I visited Shima Onsen in March/April 2017. It was easy to get to from Tokyo via bus. I booked a room at Kashiwaya Ryokan and they provided detailed instructions on where to catch the bus. Once in Shima Onsen my partner and I explored the town. It was very beautiful and picturesque, you could hear the streams and water flowing and the air was clean and pure.
We ate delicious curry at Kashiwaya Cafe and walked to the Kashiwaya Ryokan. Once there we were greeted warmly, and shown around the property. We took this time to enjoy the private outdoor baths. We chose Kashiwaya because tattoos were permitted. I really wanted to experience the traditional bath house experience and I have tattoos so I was grateful for their policy. After relaxing in the private baths, we returned to our room to prepare for dinner. They brought several courses to our room. My personal favorite was the specialty beef of the region. We were able to cook the beef on a tiny grill that they brought into our room.
Our evening was relaxing and breakfast in the morning was very good. After our meal we spent the rest of the morning hiking around the area. I highly recommend going to Shima Onsen and taking in all of the natural beauty. It shows another side of Japan that you wouldn’t get to see if you only stay in Tokyo.
One thing I forgot to mention was even though we were there during the end of winter/early spring the nature was strikingly beautiful. We would wake up and go to the baths for the beautiful views of the snow covered mountains with mist in the air.