water baths for guests staying in rooms without an en suite bath.
The attendant showing me to my room led me down a dimly lit corridor with a white pebble garden lining the floor on one side. When we arrived at room 406 called suisho according to the address plate, she slid back the wooden gate and opened the door.
Once inside the little vestibule, I was directed to remove the geta before stepping onto the wooden floor. The attendant showed me a small cupboard where my shoes had been placed.
To the left down a short hall way was the washroom. A towel warmer, fancy Japanese Toto toilet, scented pink bathroom tissue and a take-home amenity kit were part of the features. The amenity kit and products were extremely high quality. The shampoo and soap smelled so good.
The shower was huge!
Sliding doors from the hall led to the bedroom and sitting area. The 12 tatami mats were soft and luxurious. The futon was on a low base, not directly on the floor. I had been hoping to have more traditional bedding but it was fine. Extra futons were in a closet.
A room safe, overcoats and obi belts for the yukata and tabi socks were in another closet along with baskets for personal items.
The sitting room, separated by a sliding shoji screen had a mini fridge, television, tea kettle and tea necessaries. The view of the mountain and village was beautiful.
Everything was comfortable and clean and the staff could not have been more helpful and welcoming.
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