Because of its location this ryokan was not my first choice. Originally I wanted to stay in Magome but everything was booked. So I decided for Tsumago. Also here the location outside of the town was not perfect. But, there was this feeling, that it still is a good idea. And I was not wrong.
The building is a little bit confusing. It looks like it was expanded twice. My room was in the new appendix. The tatami was standard size, but without shower and toilet. They were right next to my room. The onsen was downstairs. The personal was kind and helpful, like always in Japan. But I still have to thank the owner of the ryokan for the help on my arrival. He allowed me to arrive far after curfew and he also ordered a taxi to pick me up.
Surrounding: The Hanaya is located outside of Tsumago at the Nakasendo. Around the ryokan there is nothing to see. A walk downhill to Tsumago takes 15 minutes. But the location is still ok if you want to visit Tsumago and Magome. Because is lies at the Nakesendo you can pick up some proviant before you follow the Nakasendo.
Getting There: A bus is going from the nearest train station to Tsumago. Some busses go further to Magome and stop close to the ryokan. I suggest to take a taxi. Don’t walk. The way is uphill and long. If covered with snow and ice, it is nearly impossible to walk it with heavy luggage. If you still want to try it: You have to pass the old city center and walk further until you leave the town are reach at street 256. Turn left. After a little bit more than a quarter mile the street 7 is on the right. Follow the street until you cross the bridge. The Hanaya is the first building on the right side.
I believe it is official now: The Edoya is my second home. Like on every journey before I stayes there twice. And I lived in room 307. For a description of the hotel ust refer to my Journey 2010. This time a reognized a brand new air condition in my room. Many thanks to the personal of the hotel. At every ourney the provided me with good information and help that then became a highlight of my holiday.
- 2004: Shrine plates of Yushima Tenmangu / help during the cash money crisis
- 2008: Nezu Shrine during Azaleen blossom / my kendo armor
- 2010: dance festival Koenji-Awa-Odori
- 2012: New Year at Kane-ji
My advise to all tourist: Book a small ryokan and ask the personal for things to do. Ask them for a good restaturant or Izakaya. The answer never match the suggestions from the travel guide but are always good. The “locals” know where to go.
It is a typical ryokan onsen of the mid-price section. It is a modern concrete-building that provide heated hallways. Breakfast and dinner are served in a big tatami room. I was lucky to be there after new year: breakfast was a little bit bigger than usual. My room was a tatami style room in 6F. The onsen is located in 4F and down the hallway. Like always the inside onsen was a little bit to hot for me but the rotenburo was perfect.
Surrounding: The surrounding. Arriving at the train station the ryokan is on the other side of the village. But Bessho onsen is not that big. There many public onsen available, and also three temples. Discovering Bessho takes 2 hours, the rest of the time is for onsen.
Getting there: The train to Bessho onsen is not Japan rail, therefore the JRP is not valid. From the station you just have to follow the main road thru the village. It is a 800m walk slightly uphill. You pass a temple on the left. Behind the temple you see a small public onsen. The Uematsuya is now on the right side ahead of you. Look for the Kanji.
Kiyoshigekan is a typical Onsen Ryokan. Breakfast and Dinner are served in a big room. You can sit on tatami or at a table. My room was a tatami room with private toilet but without a bath room; you use the onsen area anyway. There is a public onsen with rotenburo and also a private onsen and another one with rotenburo. After 8pm there is also the option to convert the public onsen into private onsen. The inside onsen was to hot for me. The rotenburo was ok thanks to the 17°F air temperature.
Surrounding: The ryokan is located at the rim of the city. You walk 10-15 minutes to the city center, where all the attraction are. In winter time, on icy pavements, not easy. The street is very quit the buildings next to the ryokan are private houses. Therefore the ryokan is quiet and relaxing.
Getting There: The bus terminal of Kusatsu is at a main road. Follow that road in east direction until you arrive highgway 292. Turn left. It is a quarter mile walk downhill. You arrive a super market on the left. A few meter behind the market there is a small street on the right side going uphill. There is also a small sign with the name of the Ryokan. Follow that small street. At the you go left and turn left on the second street. In total it is a walk of a little bit more than a half mile.
Richmond Hotel Narita / リ ッ チ モ ン ド ホ テ ル 成 田
970 Hanasaki-cho, Narita, Chiba, 286-0033 Japan
P: +81.476.24.6660 / F: +81.476.24.6661
The last stop of this journey was a business hotel close to the airport. The are usually cheaper than a ryokan. I decided for the Richmond that is 8 min away from Narita train station.
The Richmond is a business hotel. You get a western-style room, breakfast bueffet and a small bar at the evenign. Everything in the hotel is functional: The breakfast room is the bar. The room is small /compact with a bath-room-cubicle. The design is minimal and modern. You can check-in with your credit card, either at the reception desk or a terminal next to it. Check-out only requires to give back the key card.
Surrounding: Narita is compact. There a nice shopping street from the train stations down to be temple. The hotel itself is not at this street, but I mentioned that the train station is only 8 min away (with luggage, 5 without).
Getting there: Follow the street, that is parallel to the train tracks, downhill. Change to the other side of the traintracks and you see Hotel at the next street cross.
Ryokans in winter time:
The hall ways are not heated. There it is always chilly outside of your room. But single glas windows and no heating covering the hallways is normal for Japan. Something you have to know before you start to plan. The same goes for th bath room. Outside the tub it can be cold. If you don’t like it, you need to book a high price ryokan or a western style hotel.