At the beginning of March, with spring just over the horizon, I was off to Takayama in Gifu prefecture. My itinerary was a 2-night, 3-day excursion, which included catching a bus to Oku-Hida hot spring town's Hirayu Onsen, taking in the dynamic scenery of the Northern Japanese Alps with the help of the Shinhotaka Ropeway, and then heading by bus to Matsumoto in Nagano prefecture before catching a Chuo line train back to Tokyo. Keep reading to find out how it all went down!
To visit Kira no Sato is not like traveling to big cities such as Tokyo, Osaka or even the historic old capitol of Kyoto. To visit Kira no Sato is experience rural Japan, to stay in a traditional Japanese resort ryokan, complete with the air of rest and relaxation that it embodies.
Soothing onsen, gourmet cuisine, stunning views, traditional design, heartfelt service... it is amazing how many unique characteristics can be conjured up by a single word: ryokan. This time around, I decided to stay at Komeya, the "gourmet ryokan" with an emphasis on cuisine, essentially the Japanese version of an auberge.
I arrived at Shuzenji Onsen in late October, before the fall leaves had completely turned. I had come to the area to stay at Kikuya, a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) that was renowned for its old-world architecture and distinctly Japanese baths. Roughly located at the center of the Izu Peninsula, the Shuzenji Onsen area is home to three spots that captured a coveted two-star rating (three being the maximum) in the 2009 edition of the respected French guidebook, Michelin Green Guide Japon: Shuzenji (the central shrine), Chikurin no Komichi (a wooded pathway) and Shigetsuden (a temple).
Kyoto: Japan's historical and cultural heart, capital for over 1,000 years, and popular destination for travellers across the world. When travelling to Kyoto, make sure to book your bullet train tickets and accommodation together at JAPANiCAN.com!