Japan, Keigetsu Ryokan at Higurami Hot Spring in Nagano - Great Hot spring and Japanese room(Tatami)

Travel in June 2018

I traveled to central Japan. This was my first trip to Nagoya, Nagano, in the area. Especially, I was interested in the "Hirugami Onsen(=Hot Spring in English.)" Most hot springs use very high temperature water. This place however, use lower temperature water as hot spring. This story made me interesting. Hot spring water at low temperature! But I planned my trip at the beginning of summer. Can a hot spring trip be fun even in the summer? Of course, when I arrived here, I were able to throw away all those worries.


First lodging is Keigets Ryokan, Nikchoan. This is the place that was built with the traditional Japanese style of architecture, "a traditional house with Tea room." Tea room, I liked the word Tea room. I don't know the style of architecture, but that explanation made me interested in it.



the Ryokan, Kegetsu on the climb

The entrance to the building was not splendid. But the plants were well organized. The floor had small stones like sandbags, and the entrance was wider than I expected. The building was situated slightly above the surface, so it was hard to see the inside. It was very unique. There was a list of customers at the entrance. Nice ryokans and hotels in the Hiragumi area had list with a reserved name on them at the entrance. It showed a classical atmosphere.


I took a shuttle bus to get here. If you want to take a shuttle bus, you have to make a reservation through Ryokan in advance. The hotel then tells you where to take the shuttle bus and it depends on the departure area. This is the most convenient way to get here.




The lobby resembles an old shop street in old Japan.

When I walked into the lobby, the friendly staff bowed low. It made me realize that I was in Japan. In addition, they firendly took my suitcase from the shuttle bus. Inside the building, there was a cafe on one side and the front desk on another. And the other part was the lobby. I was impressed by the small store and unique interior of the lobby here. In particular, it seemed like a reproduction of some of the old shopping streets.




I moved with my room key by a small elevator.

This Ryokan is not a tall building with multiple floors. And like Japan, elevator was very small. I walked around with my room key on the way to my room. The hall with rooms was like a house of various kinds. The door connected with the room looked like a gate to the house. So it was like a gate to an old Japanese house. All the staff I met as I was walking through the hall smiled and said hello to me. The staffs were very nice.





Comfortable Tatami room(=Japanese room) with various room structures.

I heard an explanation of this ryokan's rooms from Ryokan's general manager. He said the rooms here are all different in shape and structure. But when I heard this explanation, I didn't quite understand it. However I saw some of the rooms here, all of which were completely different in structure, interior and shape, I was surprised at them. When the people in the next room came to our room, they were very surprised. "Our room is really different in shape and structure from yours. It is amazing" Each room had a gate that I explained like home, a large space for taking off your shoes, and a small space like the floor of Korean traditional house called Hanok.


I entered the room and lay down for a while. I started traveling at dawn and looked around many places in Japan. And finally, I checked in the Ryokan. It was very hot that day and I could not move without a handy fan. The area of Hiragumi had a cool when the evening. Oh, how nice. Comfortable, cozy and cool breeze. I lay here for a while and began to fall asleep. My roommate asked me to get up quickly and go to the hot springs. Only then did I jump out with my Yukata.




WELCOME SNACK & TEA

There was a cool towel on the desk. Great!! There were tea products and simple tea sets for each room. The tea has a unique, green scent. Tea food was also served for two people. It was similar to Korean desert. Ah! There's no photo, but there was another tea food like jelly, It was also good for tea.





Bathroom, washroom, and Amenities.

When I entered the room, a clerk came in and asked me about my size of Yukata. Thank you for preparing these for each size and organizing things more in my room. The water in the bathroom in the room is not hot spring water. So if you want to enjoy a hot spring bath, you have to go to Public Bathhouse on 1st floor. Each room here was equipped with toner, emulsion, and cleanser. I don't know which brand these products are. The reason why I didn't look carefully at this product is because I brought my cosmetics that I use. Judging from the brand that reads "AQUA VALANCE," it seems to be a Japanese brand. The basic products for body & hair in public bathhouse and rooms were Shiseido Drugstore lines.





A Public bath and Open air bath at Keigetsu Ryokan.

You can separate men's public baths from women's baths with red and blue cloth. Men and women's spaces switch at certain times. Therefore, it is better to check the color of the fabric at the entrance to the public bath. Wearing Yukata, you can put the necessary items for bath in a small pink pocket. With this, you can go to a public bath where you can use a hot spring. Inside the bath was the same as other Japanese hot spring baths. After entering here, you put your luggage in a large basket in the dressing room. Before entering a public bath, take a shower first. In public baths, there was a good brand, cosmetics etc. that are sold in Ryokan. So you don't need to take extra cleansing forms. Both shampoo and rinse are also in the bathroom.



The hot spring water here was very moist, smooth and good. Others have visited many hot springs in Japan. They said the hot spring water here is much more soft and moist than other places. It is known that you can drink hot spring water here. When I sipped new hot spring water here a little bit in public bath, it was not delicious. The hot spring here was not too hot because it was alkaline low water. Of course, staying here for a long time made my face red.



Amazing and Fresh Kaiseki in the evening with friendly staffs at Keigetsu Ryokan.

We asked Ryokan to prepare for Kaiseki as dinner in advance. Kaiseki is a traditional Japanese banquet food. And it allows you to taste the natural and savory taste of the ingredients. Fresh vegetables, fish and meat are used as cooking ingredients. The soup served as Kaiseki was well made with mushrooms and savory ingredients. It was in a chinaware made, a teapot. So I could have it as much soup as I wanted. The fries that were served were so crispy. Shabushabu for single was provided for one person's convenience. The personal small brazier allowed many people to control our own pace of eating. Finally, rice, side dishes, and seasonal fruits for dessert were great.


When we had a Kaiseki, the staffs who served these foods were impressive. They were kind and provided many help to people to have their meals convieniently. Their kindness was the same when we had breakfast. They were careful to have their breakfast at their own pace.




Traditional Ryokan and Modern Convenience Stores

One of the most attractive parts of Keigetsu Ryokan is by far the convenience store in front of it. To the extent that anyone can see how attractive Japanese convenience stores are, they have a variety of desserts and delicious thing. Among them, I love pudding. After finishing trip schedule, I went to a convenience store and bought several puddings. There were also cheese cream pudding including high quality milk from Hokkaido area and original yaki-pudding. Ah...... The taste and the price was good.