Category Archives: Customer Voice

Recommended for Couples! A Ryokan with Private Onsen

Couples

We came here in February 2013 on our way home from our snowboarding trip in Niigata. It would have been ok just to stay in Niigata but the next day we were going back to our home in Kanagawa so we chose to go to Shima Onsen which we don’t often have the chance to go to.

We arrived about an hour after getting off the Tsukiyono Interchange of Kan-etsu Expressway. After checking in at 5:00 pm, we were led to the room which we reserved beforehand, the Kame no Ma room which is a room that includes an open air bath. It’s a luxurious Japanese room about ten to twelve tatami mats in size with a wooden deck terrace that includes a free-flowing open air bath.

KAME Type Room

 
Aside from the bath, there were three other open-air baths that you can have all to yourself. We bathed in the Kaede no Yu open air bath, a bath made with specially placed rocks. Maple trees are planted near it and one can enjoy the fresh, green leaves in the spring and the autumn foliage in the fall. You can also view the blossoms of the weeping cherry tree in the spring. When we went, the whole place was covered in snow but we still enjoyed it.

You don’t need to reserve the private open air baths so you’re free to go in if the changing rooms aren’t locked. Aside from these baths, there is a large public bath covered in marble.

For dinner, hen-of-the-woods mushroom rice, chicken hotpot, honeyed scarlet runner beans, homemade konjac jelly, savory egg custard and other extravagant dishes were lined up before us. As an additional dish, we also had salted and grilled freshwater fish! They were all very good and we were very satisfied.

For breakfast, you can choose between Japanese and Western-style breakfasts. I love bread so I had the Western-style breakfast and amazingly, the bread was freshly-baked. Aside from the bread, I had a superb Spanish-style omelette using plenty of local eggs, apple jam, and apple juice. Everything was so extravagant that it was hard to believe that it was breakfast!

Checkout is at 12:00 pm so you can relax and take your time. We went back to our room and bathed in the bath again and we even had time to go back to sleep. Having enjoyed all these, it was only ¥22,000 for 1 night and 2 days including dinner and breakfast! And the price is for two people! I am thinking of going back as a reward for my hardworking self.

Time:February 2013
Gender:Man
Age:27 years old
Situation:With lover

Response from Kashiwaya Ryokan
Thank you for staying at our room with an open air bath at Shima Onsen Kashiwaya Ryokan on your way home from snowboarding, and for relaxing and taking your time until your 12:00 pm checkout time.

While there isn’t a place where you can ski nor snowboard near Shima Onsen, we have many guests who come for a winter trip that combines skiing and bathing in a hot spring.

By bathing in the bath in your room, in the private hot spring and in the large public bath and by enjoying your meals, we hope that your fatigue from snowboarding was relieved and that you were able to recharge.

Shima Onsen has different faces depending on the season so please come back in the spring and in the fall. We, the whole staff, sincerely look forward to your next visit.

KAEDE-no-yu

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Kashiwaya Onsen Ryokan

The Best in Every Way but Still a Reasonably-Priced Onsen Ryokan

Kashiwaya Ryokan

I’ve always liked touring onsens but I’ve never been to Shima Onsen so I decided to go. My friends and I were discussing which ryokan to stay in, and we decided on Shima Onsen Kashiwaya Ryokan because it’s well-known, and my friend’s family has stayed in it. If you don’t make a reservation early enough, there’s a possibility of it being fully occupied quickly so we made our reservation early.

It is said that Shima Onsen’s name originated from the efficacy of its waters on forty thousand illnesses.* My body is not on the strong side so once I hear that something is effective on illnesses, I’d like to try it right away. Shima Onsen’s waters were actually pleasant, and I didn’t feel that bathing in it for a long time took a toll on me. Kashiwaya Ryokan’s private open air baths are free to use, and you can bathe in them as many time as you want so I used them three times during our stay.

The onsens are not the only appealing things about Kashiwaya Ryokan. I heard from the family of my friend who stayed in this ryokan before that the food they had was delicious so I was really looking forward to this. For dinner, they welcomed us with seasonal dishes. The amount of food was just right – there were no leftovers and if I overate I would have felt bad so I was able to sleep soundly at night.

For breakfast, they prepared Japanese food and Western-style food. I’ve chosen Japanese food many times during past trips to hot spring ryokans but they’ve prepared a very appealing Western-style breakfast so unusually for me I chose the Western-style option. I remember that the good-quality coffee imported from Italy removed all traces of sleepiness in the morning.

While this ryokan is the best in every way – from the food, the onsens and the various services offered, I must make special mention of the accommodation fee. You can stay here at a reasonable price and receive wonderful service. They have various types of rooms so I think I’ll choose a different room during my next visit.

