Anyone who speaks English probably knows the proverb, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” In Japanese we also have a very similar saying: 郷に入れば郷に従え（go ni ireba go ni shitagae). It means that if you enter a foreign country or region, it is wise to follow the customs and ways there.
I believe that travelling is about not only seeing new sights, but also learning more about another country and culture.
However, during a long journey you will naturally miss the customs of your home country. We Japanese sometimes visit Japanese restaurants abroad. I think this is because many of us become homesick while travelling. Of course, I also believe it is a benefit for international travellers to step out of their comfort zone and learn about other cultures. That’s why I highly recommend staying at a Japanese ryokan.
In Japan, people with tattoo are often rejected to take onsen. You must feel unreasonable in spite of taking all the trouble of visiting Japan to take onsen. Aren’t there any ways to take onsen even with tattoo?
Along with Kashiwaya Café at Shima Onsen Town, Shima Onsen Kashiwaya Ryokan is run by Kashiwaya Ltd., a small company operated by a family.
The founder is Masao Kashiwabara, my (Masuo Kashiwabara) grandfather.
According to historical documents, it is guessed that our ancestors moved from the current Shizuoka prefecture to Sawadamura-Kanobara, about 10km south from Shima Onsen, in the Age of Civil Wars or in the beginning of Edo period (End of 16th century or bigining of 17th century).
We can never know why our ancestors moved from such far Shizuoka prefecture to this countryside village in mountains.
In addition, it seems that our clan was used to be Shugenja (tempest) called Kashiwabara Shugen Daizoin until about Meiji Ishin(19th century).
When saying onsen resort, people tend to imagine it to have left far from towns such as Tokyo. Yet, actually, there are a lot of highly original onsen resort and onsen ryokan near Tokyo environs, too.
There are more and more visitors who stay based at Tokyo Metropolitan area and stay at onsen ryokan in short trip in one night and two days. Onsen resorts near Tokyo, including out Shima onsen, are perfect for such needs.
At Shima Onsen, not only each ryokan has satisfying number of Onsen, but also there are various facilities at the Onsen town, where you can enjoy Onsen, such as foot bath, drinking fountain, and public bathhouse.
Footbath is just good for relaxing after walking.
There are Okinaya Footbath, Yamaguchi Foodbath, Yuzuriha Footbath & Drinking Fountain, and Hinatamiyakushi Footbath towards the back from Kashiwaya Ryokan.
In addition, there are facilities, where you can enjoy “drinking fountain (onsen)” that is one of Toji culture, such as Yuzuriha Footbath & Drinking Fountain and Shionoyu Drinking Fountain in the immediate vicinity of Kashiwaya cafe.
There are also three Onsen facilities, where you can enjoy one day trip for free from 9:00a.m. to 3:00p.m.; Kaminoyu, Kawaranoyu, and Gomusonoyu.
In addition, two facilities with charged but has rich equipments; Seiryunoyu and Koshikinoyu at the lakeside of Okushima Lake.
When Japanese travel abroad, we are surprised about what is written on guide book, that is “we should bring toothbrush and sleepwear, as most hotels do not provide them.” This is very surprising for Japanese, as “Oh? Really?” This is because Japanese accommodations almost always provide toothbrush and sleepwear (yukata).
Basic Amenities Provided at Onsen Ryokan
Well, let me introduce basic amenities provide in rooms of Japanese onsen ryokan.
・Electric kettle + tea set – You can enjoy tea (green tea) for free.
・Refrigerator – It is empty or filled with drinks (surcharge required).
・Towels – Most combination is face towel and bath towel.
・Toothbrush – It comes with toothpaste for one night.
・Yukata – Other than yukata, there could also be monk’s working clothes or pajamas.
・Body soap, hair shampoo – Sometimes equipped in a bath rather than in a room.
・Safe (strong box)
These are the basic amenities provided at general ryokan.
At Kashiwaya Ryokan, we also offer the following amenities.
Amenities provided at Kashiwaya Ryokan
・Wi-Fi – Although this is not a thing, it is so useful. ※It is for free.
・Drawstring pouch – A convenient fabric pouch, useful when you go to the bath.
・Hairbrush and comb
・Cotton and cotton swab
・Hair rubber band and shower cap
・Tabi – A kind of socks. We provide it only during cold season.
・Skin care products – Provided at women bathrooms.
・Bathrobe – Provided at rooms with private bath.
・Soap, shampoo, and conditioner set of THANN, the Asian luxury cosmetics brand – Provided at rooms with private bath.
Bus amenities are one of the pleasures of accommodation, as you can select various things at each ryokan and some ryokan provide their original amenities. In fact, I imagine that many customers enjoy amenities at home that are possible to be taken-away. (Please ask at each ryokan whether amenities can be taken away.)
Use amenities and built-in fixtures at ryokan effectively to enjoy your comfortable trip!