Yarimikan Ryokan (Hotel with a Hot Spring)
By Staci-Anne. Posted on November 28, 2014
Get out, waaaay out of the city, and head up to Gifu. Takayama to be exact. Yarimikan Ryokan is more than the perfect spot. This is an ideal location because it's close enough for a day trip, easily accessible by train or bus. It offers travelers enough peace and quiet for them to feel refreshed.
From Nagoya Station, there are a few options for train lines up to Takayama. For those who want to enjoy the view, I recommend the JR Wide View Hida. Although a bit more expensive, this option allows you to see some amazing views. Once you arrive at Takayama, you can buy a round-trip bus ticket, called Hidaji Frii Kippu, which allows you to get on and off the bus as you please to enjoy other attractions in the area. You can also take the Nohi bus directly from Nagoya to Nakao-Kogen-guchi. From here, guests will be picked up by the Yarimikan shuttle bus. You need to make a reservation, but it offers you a short and convenient drive to the ryokan.
Upon check-in, guests are required fill out an information sheet, and they receive an explanation about the ryokan and how to use the facilities. In the front hall, guests can enjoy a hot cup of yuzu tea. This may change from season to season. During this tea time, a staff member will explain about various types of baths and other ryokan rules. The types of baths available will change from season to season.
Yarimikan offers 9 different types of baths that guests can enjoy any time from check in to check out during their stay.
One of those baths is “two indoor baths.” Located inside the ryokan, it is separated into two sections, Gote No Yu for men and Kaka No Yu for women. Both offer breathtaking views, and on a clear day, guests can see Shin-Hotaka Ropeway (just a short distance away).
Not a fan of the indoors? Do you feel the need to get closer to nature? Don’t worry. Yarimaikan ryokan has a unique garden that is full of many other kinds of baths for everyone to enjoy. These baths are cleverly hidden in trees and shrubs along the river, and all baths are connected by stone and wooden walk ways.
Yarimi No Yu is a mixed large open-air bath that overlooks Yarigatake (Yariga falls). It is open from 7-9 for women only.
Bathers can take the edge off in Manten No Yu, enjoying an open bath with a spectacular view of the open sky. This mixed bath has separate changing rooms by gender, but guests, regardless of their gender, can bathe together. Bathers can get a heavy towel to wrap themselves with at the front desk.
Iwami No Yu is an open-air bath for women only. It is a tranquil natural stone bath that guarantees bathers a sense of soothing for their muscles.
Need a bit more privacy? Not a problem. Yarimaikan also has four private baths that guests can use at their leisure. These bath houses are privately enclosed to secure a secluded space for you to let loose and relax without concern. Hotaru No Yu is a bath house with a huge water mill. It gives bathers a true feeling of life in the mountains. Keiryu No Yu is a jacuzzi-type bath and is closest to the river. Mori No Yu is recommended for families with children, as it has a built-in swing and slide set that is fun for the whole family. Banryu No Yu is a slightly bigger bath that was made by cutting into the natural stone.
There are a number of room styles available. The ryokan is currently expanding and renovating, so there will be many more styles available in the near future for sure. Some rooms have private baths overlooking the falls. Bathrooms are clean with heated toilet seats, and showers are like mini saunas, which is very soothing, allowing guests a chance to be relaxed. Whatever your preference is, rest is assured. Your room will be clean, spacious, warm, and will have a spectacular view. The ryokan has many TV channels (some in English) and is equipped with wifi if you feel the need to use it. With all this ryokan has to offer, it is truly a hidden treasure.
Dinner starts promptly at 6 pm. Guests are likely to get a call when their dinner is ready. Unlike some ryokans, where everyone sits together, Yarimaikan has private dining rooms for each guest, so they can dine in their own special place. Dinner is abundant in size, selection, and flavor. The dinner will literally move you! Depending on the season, there are illumination shows that guests have the option to view while in the hot spring. Please ask ahead for details.
Guests can wander around the garden or enjoy the private outdoor baths anytime during the evening or night. The garden is sufficiently lit, so guests can explore what each bath has to offer. The hearty breakfast starts at 8:00 am. It is a nice selection of assorted vegetables, miso soup, salad, fresh fruit juice and rice. After breakfast, why not try your hand at making mochi? Staff and guests together take turns making mochi in the lobby. You can eat it together with other guests and just lounge around until check out.
The staff members are friendly. They speak English and are very willing to help guests. They will help schedule your pick-up and drop-off, so you can make your connections on time. They will confirm times and details with you.
The atmosphere is very relaxing. You rarely see other guests or their children, so it's very quiet. Other than the gentle roar of the river, there are no traffic and city lights to be seen for miles. So look up, way up, hope for a clear night and enjoy gazing at the stars while you relax in an outdoor bath or a private bath in the room of your choice at Yarimaikan.
Staci-Anne Ali has been living in Nagoya for about 10 years. She is a university lecturer and has worked in a few universities in and around Aichi. She spends her time traveling around Japan, taking in the sights and looking for something new. She is a food enthusiast and enjoys trying new restaurants and unique food.