I have created a first basic plan for the trip and checked the train connection. I tried to find a perfect combination of the different JRPs. Now I should check if there are hotels available.
The first hotel was easy: Hotel Edoya. My second home in Tokyo (room no 307) is available. I book it with a click. The following is only possible in Japan: Two years ago I forgot my tripod and my Kendo equipment in the hotel, more precisely: I had to leave most of it because of overweight at the airport luaggage scale. The second hotel was also very quick. In Kanazawa I booked the Sumiyoshi, a traditional ryokan.
After that it start to getting tricky. Oosaka is big. I skip this one and take care of the tiny places, before everything is booked out. First Kusatsu. I first attempt two days ago failed. Looks like January 2nd is a deal braker. Without this date everything is fine, but still very expensive ($200 or above.)
This is a little bit too pricy for me. So I am searching japanese websites. After a while I am able to read the important buttons. The searchs tooks hours. But we have a winner: Ryokan Kiyoshigekan.
Nun die Quizfrage, die auch über die Auswahl des Japan Rail Pass entscheidet. Wenn ich in Kanto bleibe, kann ich alles umgruppieren und ein paar Euro sparen. Die erste Versuch ist Minakawa. Das Onsen dort ist der Hammer. Man sitzt mitten im Wald an einem Flußlauf. Der Preis ist stolz: 240€. Aber es ist ausgebucht. Ich brauche gar nicht erst überlegen. Auch die anderen Herbergen sich voll. Mit Ikaho ergeht es mir nicht besser.
Now I have to take care of this Japan Rail issue. If I stay in Kanto on my onsen tour I can buy several tickts instead of the all over JRP and save some money. Minakawa would do the trick. The onsen is awesome. You are sitting in the middle of the forest next to a river. But a night costs $300 and all hotels seems to b booked out. The some in Ikaho.
Shibu Onsen comes into my mind. It is onlz 35 miles away from Kusatsu. But the road is closed in winter. So you have to take the train over Nagano. That takes 4 hours. But Ryokan Uotoshi (I was there in 2004) has a free room. Seems to be an option. I declare this idea to be plan B.
Back to the search for plan A. There is one onsen left nearby. It is Bessho onsen. The oldest onsen mentioned in documents. There are public onsens an some temples. Everything you need for a relaxing day. But it is verz famous. Could be a disadvantage (availibility and price). Again I am searching Japanese websites for hours. The Uematsu is available.
The website looks pricy. 10000 yen. This really is the limit. But dinner and breakfast are included. Usually you have to pay extra for it. To prevent another Finnair-problem I book the hotel. Now my hotel list is:
- Kanazawa: Sumiyoshi Ryokan [webpage]
- Bessho Onsen: Uematsuya Ryokan [Link] [webpage]
- Kusatsu Onsen: Kiyoshigekan Ryokan [webpage]
- Tokyo: Hotel Edoya [webpage]
Now only Oosaka, Narita, Shinakawa-ko and Kiso-valley are missing. Now I can adjust the JRP. Bessho Onsen is located in Kanto. And I am back at the beginning. Kobo or Wakamatsu or both? Today I am tending to Wakamatsu. This needs an adjust to the train tickets. Oh boy. This is gettng complicated. So I postpone the decision to tomorrow morning. Then I hopefully have some answers from Narita and Shirakawa.