Guests are encouraged to treat themselves with pampering care through their baths and on-site massage. The ryokan provides a public bathand a rental private baththat can be enjoyed by friends and family. Hanaougi Bettei Iiyama provides bicycles that are free to use. After such activities, Japanese cuisine can be enjoyed at their restaurant with their dinner course.
The location of Hanaougi Bettei Iiyama is near to tourist attractions like Hida Kokubun Temple and Hidatakayama Museum. Guests can also drive to a traditional village known as Shirakawa. Takayama is currently a place restricted for traveling due to the coronavirus, but tourists are welcome to plan their activities once border restrictions are lifted. The inn is accessible by its free shuttle from the JR Takayama Station.
Japanese have a choice of more than 3,000 hot springs bubbling up from the volcanic fault lines that run through the islands. This is mostly good, except for the occasional earthquake. But that hasn’t stopped entrepreneurs from creating hotels to exploit the ancient custom of retreat to an onsen, favored way to take a step away from the Japanese crush of population and karoshi (working yourself to death).
That sounds serene. It might be. But note, hotels around the hot springs vary, from ultimate tranquility of a traditional ryokan experience to commercialized hotels with screaming kids and noisy video games.
The more traditional Japanese spa-based ryokans used to be typically nearly impossible to manage for non-Japanese natives. They did not cater to westerners who didn’t understand the customs. They did not take credit cards They did not include any romaji (western alphabet), meaning you had better memorize the kanji for male and female entrances.
That seems to be changing. Some of the most exclusive ryokans have opened their tatami mats to the ganji (non-Japanese). One of them is Iiyama in Takayama. This makes some sense, as Takayama, about three and a half hours by train from Tokyo (change at Nagoya), has become quite touristy for its proximity to Shirakawa-go, a world heritage site.
Iiyama has a reputation among the Japanese as one of the country’s top hot springs. That is not only for its traditional architecture and small size (only a handful of rooms), but for the quality of its water. Iiyama calls it a sodium hydrogen carbonate spring. Perhaps we would call it sodium bicarbonate, and it comes naturally from the earth at this site. The water leaves a silky feel to the skin, particularly favored for what ails us. Japanese also value Iiyama onsen because it purportedly does not add water to either heat or cool the spring, as many onsens must.
To be noted, Iiyama does not feature beautiful mountain or ocean views, a little bit of a disappointment. On the plus side, a small ryokan like this means you’ll likely have the onsen to yourself. I did.
Traditional ryokan dinners comprise dozens of small dishes exquisitely prepared and elegantly served. Iiyama features local Japanese-style beef, grill it yourself on a hibachi. Dinner and breakfast are usually included in a hot spring experience. (Alcohol costs extra, though Iiyama did offer us a free bottle of wine or sake.) Japanese normally spend just one night to take the waters. Some rooms here feature a private in-room hot spring. Professional ryokan staff in kimonos attend to your every need, seeming always to know just when to serve the next course, and when to bow (all the time). You become the emperor, if only for a day.
Becoming emperor for a day does demand, well, considerable means. Iiyama is not cheap. Cost per person varies depending on season and features, but if you want the best suite with private spring, prepare to pay multiple thousands of yen. We paid about $600 for two, for one night. Okay, but keep in mind January is a popular season here for snow-lovers, and the sumptuous meals are included. And no tipping in Japan.
A very traditional ryokan, very clean and quiet. Staff were very helpful and friendly. They tried to accommodate our miscellaneous requests like shuttle bus and luggage arrangements. The room was large and very clean. We enjoyed the public onsen and we could feel the water was full of minerals. Everything was well equipped (towels, comb, etc.) in the public bathroom. Food was excellent and we enjoyed hida beef very much.
The only thing could be improved is about the meals. We found each meal was served in a bit of rush while we were still having a dish, the next one or two dishes arrived. Other than this, everything was perfect!
Fantastic services. Excellent food. High quality hot spring water and onsen.
What I like the most are onsen and services, the hot spring quality is one of the best from my experience. Also very impressed with their services, from the first step in and when I left the place. Breakfast and dinner is in a private room, it's really good for people who need privacy. Wonderful trip for staying two night in this place. Recommend to everyone who want to experience onsen ryokan. This is one of the best ryokan I have ever stayed.
Whau - So good
To stay in a Ryokan is a very special experience and if you ask me, a must do when in Japan.
This Ryokan was perfect, and the staff, service, rooms everything was above even good standard. The food was extra special and very good, but it is Japanese 🙂 They also offer private Onsen.
I highly recommend this place.
Beautiful place for relaxation
This is a wonderful place to have the Riokan experience in Japan 🇯🇵. The food is really good and the service as well. I strongly recommend the Japanese massage they are really professional. Beautiful place.