17/11/2019 at 10:49 AM #587Ryan LackeyGuest
I felt that I should spend my 40th birthday in another land and I wanted to experience Japan, so I hopped on a plane and went with no set plans as I just wanted to explore.
As I ventured around Tokyo people told me to visit an onsen, but there was a problem, I had tattoos that were impossible to cover up at a regular establishment in the city. It seemed that there was still a stigma against displaying tattoos in public, so I was out of luck in Tokyo. A friend of mine whom had visited Japan before said to broaden my search, so that’s how I found Shima Onsen a ways north.
I figured out how to get a ticket and hopped a bus out of Shinjuku and a couple hours later I was there … a sleepy little town from an age past that quietly (very quietly) went about its business. I had poor phone reception and there was nobody around … so I wondered until I found it.
I was early, but they took my bags and kept checking on me while I waited to occupy my room. I felt a very pleasant urge to go along with the customs there, so I donned a complimentary yukata and admired my humble, but well appointed space.
The room was very traditional Japanese with only a few sitting pillows and a small table in a breakfast nook-like area. The other standard features (dresser, fridge and tv) were cleverly hidden in the wall cabinets.
Enter Yuki … the lady that helped me the whole visit. She showed me how to wear the clothes, how to order and eat dinner traditionally, to set out the bed and even sat and chatted with me in-between the three dinner courses consisting of several small plates. Very friendly and her English was very good, it made me want to try to speak more Japanese.
After dinner I made my way to one of the three pools, each had a charming aesthetic. One was a giant half-barrel straight out of Spirited Away! I made sure to visit each one at least once. They were on a hill side with a one-way entry door so only one party at a time could enter a pool. The view from the pool showed off the snow capped mountains and the brightly lit stars.
I slept like a log in a fluffy futon bed.
I visited the pools one last time before a full breakfast of many small dishes. I had never had natto before! It was delicious and filling.
The entire staff made sure to greet me and see me off, so I truly felt like they enjoyed the visit as much as I did. I would go back in a heartbeat. Escape Tokyo and relax in the most peaceful and friendly onsen I’ve ever seen. Go to Shima Onsen Kashiwaya Ryokan.
24/11/2019 at 3:51 PM #616masuoKeymaster
Dear Ryan san.
Thank you for taking the time to leave this long and heartwarming review with us!
We are very glad you enjoyed our stay.
And thanks again for mentioned about our staff Yuki.
She is becoming very happy to read your review.
We will do our best for welcoming the guest from all over the world.
We are looking forward to seeing you again!