*Translator’s note: The Japanese character “shi” means “four” and “ma” (more commonly read as “man”) means “ten thousand.”

Time:April 2014
Gender:Man
Age:35 years old
Situation:With friends

Response from Kashiwaya Ryokan
We sincerely thank you for staying with us here at Shima Onsen Kashiwaya Ryokan. More than anything, we are glad that you were able to recharge and fully enjoy the waters of Shima Onsen, which have long been said to be effective on forty thousand illnesses.

I actually had stiff shoulders myself the other day, and I bathed in the hot spring longer than usual. I felt very relieved on around the fourth day, and I’ve felt the effectiveness of Shima Onsen once again. (One of the indications of Shima Onsen is stiff shoulders.)

Thank you too for enjoying your dinner and breakfast, and for your compliments.

While our inn is a compact one with 15 rooms, you can choose from among a variety of rooms depending on your needs – from a reasonably-priced room to a room with an in-room open-air bath.

We, the whole staff, sincerely look forward to your next visit. Thank you.

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Kashiwaya Onsen Ryokan

An Onsen I’d Like to Go Back to

Retro Stairs

Last spring, my daughter graduated from college and she also found a job. During her college days, she would go on trips with her friends to so many places but this time, she gifted my wife and me with a hot spring trip.

It was a two-night, three-day trip to a nearby hot spring. She got tips from senior employees at work and from her college friends, and she found a hot spring where we could take our time and relax.

Once my daughter was settled at work, last October, we took a train to Shima Onsen in Gunma Prefecture. When we arrived at Shima Onsen Kashiwaya Ryokan, one of the staff who was wearing a T-shirt led us to our room. I was a little surprised at the T-shirt but I had a favorable impression of the cheery yet calm customer service.

The ryokan is described as retro-styled ryokan in their website and indeed it was. However, there were touches of modernity so we were comfortable. The room was neat and tidy, and was thoroughly clean.

After we settled in, we took a walk in the hot spring town. There were a few convenience stores, and the place had a calm ambiance that differed from the liveliness of a city.

After our walk, we returned to the ryokan to have dinner. Seasonal, local ingredients were presented stylishly, and the healthy food suited my daughter. It had good flavors that my wife and I also liked.

We found out from a guide that Shima Onsen is famous as a hot-spring health resort that is said to be efficacious for forty thousand illnesses. It appears that the rumors are true – the hot spring was really wonderful. I really had my fill by bathing in all of the baths, from the open air private onsen to the large public bath. My wife and daughter also bathed many times.

Unlike the city, the surroundings got quieter and quieter as the night wore on. The voices of the other guest gradually became more distant, and we slept well. Because the checkout time was at 12:00, we slept in and had a late breakfast. My wife and I had the Japanese breakfast while my daughter had the Western-style one.

We were thrilled with the baths, and the breakfast and dinner were good for the health that I thought of staying a while longer but of course I couldn’t do that. Two nights and three days went by so fast. When we got home, my wife and I talked a lot about the kind customer service offered by the ryokan’s staff and we’re thinking of going back to soak in the hot springs again.

Time:October 2013
Gender:Man
Age:63 years old
Situation:Family travel

Response from Kashiwaya Ryokan
We sincerely thank you for staying with us here at Shima Onsen Kashiwaya Ryokan.

It was very nice of your daughter to give you a gift of a hot spring trip. I was thinking I would be happy if someday that happened to me too.

More than anything, we are glad that you were able to relax, unwind and recharge because of the quiet surroundings of Shima Onsen and the 12:00 checkout time.

We are also thankful for your heartwarming compliments on the three open air private hot spring baths and the food. We will take your compliments as words of encouragement, and we, the whole staff, will continue to work together and do out best.

We sincerely look forward to your next visit. Thank you.

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Kashiwaya Onsen Ryokan

Freshly-Baked Bread from a Ryokan so Delicious It’s Indescribable

Breakfast

I remarried last January. Because my husband is from Gunma, he invited me to go because there are good onsens there, and at the same time it would be our honeymoon so the trip became our first after getting married.

My husband took care of the reservation and other things, and I didn’t know any of the plans so it was kind of a surprise for me. Upon arrival, I was impressed with the stylish facade of the building.

Our room was so large for the two of us, almost too large that we were dumbfounded when entered the room.

We had Japanese food for dinner and it looked almost too pretty to eat. While being impressed with the food, I was also thinking that I should cook food this delicious for my husband.

