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Honjin Hiranoya Kachoan Takayama Reviews
Comfortable Ryokan, traditional luxury Apr 07, 2008
This was my first experience staying in a "ryokan", or traditional Japanese inn. The first thing most westerners will notice upon entering the main room is that there is no bed. Instead, you will see a bamboo floor with a small table. Dinner is served in your room upon that table, and mattresses are brought out and laid upon the floor afterwards.
Dinner was quite an experience, and we had over four courses brought in to our table. Each course was very good, with fresh, seasonal vegetables and tasty sashimi. It was here that I had my first taste of raw shrimp, which, despite my facial reaction in the photos below, tasted remarkably similar to cooked shrimp. My only complaint here is that dinner took forever to serve. Not necessarily because of poor service, but just because there were so many courses. I think it took 2.5-3hrs to finish dinner. If you get tired easily, your patience may start wearing thin towards the end.
Sleeping on the bamboo floor was actually quite comfortable, as the mattresses are well-padded.
For breakfast you will have the option of a traditional Japanese breakfast vs. a western breakfast. I would recommend selecting the traditional Japanese breakfast, just for the experience. It might seem a bit unusual to eat fish, rice, and vegetables for breakfast, but it's actually quite tasty and healthy.
There are also a few hot springs here. I only frequented the hot spring next to the main hotel lobby, but it was comfortable, clean, and relatively deserted. I went to the hot springs maybe 3-4 times, and only one time did I see anyone else there. For those unfamiliar with hot springs, like I was, these tips may come in handy:
1) Go down to the hot springs in your robe/kimono
2) Put your clothes in a "locker" basket and exit the "locker" room
3) Shower and clean yourself at the showers located next to the hot springs before you go into the pool. For extra excitement, try the black shampoo and conditioner.
4) Enjoy the hotsprings while being careful not to pass out from the extreme heat.
Disclaimer: We initially reserved the cheapest option at this hotel, but they upgraded us to a nicer room for free. I'm not sure how much this room would have cost otherwise, but it was very nice! The room and dinner were almost certainly better than what we would have paid for otherwise, and it may be worth seeing if they are amenable to a free upgrade if it seems like the hotel isn't too busy.
Part of the Japan 2008 travel blog
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