Archives for the day Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

Yassy’s Japan Trip Diary November 2012; Day 3 Part 4

 The 3rd day in Japan, after visiting Matsumoto castles, we have headed to the hotel we were to stay for a night.

 To read more on Matsumoto castle in the previous entry titled “Yassy’s Japan Trip Diary Nov 2012;Day 3 Part 3”,please click here.

 Since castle requires my grandmother long work and great number of stair steps, my parents and my grandmother decided to head back to the hotel before us (my sister’s family and my husband and I).

 Therefore, me and my husband rode the car with my sister’s family to the hotel.

Lake Suwa view from hotel..

 The hotel my father reserved was very close to Lake Suwa and the scenery was very beautiful. It was very relaxing,and soothing,and I liked the view from the hotel.

 If we had more time to stay in Nagano prefecture, we would have strolled around the lake and enjoy more nature..

 When we arrived at the hotel, it was close to the dinner time, but we wanted to experience “Onsen” (hot springs) they are famous for, and we have made the private Onsen reservation first.

 We reserved 1 hour long private Onsen time at about $25.

 As you know, Japan is volcanic land,and the country has more than 2,000 hot springs (“Onsen” ) throughout the country, and often times, they became resort area.

 The hot springs water temperature in general is higher than 77F, and each hot spring water is said to have been good for the specific disease such as rheumatism, neuralgia,respiratory disorder etc.. and it is also known to be good for overall health.

 For example, in northern island “Hokkaido”, there is “Utase-yu”,which is pelting water, and they are known to be good for massage effect for rheumatism and neuralgia.

 Another one in Nagano prefecture, there is a cave hot springs -“Do-kutsu buro” in Japanese,  and they are called “Seni hot springs”.

 All of these “which onsen is good for what disorder” is because of the difference in the amount of minerals in the water;different type of mineral provides different health benefits.

 Normally, Onsen is public open-air outdoor bathing area to enjoy natural scenery surrounding the location while you enjoy hot springs.

 The Onsen rooms are often times offered 3 ways: separated by gender,mixed gender,or  private in addition to the choice of outdoor or indoor room.

 Staying at the hot spring hotel is recommended because you can stay at the hotel and when you want to experience Onsen, all you need to do is to visit the specific level in the buildings to enjoy Onsen area.

 The reason why we reserved the private Onsen area was because my husband got tattoo on his body,and hotels,Inn, or any other public places such as “Onsen”,”swimming pool”,”sauna” etc.. in Japan do not allow those who has tattoo on them  in the area.

 It is probably because common view in Japan for tattoo is closely associated with yakuza (Japanese gang group),and tattoo is not accepted as fashion statement as much as America does.

 Therefore, we reserved the private Onsen area (if it were private ones, whether you have tattoo or not is not a problem.), and me and my husband enjoyed some time together at the indoor and outdoor private Onsen room area.

 After that, other family member enjoyed the private Onsen area.

 Public Onsen area is free of charge,by the way, and some of my family member enjoyed public Onsen room area next morning while we took a bath inside our hotel room.

 Even if you stay at the Onsen hotel,your room still have private bath and,you can take a bath at any time.

 After everyone enjoyed quick Onsen time, it was dinner time.

 My father reserved Chinese restaurant inside the Onsen Hotel and, we had Chinese food for dinner.

Chinese food dinner…

 We were pretty tired by then,and we just looked around souvenir area and back to room, watched some TV shows and went to bed.

 Here is the room we stayed in.

Onsen hotel room..

 As you can see, the room is tatami room.

 As you have read in the previous entry titled “Ryotei restaurants in Japan“, tatami is
traditional Japanese flooring and made of rice straws, and usually each
tatami mat is rectangular shape, and it has cloth kind of thing all
around the edge (see the blue-ish thing on the floor).

 If you see a picture above,
you will notice that not all tatami mats are placed the same way.
Generally, when you talk about room size here in the states, you will
expect to hear the word “xx square foot”, but in Japan, room with tatami
mat floor is measured according to how many tatami mats are there.

 You will use the room without your shoes on.

 In Japan, you need to take off your shoes at the entrance,and then go in to the room.

 As you can see, the room provides hot water with tea leaves so you can make hot tea by yourself and as complimentary snack,they give customers a few packages of small snack to enjoy along with the tea they offer.

 You can also notice that there are white rolls on the plate on the low table.It is what we call “Oshibori” (wet cloth towel rolled and packaged in the sealed bag).

 It is for you to clean your hands.Often times, they are hot/warm.

 Many Japanese restaurant serve the Oshibori at the table in stead of thin wet paper towel you cannot clean your hands off as much.

 Another thing you notice on your left corner in the picture;the pink clothe in the container, is thin kimono to wear at the hotel and sleep in with it.

 Pink one was mine and blue one was my husband.

 You may wonder where is the bed in the room.

 The hotel has Futon for you to sleep on.

 Usually, maid will prepare the futon for you while you are having dinner.

 I know people understand what “Futon” is in the states but what they think is “Futon” is not really “futon” we use back home in Japan.

 Futon is the name of the traditional Japanese bedding.

 In Japan, “Futon” set is folded and stored in the Oshiire (small closet), and every
night, you will make a bed directly on tatami mat or wooden floor.

times, if you live in the room with wooden floor, you would place a
mattress underneath the “Futon” for extra cushion.

 These mattress are air out in the balcony, and it usually has cover for you to wash frequently.

 On top of the mattress , you will put “Futon” and, it is much
pliable,softer, and thinner than American “Futon” from “Futon” couch,
and often times, traditional bottom part of “Futon” are stuffed with
cotton. This bottom part of “Futon” is called “Shiki buton”. It has
sheet cover also and,you can take it away and wash frequently.

 The reason behind why Japanese style “Futon” being softer,pliable,and
thinner is that we, Japanese people, air “Futon” on balcony by hanging
them under the sun, and it is easier for us to maneuver and since we put
away “Futon” every morning into Oshiire room, “Futon” being thin and
softer has great benefit.

 Top part of “Futon” bed is also soft,comforter and comes with cover and
you can wash the cover frequently and air the top part of “Futon” in
balcony. This top part of “Futon” is called “Kake buton”, and when hot
summer comes, we use light weight cover instead of “Kake buton”.
Traditional Japanese pillow is called “Makura” in Japanese, and it is
filled with red beans or buckwheat chaff.

  At our house back in Japan, me and mother put out “Futon” to air in the balcony in the morning and put away around afternoon.

 Japan is quite humid and we air “Futon” set in the balcony and we beat
the futon mat with tool called “Futon Tataki” before bringing the
“Futon” set back into the room. We do this to get rid of dust,allergen
in the “Futon” mat.

You can read more on Futon in the previous entry titled “Japanese style Futon” here.

 At your home, you will be making Futon to go to bed or put it away when you wake up, but when you stay at the hotel, maid is the one that take care of it.

 Because of that, there is a small security box in the room that comes with the key and,you are supposed to put your valuables in there and lock it up.

 The room also comes with mini fridge/bar too.

 At night, the night view from the room was nice.

Night view from hotel..

 Only problems though, as you might notice the cross mark where helicopter lands for emergency situation for hospitals, there was a hospital next to us, and we kept hearing non stop ambulance noise throughout the night and we did not have much good sleep because of that.

 Next morning, we will be visiting Zenkouji temple. The famous temple in Nagano prefecture.

 Stay tuned!

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Mar 19, 2013 | 0 | Uncategorized