Since anyone can enjoy a private onsen or a room with a private open-air bath（Rotenburo) without any restrictions or concerns, everyone from anywhere around the world can be satisfied with them.
Kashiwaya Ryokan is tattoo-friendly, so anyone can enjoy and participate. But if people would prefer some privacy, they can hire a private onsen or a room with a private open-air bath to further enjoy the experience.
Onsens are an integral part of Japanese culture, therefore, visiting and experiencing an onsen is a big purpose in coming to Japan for many people.
However, there are many different types of baths with different purposes and restrictions, so it may be confusing for tourists who are not used to our customs and culture.
Today, I will talk about all different types of onsen.
Today, we will be introducing the etiquette of visiting hot springs(Onsen) in Japan.
It is no exaggeration to say that Japan is known as the World No.1 hot spring country.
There are 2983 Onsen (hot spring) towns, and there are 27297 hot spring locations all over Japan.
There is a description about hot springs in Japan’s oldest history book, ‘Kojiki’, that was compiled in 700 A.D. From this we can tell that hot spring culture has been with Japanese people for a long time.
In the long history of Onsen, Japan’s own hot spring culture has changed, and in that culture, there are manners and etiquette that people follow to try not to cause any troubles for other hot spring users.
Let’s see the manners and etiquette of using hot springs in Japan with a little bit of jokes then!
So many people are questioning whether they can go to hot springs in Japan if they have a tattoo.
We, ‘Shima Onsen Kashiwaya Ryokan’, are tattoo friendly. Therefore, anyone with or without tattoos can enjoy all of our hot springs. However, there can be no doubt that many hot spring places do not accept people with tattoos.
Please read the article ‘hot spring and tattoo’ for the further details.
Visitors from Japan come looking for different things, from authentic Japanese food, cultural experiences, and shopping. Japanese hot springs, or onsen, are yet another popular activity for international tourists.
Though many tourists are interested in onsen, some are from countries that don’t have communal bathing customs. For these visitors, it may take a lot of courage to get naked and take a bath with your friends, let alone complete strangers!
Add to that the fact that most onsen aren’t tattoo friendly, and there are even more visitors who miss out on the opportunity to experience Japanese onsen. The reality is, there are historical reasons that people with tattoos have been banned from onsen in Japan. Despite the influx of international guests who have tattoos, many onsen still maintain this antiquated policy.
As you can see, this all makes for a terrible situation. Many visitors to Japan wish to experience Japan’s famed onsen, but they can’t because of superficial cultural problems. This is truly a shame.
We at Shima Onsen Kashiwaya Ryokan have a strong reputation on sites such as Trip Advisor. This is due to our dedication to making onsen accessible to all guests. We have had a “Tattoo Friendly” policy for many years, and we have several private onsen baths that are free for guests to use: three private baths open to all guests, and 2 rooms that include their own private bath.
Many of our guests post photos on Instagram from our private onsen as well. Search #privateonsen and #kashiwayaryokan to see what we have to offer here!
Shima Onsen Kashiwaya Ryokan has begun a special deal just for ALT’s currently residing in Japan. With this special plan, you can save up to (Y)2,000 per guest, and you can use the discount as long as there is at least one ALT in your party! Feel free to bring along your visiting family and friends to experience traditional Japanese lodgings.
We at Kashiwaya Ryokan made this plan for two reasons. First we think it would be a shame if the ALT’s in our community and throughout Japan lived here without experiencing a traditional onsen ryokan, an important part of Japanese culture. Second, we guarantee the highest service so that you can thoroughly enjoy your stay in hopes that whenever you return home, whether to visit or to move back, you might share your experience with your friends and family.
Shima Onsen was once a popular place to come for the curative properties of its waters. Extended stays in onsen towns for health and rehabilitation (“toji” in Japanese) was the original purposes of hot springs in Japan. As such, this is an important part of onsen culture. The town is surrounded by natural beauty and is much the same as it was 50 years ago, giving this onsen resort a nostalgic “old Japan” feel.
