Yamagishi Ryokan is a traditional Japanese-style Inn on Lake Kawaguchi, in Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan.
We choose this hotel as it is a traditional Hot Spring hotel with ‘Tatami’-style rooms and ‘Kaiseki’ course menus available. Our room is a good size, and green tea and cookies are waiting upon for us in our room upon arrival. As we arrive slightly later than scheduled, slip into our traditional Yukata robes which are provided for us, and quickly head for the Hot Spring (Onsen) before dinner.
Men and Women are separated into 2 different bathing rooms. We enter the men’s room, take off our Yukata, and wash ourselves thoroughly with the amenities provided prior to entering the hot, soothing waters of the bath tub, big enough to fit about 15 people at a time. Steam that evaporates from the bath is continually replaced by recycled water coming out of the taps.
After about 5 mins and conscious of the time, we quickly head outside in the freezing winter cold and enter the inviting water of the ‘Rotemburo’ – outdoor Japanese hot spring bath; in this case, made of Hinoki wood.
We jump out after 5 mins, dry off, put on our Yukatas, and head to the 3rd floor banquet hall for an amazing Kaiseki degustation Japanese meal. There are so many different plates and sauces filled with mouthwatering delights: Unagi (Eel) marinated and grilled in a light Soy sauce; steak cut into cubes for self- cooking on a ceramic hot top; raw Sashimi-style shrimp and fish; miso soup with crab claws; steamed rice; and I can’t remember what else we had. It was amazing.
After dinner we return to our room to find our Futon beds have been laid out for us. We relax for an hour or so before going for round two at the Onsen.
I sleep well that night.
The next morning I wake up refreshed and take a quick dip in the Onsen which has now changed to what was the female hot spring last night. Like Cinderella, the bath changes very 24 hours at midnight.
The view from the Rotemburo overlooking Kawaguchi Lake is spectacular.
Breakfast is another spectacular sight for the eyes and stomach with an amazing array of Japanese delights including grilled fish, a variety of seaweeds, steamed rice fruit, mountain vegetables, and other little morsels of food that I dare not guess their origins (think fish intestines and the like) – but they are all delicious.
One more quick dip in the hot spring for the last time before checking out swiftly and promptly at 11am.