25 March 2012

Tokyo/Kinugawa Onsen March 2012 - Part II

Continued from Part I.

Here we were, on board the JR Tobu-Nikko Line Limited Express train. The train was quite empty, probably coz it was a Monday.

The journey took about 2hrs. To kill time, we chatted, played on ipad and iphone, napped a bit.

And I enjoyed a strawberry shortcake bought at the JR Shinjuku Station. Needless to say, it was yummy! The sponge was very airy and tender, chantilly cream very light and strawberries were juicy and sweet.

And as we entered the Tochigi Prefecture, I spotted blanket of snow covering roof tops and roads. Very pleasantly surprised as it was already March and there was still snow!! Really happy =D
We alighted at the Kinugawa Onsen Station which was the final stop but our ryokan is located at the next stop, the Kinugawa-Koen Station. We had the options of taking bus or taxi with the free coupons that came along with the Nikko-Kinugawa package. Then we spotted this mini tram bound for Kawaji and quickly hopped onto it since it would stop at the Kinugawa-Koen Station too. The train ride was also covered by the Nikko-Kinugawa package.
Within 5 minutes, we reached our destination, the Kinugawa-Koen Station and were greeted with this beautiful sight of snow covered trees and mountains.
We were totally mesmersized by the beauty that we lingered at the platform to camwhore despite the cold, probably about 1 or 2 degree celsius.
Quickly headed to the direction of our ryokan, Hananoyado Matsuya, about 5 mins away from the station.
We were greeted by the ryokan staff who were already expecting us. I guess it must be rare to see non-residents as this ryokan is located in the outskirt of Kinugawa Onsen. I found it through the Kinugawa/Kawaji Onsen Tourist Association Website and then booked through the ryokan's website.
After the check-in procedures, we were shown to our room and went "WOW". Had a corner room with lovely view of the river and the garden. Definitely one of the nicer rooms we've stayed before.
Cupboard with yukatas and bath towels for use at the onsen.
The room consists of 2 main areas. At the entrance foyer is where we place our shoes and slippers, the toilet, fridge and bathroom. Then we enter the room proper.
Beautiful view from our room.
I could just sit here all day long admiring the view.
Complimentary pickles and snacks to go along with green tea. These can be purchased at the ryokan lobby.
Old school telephone found in the room.
Onsen time! For male.
And female. Unfortunately, they don't switch the onsen around, unlike some other ryokans we've been to.
Entrance to the female onsen.
Baskets to store our clothing. Vanity counters and even an exercise bicycle.
As no one was around, I quickly went around taking photos first :p
Bath cubicles where we are supposed to thoroughly bath ourselves first before we can enter the onsen.
The indoor onsen. Temperature of water is quite high!

The outdoor onsen area. I was barefooted and the floor was really icy!
Small, but with a breathtaking view of the river.

The water is less hot than the indoor one coz of the cold air outside with some rain.
I prefered the roten ofuro (outdoor onsen), as the water is less hot and with a wonderful view to enjoy. When I was there, none of the other guests went outside, so I had the onsen all to myself and was literally swimming in it :p But I had to hop back indoors each time as it was butt freezing.
After the soothing soak at the onsen, we felt refreshed and explored the ryokan. There was this display of dolls at the ryokan lobby area which was so pretty.

Don't know what these are called, but so kawaii!

There were seats all over the ryokan for guests to admire the surrounding views.

Throughout the ryokan, we could see many paintings by a famous Japanese poet and painter, Takehisa Yumeji.

Litle cafe/bar near the lobby.
Souvenir shop. It's a norm for Japanese to purchase omiyage (souvenirs) and meibutsu (products associated with a particular region, to give to their co-workers or family members who did not make the trip.

There's even a massage corner near to the onsen area. The therapist is a lady from Shandong province, China. Hubby and I took turns to do the massage, him before dinner and I after.

Upcoming in the next post will be all about food that will have your tastebuds tantalized and send you drooling - our dinner and breakfast at the ryokan:p Stay tuned!!


  1. Such a nice looking ryokan! I'd keep this in mind next time I visit Tokyo.. I love the strawberry cake - Takano is famous for fruits and desserts and I'm especially partial to this strawberry shortcake of theirs!

  2. OKC: Yes, this ryokan is very nice!!