Takaragawa Onsen Minakami Reviews
Jul 26, 2007
For the total Japanese spa experience, the spa town of Kusatsu is probably a good bet, but for onsen (hot springs) at their purest and most sublime, it can`t possibly get much better than Takaragawa Onsen, about 2.5 hours north of Tokyo in mountainous Gunma Prefecture. This isn`t a place you come for the accomodation, the food, the service, or even the water (although all are adequate enough to satisfy all but the toughest of critics); instead, the main reason that Takaragawa Onsen is often rated the best in Japan (despite being not that widely known) is the atmosphere of the baths themselves. The onsen complex is set in a forested valley a few km from the small town of resort town of Minakami, and the baths are perfectly integrated into their stunning natural setting. The multiple open-air baths of varying temperatures (all mixed sex, except for one reserved for women only) straddle and overlook the Takara river, which provides an ever-present audio and visual backdrop. A good long soak, with the steam rising up treeward from the surface of the water and only the soothing roar of the river in the background, and I can pretty much guarantee you`ll never look at a plain old hot tub the same way again.
Takaragawa is beautiful enough during the lush green summer, but supposedly even more enjoyable when the valley is ablaze with color in the fall or covered in snow during the winter.
The baths can be easily visited just for the day, but staying overnight gives you the option to use the complex outside the standard (and busiest) daytime hours. The ryokan is charming and traditional, if also a wee bit on the worn side. The service is friendly, and most of the rooms look out onto the river not far below. The food, too, is not the hightlight, but it`s rustic (centered around meats, freshwater fish, and mountain vegetables, in addition to the standard Japanese staples) and abundant -- you`re certainly not going to starve.
Entry into the baths alone costs JPY 1,500 per person for the day. A night in the ryokan inclusive of dinner, breakfast and full access to the baths costs between JPY 14,000 and 30,000, depending on the room and whether you stay on a weekday or weekend night.
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Thanks for Fio on travbuddy who wrote the first review on Takaragawa onsen hot spa, we booked a room at the guest house and totally enjoyed our stay there.We didn't have very good internet connection…Takaragawa onsen hot spa, we booked a room at the guest house and totally enjoyed our stay there. We didn't have very good internet connection last night or this…