Wednesday, May 6, 2015

[Hotel Reviews] Saitama: Heiseirou Onsen Health Center (嵐山渓谷温泉健康センター平成楼)

Saitama prefecture is situated north of Tokyo, but compared to other close prefectures like Chiba and Yokohama it is still a bit of an undiscovered gem with regards to foreign tourists. The prefecture still has some relatively known tourist destinations such as "little Edo" in Kawagoe with its increasingly popular Kawagoe Matsuri festival and the shibazakura (moss phlox) or many onsen (hotsprings)  in Chichibu.

Through my work I have had the chance to travel to different areas in Saitama to meet with the representatives of local hotels, and when my mother and grandmother visited me a month ago it was a great opportunity to try to stay at one of the hotels as a guest.
We went to stay at a place called Heiseirou Health Center (平成楼, full name 嵐山渓谷温泉健康センター平成楼), a Japanese style hotel where the atmosphere makes it almost feel like you're back in the Showa period.
Our Japanese-style room with view to the sakura trees outside.
One of the main rooms where guests can read manga, watch TV or just relax
You have the choice between staying at a Japanese style rooms where you sleep on traditional Japanese tatami mats or a normal western room. For people who want to have a good Japanese meal during the stay it is possible to go for a plan that includes breakfast and dinner. One night at this hotel includes free access to the facility's hot spring, but it is also possible just to visit the facilities during day time for a short visit to the onsen if you're not interested in eating or staying for the night.
The main dinner hall. In the very end there is a stage where people can perform karaoke
Heiseirou also has a huge dinner hall where locals gather to eat, drink, sing karaoke and hang out with their friends. The dinner hall has a stage where some of the braver ones can go up and sing a song, and there are even monthly karaoke contests and other performances being held here. If you're one of the braver ones you could go for a song at the stage, but if you prefer to sing in private you should rather check out their private karaoke room (see further down)
My grandmother and mother enjoying the dinner
We ended up with a full course dinner that included various Japanese dishes such as tempura and sushi. In addition we also enjoyed some glasses of Japanese sake.
平成楼の豪華な晩ご飯
Cheers!
We also enjoyed spending time in the onsen, which was included in the price. In addition to some hot spring baths inside they also had an outdoor onsen (known as rotenburo - 露天風呂).
In addition to the karaoke machine in the big dining hall where guests get to sing in front of an audience our hotel/ryokan also offered a private karaoke room available for rent by the hotel guests. In the evening we spent some hours in the karaoke room with Sasaki-san, and the karaoke box had both English and Japanese songs so we all could join in.
The private karaoke room
Renting your own karaoke room at a hotel is not badね!
Enjoying karaoke together
This time I went to Heiseirou on a family trip, but I'm thinking of gathering a group of friends to go on another trip to the hotel once again in the near future. The place is perfect for people who want to experience Japanese culture, including traditional onsen and karaoke.

About sightseeing in the area:
Heiseirō is located next to a mountain called Ransan (嵐山), a name that comes from the same kanji characters as Arashiyama in Kyoto. Apparently the place got its name because the landscape is similar to Arashiyama, but in order to separate the two places Ransan was named using the onyomi (Chinese reading) of the kanji. In the vicinity there are many beautiful places to see, and the sakura is of course a must in April.
We visited Saitama during the cherry blossom season, and got to see the beautiful sakura in Ransan. 
Ransan and cherry blossoms
During our stay at Heiseirou we also stopped by the nearby leisure area called Chichibu. Mr. Sasaki from our hotel took us on a visit to a historical place where the Japanese style paper called Hosokawa-shi (細川紙) is being produced, a traditional Japanese sake factory and a restaurant where you get to catch the fish before you eat it. I'll write more about these experiences in my next blog post.

Access: Heiseirou and Ransan are situated about an hour by train from Ikebukuro. Take the rapid train on the Tōbu Tōjō Line (東武東上線快速急行) going to Musashi-Ranzan Station (武蔵嵐山駅).
Heiseirou has a free shuttle bus running on the following hours: 9:30, 11:35, 16:35, 18:35
The trip to the hotel from the station takes about 5 minutes.

Book your stay at Heiseirou here





Basic Info
  • ・Name of Place: Heiseirou Health Center (嵐山渓谷温泉健康センター平成楼)
  • ・Address:395, Senjudo, Ranzan-Machi Hiki-Gun, Saitama, 355-0227, JAPAN
  • ・Phone:0493-62-1188
  • Check-in: ・15:00
  • Check-out: ・09:00
  • ・Access: Free shuttle bus from the Musashi-Ranzan Station (武蔵嵐山駅) at 9:30, 11:35, 16:35 and 18:35



Recommended Hotels close to Chichibu

Ranzan Keikoku Onsen Health Center Heiseirou
Onsen Health Center Heiseirou
Nagatoro Choseikan Ryokan
Nagatoro 
Choseikan
Wadoh Ryokan
Wadoh
Ryokan
Ikoi no Mura Heritage Minoyama
Heritage Minoyama Ryokan

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About Me

The Cosmopolitan Expat:
The classical story about a girl who went for a one-year exchange program to Japan, fell in love and got stuck there. Starting out as a student in Kyoto in 2010 I now work full-time in Tokyo as a hotel consultant, and write mostly about my travels, working life in Japan as well as a bunch of random stuff. Stricken by 職業病 I also write about hotels and share updates about new opening hotels and/or time sales in the Kanto region.

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