Shima Onsen boasts the oldest onsen ryokan in Japan and the onsen temple Yakushido, both of which still stand today, not to mention the stunning natural beauty of the area. The vibrant blue of the rivers and lakes in the area are lovingly called “Shima Blue,” and if you’re lucky you might run into a wild Japanese serow (goat-antelope) or monkey.
Toji — Onsen Travel for Health (Health Benefits of Onsen)
Toji refers to a relatively long stay (usually more than one week) at an onsen for the purpose of medical treatment or recuperation. There are records of this type of medical treatment dating as far back as the Kamakura Period (12th-14th centuries), and they say that there are various health benefits to bathing in onsen waters.
These are just a few of the reasons for Kashiwaya Ryokan’s popularity.
• 3 free private onsen baths and 2 rooms with private open-air baths for guests who prefer privacy but still want to enjoy the hot spring water
• Traditional kaiseki meals
• Guests with tattoos are welcome in all onsen baths
• Since we are a smaller ryokan with only 15 rooms, large groups don’t stay here, meaning it’s always quiet, peaceful, and relaxing
• All rooms are Japanese style rooms with tatami and futon to sleep on, allowing our international guests to enjoy an authentic Japanese experience
We hope you’ll take advantage of this unique opportunity to stay at Shima Onsen Kashiwaya Ryokan. We’re looking forward to seeing you soon!
Shima Onsen and the Kanto Region are full of fantastic spots for seeing the gorgeous autumn leaves. Though Tokyo is known as a bustling metropolis, there are actually many areas of Kanto that are filled with natural beauty.
The autumn foliage in Kanto is best seen between September and December, and we believe this is the next best season to visit Japan after the spring cherry blossom season. Now, allow us to introduce some of the best places to visit in Kanto during the fall. You won’t want to miss the opportunity to enjoy one of the most appealing aspects of Japan’s natural beauty!
Kanto’s Top 10 Locations for Fall Foliage
Let’s get right into it and start with our ranking of the 10 best places to see autumn leaves in Kanto.
#1: Shima Onsen / Shima River / Okushima Lake (Gunma Prefecture)
You’ll have to forgive us for putting Shima Onsen in the top spot. This is of course where our very own Kashiwaya Ryokan is located, but it isn’t an exaggeration to say that Shima Onsen is one of the best spots in Kanto for enjoying the gorgeous hues of fall. After all, we are located right in Joshin’etsu-kogen National Park.
For the past several years, Japan’s summers have been incredibly hot. In fact, from the end of the rainy season in late June through August, we often say “atsui desune” (“it’s hot, isn’t it”) instead of more standard greetings like “konnichiwa.”
Though the locals here think it’s quite warm in Shima Onsen, those who come visit from the hotter Kanto Plain area always tell us how cool it is here.
Part of the reason it’s so cool here has to do with our elevation (about 650 meters). However, an even bigger factor is the fact that the Shimagawa River, famous for its Shima Blue water, runs alongside the onsen town.
The water of Shimagawa River is cold even in summer, and the wind that blows from the river envelops Shima Onsen Town. It’s just like a natural air conditioner!
There are many areas near the river in Shima to enjoy the cool weather.
Ishigashira no Sawa is located across from Asahi Bridge, and its water runs into the Shimagawa River.
Ishigashira no Sawa is very close to Kashiwaya Ryokan, making it perfect for a morning or evening stroll. You can play in the water there, and there is also an abundance of fish that you can catch. If you are in the area now, you can enjoy the bamboo lanterns as well.
About 1.5 meters down-river from Kashiwaya you can see natural pools in the Shimagawa River called oketsu. Recently you can even see people swimming in these pools.
Step away from the lights of the central Shima Onsen area and National Highway 353 on a clear night, and you can see a beautiful night sky filled with stars and a beautiful moon.
The picture above was taken on a calm August night around 10pm at Okushima Lake, the northernmost point of Shima Onsen.
We were able to take a truly fantastic photograph of the starry night sky directly above the dam embankment where you can clearly see the Milky Way. But you don’t have to go that far to see a sight like this. Take a backroad near Kashiwaya Ryokan to get away from the streetlamps, and you can see a gorgeous night sky like that in the pictures below.
