Opened in 2019, Onyado Yui no Sho is a 4-star accommodation and considered to be a top ryokan located in Shirakawa. It is a traditional Japanese inn offering services like its gender-segregated open-air hot spring baths or its rental bathsthat can be enjoyed exclusively by friends and families. The inn has also an on-site sauna where guests are invited to pamper themselves. It has a restaurant,bar, and lounge, where guests can chat and spend quality time. Guests can appreciate the mountain views available in their rooms, which cost around 20,000 to 30,000 JPY per night.
The ryokan is near famous World Heritage Sites like the historic village of Shirakawa-go. The village displays distinct features like the gassho-zukuri design and a cultural atmosphere that can be visited by guests during their stay at the inn. Takayama is currently a place restricted for traveling due to COVID-19, but tourists are welcome to plan their activities once border restrictions are lifted by the Government of Japan. Guests can take a shuttle bus from the Shirakawa-go Bus Terminal or rides coming from Toyama Airport.
I used to like staying in quaint hotels. Faded grandeur in particular; you know, old castles and manor houses with enormous, though rather dusty, chandaliers, gigantic bathtubs with clanking pipes. Or indeed pittoresque small Parisian hotels with a quirky (read: rude) concierge, different quilts and interesting but not very good paintings on the walls.
In Japan, quaint means Ryokan, and that usually means sleeping on a futon on the floor, something which was fine forbyour first student flat but is now just unbearable. Alsi, these futons are on tatami mats, which are guaranteed to either a) stink, b) contain interesting zoology and / or c) give you instant hay feber.
It also means eating whilst sitting on the floor, since that is what you did 300 years ago and chairs and tables are, I don’t know, the devil’s work? Or we’ve never heard or them?
Plus, no private bathroom, so you have to shower next to many orher naked people, and in Japan you shower by sitting on a tiny plastic stool and throwing water from a bucket over your head, for some unfathomable reason, which in turn means that when the fellow next to you stands up, his crotch or anus is exactly level with your head. You mist also wash yourself very, how shall I put this, vigorously and thoroughly, no crevice or orifice left unsoaped, scrubbed and rinse multiple times. After this you proceed, still starkers, into a sort of large jacuzzi, but without any jet streams, in which you must absolutely not swim, but rather gently waddle, if moving at all. This, my friends, is the absolute highlight of Japanese existance. Poems have been written about it for millennia. You pay small fortunes for being mere inches away from the sagging scrotums of your fellow man. Well, I guess, at least the scrotums are clean. We must be thankful for any mercies that are bestowed upon us.
Anyhoo. I digress.
So. I nowadays prefer to visit quaint places, very briefly, but not staying in them if I can possibly avoid it. Now, if you are trekking in Bhutan, say, this might not be possible. Fine. But if I can reasonably easily avoid rustic quaintness, I do so.
Which is why this place is perfect for visiting Shirakawa-go, which is quaintness galore. But if you stay here, only the lobby is a converted ’kominka’ with gigantic hardwood beams and cathedral-high ceilings. The guestrooms do have tatami mats but the hotel is 8 months old so no smell or accompaning menagerie, and you don’t sleep on a futon either, you sleep in a bed! And you have a proper bathroom! And the restaurant has tables and chairs!
And serves amazing foods.
So perfect, really. This is the only place to stay in Shirakawa, unless you are a the sort of person who...no, let’s not go there. You know who you are.
Amazing Amenities with Michelin-Quality Food
Due to mistake in our original booked hotel, we had to cancel it and search for a new accommodation. Onyado Yuinosho was the only hotel in Shirakawago that had a room left that we could book very last min, just the day before arriving. Though the price per night was higher than what we would have normally pay for our holiday accommodation, it turned out to be the most memorable stay we ever had and ever cent we paid for it felt super worthed.
We were mind blown by the size of our room. All of our accommodation even in previous ryokans have typically been tight but Onyado Yuinosho did not skimp on providing the best. Not only was there a walkway into the room with a separate lounge area, the shower and toilet are separate. Free yukatas with 3 different coats are available for us to change into.
Besides public onsens, two private onsens were available. If the Japanese style pillow isn't to your liking, there's different types of pillow (with new cases) that you can grab from the third floor. More yukatas are available for those who wish to change into for photos. Fun colouring activities for kids are available as well.
Our 1N stay included dinner and breakfast. We weren't expecting much initially but when food was served - WOW. Ever single dish was so exquisitely presented. Not only did they looked good, they tasted even better. It almost felt like a Michelin Kaiseki meal.
The cleanliness, superb new amenities and FOOD had definitely surpassed our expectations and clearly justified the higher price we paid to stay in this hotel. Highly recommend anyone visiting Shirakawago to stay here, even just for a night.
Excellent place to stay while visiting Shirakawa-go
In order to be able to visit Shirakawago for the night lighting show, we joined a tour out of Tokyo. Tour included a stay at Onyado Yuinosho and with 10 course kaiseki dinner as well as a full Japanese breakfast. Rooms were large and comfortable and Included a grind-your-own morning coffee. Dinner was a real experience, with a large variety of small dishes, fish and meat, vegetables, pickles, ... Breakfast was also beautifully laid out with fish, egg, pickles and rice. It was a great experience.
