When I first began doing research for our trip and learned about onsens and the Japanese bathing culture, I knew immediately that we had to incorporate an onsen stay into our itinerary. While I’m comfortable with the idea of the shared public facilities (and used them on two occasions), I really wanted to experience a luxury ryokan with private baths.
I should mention that seeking out high-end lodging accommodations is not something we typically do. We usually eschew hotels in favor of apartments or houses booked via Airbnb or VRBO. It’s unusual for us to pay more than $150/night for lodging, and we frequently pay much less. As we don’t care about the traditional hotel amenities, such as concierge, room service, dry cleaning and the like, we aren’t keen to pay for them. In this case, however, it was more about the experience than just finding a place to lay our heads.
We selected Kakurean Hidaji, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Everything about our stay was perfect. Each room has two private onsens – one indoor cedar bath and an outdoor rock bath. As it was raining during our stay, a day of relaxing, soaking in the bath and reading was the ideal way to pass our time.
Both dinner and breakfast were delicious and extravagant, nearly overwhelming in the amount and variety of food served.
We were the only Western guests during our stay, and the service we received felt more personal than commercial. This was truly a unique and memorable experience.