Shizuoka: Oodaru Onsen Amagisou (大滝温泉) Ryokan - Vikingess Voyages

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Shizuoka: Oodaru Onsen Amagisou (大滝温泉) Ryokan

The Japanese ryokan Amagiso
My boyfriend Yuma and I had been planning to go for a trip together from the 14-16th of July, as he had gotten the Monday off from work. He suggested that we could travel to the ryokan (Japanese style hotel) Amagisou (天城荘), which also features the famous Oodaru Onsen hot spring. This hotel is situated in Izu (Shizuoka prefecture), and as Yuma had been there once before with his family he thought it would be nice to go there again with me.
On Saturday morning I left Kyoto with the Shinkansen, which even with a student 割引 costs 9700 yen. When you buy tickets for the Shinkansen you can choose between reserved and non-reserved tickets, and as I didn't really want to pay anymore I went for the non-reserved one.
But as the hard-working Japanese obviously wanted to use the opportunity this extra day off from work provided, the Shinkansen was stuffed with people. (Japan: the only country in the world where you pay 9700 yen for a train-ticket and you don't even get a seat >.<..)
Anyway, arriving in Atami ('logically' spelled 熱海...) I met up with Yuma, and we continued from there with the Itō-line (伊東線) to Kawadzu Station (河津). Our ryokan had a free pick-up service, so from the station we traveled with their mini-bus all the way to the Amagisō ryokan.
"Welcome, Yamamoto-sama!" ^^
The hotel was situated in a valley, with beautiful view of the river floating underneath. This river has various waterfalls, and the one accessible from Amagisō has been featured in a couple of Japanese movies including the one based on Murakami Haruki's Norwegian Woods (ノルウェーの森).
Our hotel room



View from our room

Having fun checking out the nearby waterfalls
Beautiful Japanese nature

The first afternoon at the hotel we spent checking out the nearby area, which included the pretty nature with a lot of waterfalls and the purchase of local (and pretty sour) oranges. After some relaxing hours in the onsen (the Japanese word for hot spring) it was time for Japanese style dinner which also was included in the price of our rooms.
One typical thing about Japanese dinner, is that you get many but small portions of different types of food. The picture below only shows a small portion of the food we got for dinner. I don't know about you, but I personally have to say that I love traditional Japanese food, so I was happily stuffed when we went back to our room.
Japanese dinner! It looks almost like art^^ 
Dinner-time!
 For our second day we had decided to go hiking in the nearby area, as Yuma had done some research in advance and found that there were some pretty good courses we could take. The course we had picked was supposed to take about 4 1/2 hours, and would among other things lead us to the famous Old Amagi Tunnel (旧天城トンネル) and a big lake up in the mountains. The only minor problem was that this course was situated a bit far from our hotel, and it was only accessible highway, so we had to take a bus to get there. In addition to having quite few buses running, the last bus leaves really early, so that meant we had to be careful so that we would make it in time for the last buss going back to our hotel as well. Each of us had to pay 550 yen one way, so it wasn't exactly cheap to be honest.
Although we had been a bit worried about how the weather was going to turn out, we were quite lucky; it was only slightly cloudy. In other words, perfect weather for a mountain trip!

The Old Amagi tunnel has been recognized as a cultural property of Japan
Entrance to the Old Amagi Tunnel
The Amagi Tunnel from the inside 
As we say in Norway: "Ut på tur, aldri sur!"
We saw some pretty big bugs while walking through the forest

Although it didn't rain during our trip it was quite foggy at times..
We had a great day walking through the forest, and both of us agreed that it had been a good warm-up for our trip to Mount Fuji in August. I'm so happy that I've got a super-sporty boyfriend! Haha^^

View from the onsen! Nice..
Back at the hotel we spent the rest of the day (and the next day as well^^) relaxing in the onsen. Like I mentioned previously, the Oodaru-waterfall (which actually is spelled 大滝, because waterfalls are known as "taru" by the locals). As the outdoor onsen here is situated right next to the waterfall you can enjoy the nice view while soaking in the water. Not to mention that the outdoor area is usable by both men and women as long as you have your swimwear on. This is actually quite unusual for Japan as one usually doesn't wear anything while in the onsen, and that the onsen thus are separated by sexes. I figure Amagisō thus is quite ideal not only for those of you who are looking for a romantic holiday, but also for those who are interested in a fun onsen-trip with friends. In addition to the outdoor onsen, Amagisō also had a couple of onsen-caves, and an outdoor-pool. I guess the tourist season hasn't really started yet, because in the afternoon we had the place all to ourselves most of the time (probably because the families with children all had early dinners).. Lucky! ^^

ラブラブ♡
Testing the swimming pool!

Pretty pretty でしょ!

A statue in one of the caves... Hmm.. 

Amagisō also has some indoor onsen, which are separated by gender.
Having spent such a great weekend in Amagisō I almost wanted to drop going back to Kyoto and rather spend my last weeks in Japan at the ryokan. However, on Monday it was unfortunately time to pack our things and leave Shizuoka for this time. This is definitely a place I would like to come back to in the future though, everything from the food, our room, the onsen and the surroundings was great. It was a really romantic and funny holiday at the same time. And would I recommend it to any of you looking for a weekend trip while in Japan? Well, the answer is obviously yes. :)

Check room availability at Amagisou here
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About Anette
Anette came to Japan as an exchange student in 2010, met the love of her life and got stuck. From her base in Tokyo she writes about her experiences as a full-time worker in Tokyo and about her travels in Japan and abroad. She's a free-spirited adventurer who enjoys both the great outdoors and her urban lifestyle.

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  1. fantastic post and Thanks for sharing this info. It's very helpful.
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A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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