After dinner, we had a bath in the onsen. We had a very romantic time with just the two of us – we didn’t even have to reserve the open air bath and we had it all to ourselves. We talked a lot too.

After our bath we took it easy, and we were able to relax as if we were in our own house. It was our first time in that place but we were able to relax, and I think it was because of our room.

Our breakfast was a Western-style breakfast. I was surprised at the freshly-baked bread – it was really indescribably delicious. The other dishes were tasty too of course, but the deliciousness of the bread was so surprising that I was happy to be impressed so early in the morning.

Kashiwaya Ryokan is a very good ryokan. It was impressive from the moment we arrived, and up until the very end it did not disappoint. We have very good memories of it.

Time:November 2014
Gender:Female
Age:44 years old
Situation:Family travel

Response from Kashiwaya Ryokan
We are very thankful that you stayed with us at Shima Onsen Kashiwaya Ryokan for your honeymoon, a trip for making wonderful memories.

It appears that your bond together has deepened after having a relaxing time in your husband’s hometown.

We are also grateful for your compliments on our facilities, food and onsens that you had all to yourselves.

The freshly-baked bread served during breakfast that you were very pleased with is a secret specialty of Kashiwaya Ryokan that many of our guests order to take home as gifts.

You live in faraway Fukuoka but we hope that you will visit us again when your husband returns home to visit family. We, the whole staff, look forward to your next visit.

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Kashiwaya Onsen Ryokan

The Onsen Ryokan I Chose for My Parents Before My Wedding

Kashiwaya Ryokan

I went on a last trip with my parents right before my wedding. Because I was getting married and was not going to live with them anymore, my husband thought that we probably won’t be able to travel with just the three of us anymore so he suggested that we take a trip.

This was probably going to be our last trip together so it was going to be a special one. In gratitude to my parents for raising me into the person I am today, I took it upon myself to be in charge of all of the planning.

The place I chose was Shima Onsen’s Kashiwaya Ryokan. It has very good reviews and while I couldn’t gauge its atmosphere from the pictures, it seemed like a promising ryokan.

When we arrived at the ryokan, we were impressed with the warm hospitality of the employees. There were young employees as well but their thoughtfulness was the best and we felt comfortable from beginning to end.

There were three open air baths that we could have to ourselves, so we bathed in all three. We didn’t have to reserve the baths and we bathed in all of them lots of times. The view of autumn foliage from the baths was the best, and was so picturesque that it felt like we could have looked at the scenery forever. At night, the view of the moon together with the autumn leaves was utterly beautiful. While bathing, my mom and I were able to talk about many things. If we scheduled our trip a bit later we might have enjoyed seeing even more beautiful autumn foliage.

We went for the open air baths but the food was even better than we expected. We were surprised at the beautiful presentation and creativity. It was packed with autumn’s delights and the taste and appearance were first-class. There was really nothing to complain about. If I must find something to say, I did mind the creaking floor a bit but I felt that this was part of the charm that only a wooden structure can have.

It’s truly a good ryokan so as you’d expect it’s a bit expensive…It’s not the kind of ryokan that you could visit often so I’d like to come back when I’m a bit older, together with my husband when our future kids are already on their own. I’m sure the employees will welcome us warmly, but from the overall atmosphere of this ryokan and by the looks of the other guests, I feel that this isn’t the kind of place for small children so I am looking forward to that time when we can come back without kids. My parents also like this place very much and they said they’d like to come back another time.

Time:October 2013
Gender:Female
Age:32 years old
Situation:Family travel

Response from Kashiwaya Ryokan
We are very thankful that you chose us, Shima Onsen Kashiwaya Ryokan, as the destination of your precious family trip before your marriage.

Fully enjoying your stay at the hot spring with the autumn foliage viewed from open air baths that you had to yourselves, we’re sure that your mother was also very happy with your conversations together.

Our head chef and the kitchen staff are also very happy with your compliments on the food. While we are taking baby steps, we are continuing to evolve and grow.

The water in Shima Onsen is gentle even for babies so we have a lot of visitors who come to Kashiwaya Ryokan for their baby’s first hot spring experience. Please do come back with your husband and also for your child’s first time in a hot spring.

We look forward to your next visit.

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Kashiwaya Onsen Ryokan

After Winning the Lottery, We Went to a Hot Spring

Meals

Dad finally won the lottery after continuing to buy tickets for many years. “When you win something like this, you gotta spend it extravagantly! Let’s go to a hot spring!” he said, so I became in charge of looking for a place to stay.

I found Shima Onsen’s Kashiwaya Ryokan in Gunma Prefecture online, and Dad really liked its retro atmosphere. I was able to get a reservation after a few months.

