All posts tagged: Onsen

Unwinding in Hokkaido with an Onsen Hotel

When in Hokkaido, don’t miss a trip to visit Lake Shikotsu 支笏湖 and stay at this quiet yet luxurious onsen hotel. Tsuruga Mizu no Uta is an onsen spa and resort located in the Shikotsu-Toya National Park. With a warm fireplace and well-designed communal spaces, Tsuruga Hotel had me when I walked into the lobby and saw people roasting marshmallows in yukatas. It is rare to find such an effortless blend of modernity with Japanese onsen culture. Oh and the food! In the mornings, we enjoyed traditional Japanese breakfasts with our own clay pot of steamed rice. With the rice, we indulged in unlimited ikura and fresh sashimi. Dinner comes with a selection of sake, and each guest is served a plated main dish alongside the buffet. By the end of our weekend stay, we tried everything from wagyu beef to local Hokkaido produce. While Mizu no Uta is off-the-beaten path, it is well worth the trek for those that want a cozy retreat from the hustle and bustle of Sapporo city. I rarely share …

Spirited Away to Gero, Japan (Part I.)

Although Taiwan’s Jiufen is the original inspiration for Hayao Miyazakai’s Spirited Away, Gifu Prefecture’s enchanting Japanese bathhouses will leave you with the same sense of awe Chihiro felt when she first stepped foot into Yubaba’s bustling bathhouse. Gero, located in Gifu prefecture, is considered one of the top three hot springs location in Japan. With a myriad of public foot onsens, traditional bathhouses, and the gorgeous Hida river running through, Gero is a quaint town with big views to boast. Alex, my beloved friend from university that I met through my Japanese class, is here for the week and we thought, what better way to start a Japan tour than some hot springs exploring? (“Alex Who Came From the Stars,” is the funny title I came up with for Alex’s quirky eating and traveling habits–I swear I’ll make it into a movie one day Alex!) So with a location in mind, and a reservation at a gorgeous ryokan, we set off for Gero, Japan. Tip #1 for traveling in Japan? Buy some snacks and an お弁当 (bento box) for your long journey because …