When management goes the extra mile for a sick child
Please take the time to read this review as we are very grateful and lost for words for the thoughtful acts of kindness by the hotel management and its staff.
First we arrived Shirakawa-go bus station on the 22nd Dec 2019 at 16:00, first I have emailed them of our approximate arrival time and they told me that their shuttle bus time schedule leaves at 15:30 and 16:45 at the bus terminal which means we had to wait about 45 minutes at the station. However the hotel shuttle bus arrived at 16:15 just to pick us (group of 9 people) up which was very nice of them to do.
Upon arrival the hotel was exquisite, check in was easy, the rooms are very spacious with tatami mats and twin beds (almost 2x queen bed sizes) and an extra futon mattress, pillow and blanket if required. The room includes a traditional coffee grinder, coffee beans, tea, teacups and a teapot. Dinner was arranged so that we all sat together privately and the food was authentic to the area and a must try. We were also given 3 seats per room for breakfast (which was also wonderful) and dinner.
There are also 2 private open-air onsens and 2 public onsens (male & female), free ice-pops, tea, coffee and water dispenser 24 hours a day, free amazake (sake) upon arrival, vending machine, fresh pijamas and others.
What comes after are events that we'll never forget.
22:00 - Our youngest daughter had a 40 degree celcius fever and we did not bring sufficient medicines to treat her. We asked hotel staff for medicine and they had some general mix paracetamol which we already brought with us, but nothing else to help bring the fever down.
We asked if there was a clinic or hospital nearby but the clinic was closed and closest hospital was in the next town 40 mins drive away. They could arrange for an ambulance nearby to take us there but since it was late, there was no transport back unless we took a taxi which would be very costly.
22:45 - Our daughter's fever has not subsided and we decided to go to the hospital. When we informed the hotel staff (Ms. Tamako Okamoto), she said that she had spoken to her manager and he would take us to the hospital and drive us back but we had to go now. We were so happy of the offer and prepared to make the trip.
23:00 - Ms. Tamako Okamoto informed us that they had contacted the hospital of our impending arrival and the hotel manager Mr. Kayamori had already prepared a car outside to take us there. When we went out, he said the car was too small for the 4 of us (my wife, daughter, a friend and myself) so he went and changed the car to the shuttle bus instead. In heavy snowfall he drove us 40 mins to the next town hospital.
23:45 - We arrived at the hospital and Mr. Kayamori helped us with the hospital reception, he has also brought a mini translator device with him and helped us whenever a nurse of doctor asked us questions in Japanese which we did not understand. He stayed with us all night and even waited outside the children's waiting room to give us space and privacy. He accompanied us through every step of the way.
00:50 - When everything was done and we were ready to leave the hospital, upon stepping outside, the bus was already waiting on the porch with the engine running. Mr. Kayamori had went outside earlier when he anticipated we were about to leave soon, brought the car closer from the parking lot, left the engine running to keep the car warm when we entered.
01:00 - We had to stop by the petrol station to fill up and although I offered to pay for the petro, Mr. Kayamori kindly refused and said he had to use their member card to pay for it.
01:30 - We arrived back at the hotel and again I sincerely offered Mr. Kayamori some cash for his troubles and again he kindly refused. I insisted but again I was rejected, at that point I was concerned if I would be deemed rude in the Japanese culture if I had kept insisting for him to receive the cash, so instead I gave him my heartful thanks (Domo Arrigato Gozaimashita), bowed and went inside.
Thankfully my child's fever had receded in 24 hours and recovered fully after 2 days. She had hand-foot-mouth-disease (HFMD) that she possibly contracted on the aeroplane or before we left for Japan 3 days earlier.
Throughout the whole trip, Mr. Kayamori was always smiling, never looked tired or felt obligated to help us. He did not just drop us at the hospital and drove us back but was always around to help us, the doctors and nurses so they understood us clearly.
Never have I ever experienced such sincere acts of kindness by hotel staff members that did everything they could to help my sick daughter in times of need and asks nothing in return.
For Mr. Kayamori and Ms. Tamako Okamoto if you're reading this, again please receive our deeply heartful gratitude, Domo Arrigato Gozaimashita (Thank you very much), Happy New year to you and hope to see you again soon.
For travellers, if you are considering to visit Shirakawa-go, it is a beautiful (UNESCO world heritage site) little village worth seeing and stay at Onyado Yuinoshou for a peace of mind and worthwhile stay.
Low CP value
千萬不要只訂含早餐選項或單純住宿選項，因為晚餐附近沒有地方可以吃，飯店也不接受臨時加訂晚餐，所以你如果在booking.com上訂飯店時選了無晚餐選項，那你晚上就只能餓肚子了。if you book this hotel online,never choose no meal or with breakfast only option. They didn’t accept on-site dinner order and there is nowhere to eat dinner outside the hotel. 飯店CP值不高 ，價格很貴。