Oct 6, 2012

Itou Onsen, Chitose City, Hokkaido

open-air bath for men turns bath for ladies for two hours from 6:00 AM to 8:00 AM.
Update: Itou Onsen was acquired by KANAYA and scheduled to resume business in autumn 2014.

Itou Onsen (いとう温泉) is a ryokan or a Japanese inn just by the Lake Shikotsu (支笏湖), conveniently located just an hour drive from the New Chitose Airport (Sapporo Airport) in Hokkaido.

indoor bath for ladies.

There are gender separated indoor baths and open-air baths. The open-air baths are facing the lake and popular among soak addicts. The bath for men offers absolutely better view. If you stay overnight, men's bath and ladies' bath change from 6:00 AM till 8:00 AM. You can't use soaps and shampoos at the open-air baths, you have to wash your hair and body at the indoor bath. The hot springs are translucent and smooth without strong scent. Day visits welcomed.

typical ryokan guest room with tatami mat floor.

 ◆Itou Onsen (いとう温泉)

Type: Gender separated indoor baths and gender separated open-air baths

Address: Poropinai, Chitose City, Hokkaido

Location: 42.78224, 141.31291

Number of guest room: 11

Business hour of day-visit: 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Holiday: Winter (mid November to late April)

Admission fee of day visit: ¥700 for adult,  ¥350 for child

Overnight stay: starts from ¥7,980 per head including dinner and breakfast

Access: sporadic bus service from the New Chitose Airport to the Lake Shikotsu Bus Terminal. From there, free shuttle service (advance booking necessary) for overnight staying guests. For day visit soakers, you need your own vehicles or motor boat charging ¥1300 one way takes you there.

Link:  official website of Itou Onsen

My rating (A - E): B

appearance of Itou Onsen.
we chose "Genghis Khan", Hokkaido's specialty, a kind  of mutton BBQ for dinner.
typical Japanese style breakfast.
open-air bath for ladies sits behind men's bath.
if you step forward  to the end of ladies' bath, you can see the lake.

May 25, 2012

Snow Monkey ranked 5th among top 20 popular spots in Japan

Snow Monkeys in JigokudaniSnow Monkeys in Jigokudani / spDuchamp

The Jigokudani Yaen Koen, famous snow monkey park is chosen for one of the top 20 popular sightseeing spots in Japan. No other onsen sites ranked in. 

The survey was recently conducted by TripAdvisor Japan based on their websites' page view, visit length, the number of review posted and etc. by their users outside of Japan.

Among those popular sites in Kyoto and Hiroshima, Jigokudani Yaen Koen in Nagano Pref. ranked in 5th. See the following list for top 10 ranking.

Mar 17, 2012

Day-visit Onsen Ranking by Tripadvisor

Open-air bath for ladies at the third ranked Himawari-no-yu.
Tripadvisor Japan recently released "Satisfactory Day-visit Spa & Onsen Ranking 20 " based on users' comments for last two years. This ranking is released for first time as far as I know.

Following is the list of the top 20 ranking. Linked sites are written in Japanese unless otherwise noted.

 1. Healthyland Rotenburo site contains music file (Ibusuki, Kagoshima)
 2. Hottarakashi Onsen (Yamanashi, Yamanashi)
 3. Himawari-no-yu @Shima Spain-mura (Shima, Mie)
 4. Shika-no-yu (Nasu, Tochigi)
 5. Sunaraku English (Ibusuki, Kagoshima)
 6. Dogo Onsen Honkan English (Matsuyama, Ehime)
 7. Zippuku-no-yu (Ueda, Nagano)
 8. Hoheikyo Onsen English (Sapporo Hokkaido)
 9. Tenzan Tojikyo (Hakone, Kanagawa)
10. Takegawara Onsen (Beppu Oita)
11. Kin-no-yu @ Arima Onsen (Kobe, Hyogo)
12. Terme VILLA Chulayu (Cyatan Okinawa)
13. Anakanon-no-yu @ Obuse Onsen (Obuse, Nagano)
14. Tenku-no-yu, Budo-no-oka Onsen (Kousyu, Yamanashi)
15. Yuami-no-shima @ Nagashima Spaland English (Kuwana, Mie)
16. Spa RaQua English (Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo)
17. Ooedo Onsen Monogatari English (Koto-ku, Tokyo)
18. Spa World English (Osaka, Osaka)
19. Onsen Cafe (Myoko, Nigata)
20. Hakone Kowakien Yunessan English (Hakone, Kanagawa)

Photo from press release of Tripadvisor Japan.

Feb 26, 2012


I found animated version of popular bathing culture MANGA (cartoons), "Thermae Romae" with English subtitle on YouTube. Below is first episode aired in mid January this year.

Lucius, main character is an architect of Roman baths in ancient Roman Empire and accidentally time warps to present Japan. You can see how SENTO (public bath) in Japan looks like.

A movie version starring Hiroshi Abe will be released on 28 April, 2012. 

Related post: Bathing Culture MANGA "THERMAE ROMAE" (Mar 30 2010)

Jan 1, 2012

New Year's Greetings

I know many of you're still in 2011, but Japan is already in 2012 (We're 9 hours ahead of GMT or UTC or whatever it is). So.....

A Happy New Year !! 

Last year was disastrous year for Japan. Many Japanese were suddenly thrust into hell on earth, lost their families, friends, homes, works, and etc.... and still struggling even now. But our "Yamato-damashii" or the Japanese spirit never washed away. We'll overcome these difficulties.

I really appreciate your supports from all over the world after the 311 disaster. Thank you very much for your care.  I wish you many happy returns for 2012!