Both of these photos were taken at a location just a 3-minute walk from Kashiwaya Ryokan. Of course, the view of the night sky from our open-air baths is also excellent!
When you come visit Shima Onsen, why not try taking a picture of the gorgeous stars.
And don’t forget to share your pictures to Instagram if you take a good one!
In Japan, there are fresh seasonal fruits you can eat during any time of year. Apples, grapes, tangerines, strawberries, peaches, Japanese pears–you name the fruit, and you can find it in Japan. What’s more, there are fruits in season all year round due to the diligent efforts of our farmers.
And wherever you go, there are also tourist friendly orchards that allow you to pick your own fruit!
In Japan, all-you-can-eat fruit-picking is very popular. You just pay the entrance fee, go into the orchard, and pick as many fruits as you can eat. Popular even among international visitors, you can enjoy fruit picking right here in the Shima Onsen area.
In the Shima Onsen area, we especially recommend apple picking.
Nakanojo, where Shima Onsen is located, is a big producer of apples, and there are many growers in the area. The different varieties of apples are harvested from August all the way through November, and the apple-picking season for visitors also coincides with this period.
In early August you can enjoy the Tsugaru (notable for its fresh, sweet flavor) and Sansa (balanced sweet and sour flavor) varieties. October is the season of the juicy and deeply flavorful Akibae, as well as the bright red Yoko variety developed here in Gunma. And finally, the world-famous Fuji variety is ready to harvest in November.
Fuji apples are the most representative of Japanese apples, making up a majority 55% of all apples harvested in Japan. In recent years, they have been produced in other countries (notably, China and USA), and it is said that they are the most commonly grown apple variety in the world. The Fuji apple is about the size of a baseball and has a superbly sweet flavor. A hybrid of the Red Delicious and Ralls Genet varieties of apple, it first came to the market in 1962.
Being able to eat as many of these amazing apples for just one coin (500 JPY, or about 5 USD) is a dream come true to fruit lovers!
For apple-picking in the Shima Onsen area, we recommend Kanai Farm, Shirogami Fruit Park, and Jindaira Farm, all of which are accessible via public transportation (local bus bound for Nakanojo Station).
The fee for all-you-can-eat apple-picking is only 500 yen. If you want to take any of your apples home, extra fees will apply.
In the Shima Onsen area, you can also enjoy strawberry, peach, blueberry, and many other varieties of fruit picking during various seasons.
We hope you enjoy the diligently cultivated flavors of Japan’s gorgeous countryside when you visit.
Shima Onsen is a sprawling hot spring (or onsen) town located along the Shima River. The town area covers about 3km north to south. However, if you measure from the southermost oketsu (mysterious indentations in the riverbed that Shima is famous for) to the northernmost Shima River Dam, the onsen covers a length of 6km.
Now, this distance is only a short car ride, but on foot it might be a bit daunting. That’s why the mode of transportation we recommend for traversing Shima Onsen has to be…bicycle!
What’s more, we offer free rental bikes to our guests at Shima Onsen Kashiwaya Ryokan, so please don’t hesitate to use them!
Kashiwaya Ryokan is located at an elevation of about 634 meters, the same as Tokyo Sky Tree in Asakusa. The elevation at Okushima Lake is about 770 meters, so to get there you would climb 130 meters. Climbing up the dam itself Is roughly 70 meters, which means it’s only about 70 meters from Kashiwaya Ryokan to the bottom of the dam (the Hinatami area).
In other words, it’s a very gentle slope that you can take your time climbing without getting too tired out.
From the central town area to Arayu District is about 2km, or 10 minutes, and from Kashiwaya Ryokan to Okushima Lake should take about 30 minutes.
We had biking trip to Okushima Lake, so be sure to check it out!
Let’s start on our bike ride to Okushima Lake!
Onsen guchi Area
The area around Kashiwaya Ryokan is known as the entrance to the hot springs (Onsen Guchi).
2min, 450m –
Handmade soba and udon noodles at Tsuchiya.
3min, 800m –
Ichiriki Sushi, Shima Onsen’s only sushi restaurant.
Washinoya sells alcohol, craft beer and foodstuffs like a convenience store.
Enjoy a free foot bath at Okinaya.