When we got there, it was so much more wonderful than the pictures we’ve seen. Dad became overly excited, which is unusual for him, and I’m really glad that I chose Kashiwaya Ryokan.

The hot spring had one ryokan and three open air baths. The quality of the water was as one would expect from Shima Onsen. Mom usually has dry skin, and after bathing here her skin got softer and smoother which really made her happy.

For lunch, we used our lunch coupons at the nearby Kashiwaya cafe and I had my favorite curry and coffee. As for dinner, it had fresh ingredients harvested locally and we were very pleased with its taste and presentation. We had dinner in our room so it was just us family and we didn’t need to worry about the prying eyes of other guests.

We were all touched by the extreme hospitality shown to us by the staff.

My dad was very pleased as well, and was very enthusiastic in saying, “If it’s going to be this good of a ryokan, we’re coming back next year!” LOL.

Time:April 2014
Gender:Female
Age:28 years old
Situation:Family travel

Response from Kashiwaya Ryokan
We are very thankful that you chose us, Shima Onsen Kashiwaya Ryokan, as the destination of your hot spring trip to celebrate winning a valuable lottery.

Thank you too for liking our atmosphere and for your heartwarming compliments.

Shima Onsen is a sodium calcium chloride sulfate hot spring, and its component metasilicic acid has waste removal and moisturizing properties so benefits to the skin can be expected.

More than anything, we are glad that you were able to relax and enjoy your meal and spend time just with you family.

We look forward to your next visit.

As an aside, we too would like to win the lottery. Maybe next time, you could give us a few tips on how to win.

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Kashiwaya Onsen Ryokan

My Bruises and Sprains Became Quite Well Thanks to Shima onsen

Onsen

I went to Shima onsen at Gunma Prefecture with 4 people in my family.

One of my colleagues told me that Shima onsen at Gunma Prefecture has fabulous onsen quality and its ryokan is wonderfully equipped. Although I was very interested in the ryokan, I could not have taken time to travel with my family.

Yet there was a chance that my eldest daughter asked me, “What is onsen?” when she was watching the contents about Shima onsen at Gunma that was on air by chance. Then I decided to go to Shima onsen as 4 people in my family.

Although the onsen travel was as short as three days and two nights, it became an unforgettable onsen travel for my eldest daughter and all of my family.

We went to Shima onsen by a bus tour. The accommodation, Kashiwaya ryokan, was an old denominated wooden building with history. So my eldest daughter was very excited as soon as seeing the building of Kashiwaya ryokan.

As soon as arriving the ryokan, my wife and I immediately tried to take onsen. Watching us, my eldest daughter looked puzzled and asked, “Aren’t we supposed to take a bath at night?” that made my wife and me smile. As I told her, “You can take onsen anytime from morning till night.” , she looked so happy, saying, “Got it!”

We separated into two groups, my wife and eldest daughter, and me and my eldest son, and took a bath at the large public bath. The scenery was mixed with Shima onsen’s nature landscape and cityscape. I could fully enjoy the atmosphere of Shima onsen with the taste of “This is onsen!” from the first day.

As I play volleyball on a daily basis as a hobby, I always get bruises and sprains. Because I heard that Shima onsen quality works on bruises and sprains, I couldn’t help taking onsen for a long time from the first day. I took the bath holding my eldest son of only one year old at the time. So I still remember that I was so worried if he did toilet in the bath. lol

After getting out of onsen, I was relaxed on a chair in the lobby, bought ice creams to children, and waited for dinner time, my wife and I drinking beer.

The dinner was a course of specialty Joshu Beef. We enjoyed the mellow flavor with fat of Joshu beef while cooking thick steaks in front of the eyes.

We spent three days and two nights at Shima onsen. I took onsen at least three times each day. And my bruises and sprains became quite well that had been chronically pain. I want to go to Shima onsen again with my family.

Time:February 2010
Gender:Male
Age:38 years old
Situation:Family travel

Response from Kashiwaya Ryokan
We sincerely thank you and your family for staying at Shima Onsen Kashiwaya Ryokan. We, the whole staff, are very happy to have been able to be of help in creating wonderful memories for you and your family.

More than anything, we are glad that you leisurely enjoyed Shima Onsen’s surroundings, bathed in our hot springs many times and eased your aches and pains.

As your children grow, we will be more than happy if you could stay at Kashiwaya Ryokan at each milestone of your lives.

We sincerely look forward to your next visit. Thank you.

If you interested in Japanese style Onsen, Please click here
Shima Onsen Kashiwaya Ryokan >

Kashiwaya Onsen Ryokan