The wooden Akiu Teshigoto-kan offers a cozy atmosphere and sells many reasonably-priced items.
CHARMS OF SENDAI (16): Kinoie (Wooden House)
The “lodge village” located in the Kinoie facility in Akiu Hot Springs offers a fun and economical traveling experience, especially for large groups.

2-1 Maoto, Akiumachi Yumoto, Taihaku Ward, Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture

Tel: +81-(0)22-397-2714

Open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (March-November); 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. (December-February)

Admission of 1,000 yen per adult and 500 yen per child is required to enter the lodge village. The village is closed Dec. 31, Jan. 1 and from Monday to Thursday during January and February. The coffee shop and ceramic store are closed on Dec. 31, Jan. 1, Wednesday and Thursday during January and February.

The bath affords a view of the snow in winter.
CHARMS OF SENDAI (15): Day-dipping at Kagaribi no Yu Ryokusuitei
Since the sixth century, when an emperor is said to have bathed in Akiu Hot Springs to heal a skin problem, the “onsen” has been associated with the imperial family.
Kagaribi no Yu Ryokusuitei

27 Uehara, Akiumachi Yumoto, Taihaku Ward, Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture

Tel: +81-(0)22-397-3333

Open to day visitors from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Admission is 1,200 yen ($11.5) (Special price is set for the New Year’s holiday season from the end of December through early January)

Colorful fireworks fill the sky over Toba Bay.
DISCOVERING THE HEART OF JAPAN IN MIE (11): Ryokan in Toba offers harbor view, fireworks, warm hospitality
For my stay in Toba, I chose the Arashima Onsen Yumoto Amanoshima, a Japanese style ryokan that offered a superb bird's-eye view of Toba Bay and a natural hot spring bath for a ...
Arashima Onsen Yumoto Amanoshima

1075-100, Arashima, Toba, Mie Prefecture

Phone: +81-(0)599-26-2662 (Japanese only)

Access: Ten minutes by car from Toba Station

Shuttle service available (Call ahead for reservations)

Rates: Various plans available from 9,800 yen to 20,000 yen ($98 to $200)

(Includes room, dinner and breakfast)

Three generations of ama: Sanae, Sumiko and Shizuka
DISCOVERING THE HEART OF JAPAN IN MIE (9): Stay at a Japanese-style inn and taste the catch of the ama
For generations “ama” have plunged below the ocean waves, without any diving equipment, to harvest shellfish and seaweed from the sea floor.
Japanese style inn “Nakagawa”

480 Osatsu, Toba, Mie Prefecture

Phone: +81-(0)559-33-6868 (Japanese only)

Access: 40 minutes by car from Toba Station

Call for shuttle service

Guests staying in the executive room of the Shodoshima International Hotel can enjoy a dip in the bath while taking in the view of the Seto Inland Sea and its islands. (Atsushi Yamanishi)
SETOUCHI: Enjoying the ocean breeze from an outdoor bath
On Shodoshima island, I stayed at the Shodoshima International Hotel, which is a five-minute drive from Tonosho district, where the ferry station is located. All rooms have a...

Ginpaura, Tonosho-cho, Shodoshima, Kagawa Prefecture

Tel: +81-(0)879-62-2111


The executive room with an outdoor bath is normally priced at 24,000 yen ($245) per person a night. The hotel is a five-minute ride on its courtesy bus from the Tonosho Ferry Terminal, where ferries from Kobe and Takamatsu arrive. Rental cars on the island are available from 2,250 yen a day. The hotel operates a daily shuttle bus service to and from each port on the island during the Setouchi Triennale.

Owner Shigehisa Miyake and his wife Satoe. English and French are spoken. (Atsushi Yamanishi)
SETOUCHI: Spending a night in a 400-year-old guest house surrounded by antique art
After enjoying modern art on Naoshima island, it certainly isn’t such a bad idea to spend the night surrounded by antique art in a traditional Japanese house that is listed...

855 Naoshima-cho, Kagawa Prefecture

Tel/Fax: +81-(0)87-892-2328


English and French are spoken

Price is 6,000 yen per person without meals. A group may have up to eight members.

Dinner consisting of fish caught on the island, among others, is served from 2,000 yen

Reservations from overseas can be made through

Yamato beef, produced in Nara, is grilled on an earthenware dish.
NARA: A taste of Nara's Japanese delicacies
While in Nara, I stayed at Hotel Nikko Nara, which is connected to the JR Nara Station. Just like New Miyako Hotel in Kyoto, it is a modern hotel conveniently located for...

Sanjohonmachi 8-1, Nara

Tel: +81-742-35-8831

Fax: +81-742-35-6868


Sanjosoegawacho 1-5, Nara

Tel & Fax: +81-742-93-3191

Closed Wednesdays

The entrance to Hiiragiya Bekkan
KYOTO: Stay in Kyoto the traditional way
If you want to experience lodgings with a flavor of Japan's old capital, try staying at a historical wooden townhouse known as a "machiya." Kyoto-style wooden townhouses are...

431 Yamamoto-cho, Gokomachi Nijo Sagaru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto

Tel: +81-75-231-0151

Fax: +81-75-231-0153

The New Miyako Hotel
KYOTO: City-center hotel is convenient and foreigner friendly
For my first night in Kyoto, I stayed at the New Miyako Hotel, which is conveniently located in front of the Hachijo-guchi exit of Kyoto railway station. The traveler can step...

17, Nishikujo-Inmachi Minami-ku, Kyoto 601-8412, Japan

Tel: +81-75-661-7111

Fax: +81-75-661-7135

HOKKAIDO: First a good soak, and then a relaxing dinner
After my visit to Usu-zan (Mount Usu), I was ready for the Noboribetsu Onsen hot springs, where I would be spending my third night in Hokkaido.
HOKKAIDO: Ramen Yokocho, Tanukikoji Shopping Street and Cross Hotel in Sapporo
From Otaru, I went to Sapporo where I was to spend the second day of my trip. I headed for an area that is frequented at night by visitors from overseas. But my destination was ...
HOKKAIDO: Traveling in snow country, with a hearty meal at end of the day
Traveling south from the town of Biei, I head toward Furano where I was to spend my first night. Prince Hotel New Furano, where I had booked a room, adjoins a sky slope that...
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