Drive trip in a car. Watch out road closures during winter.

Drive in Winter

In my previous blog, I wrote an article to recommend using a rental car for traveling areas close to airports and major cities, such as onsen near Tokyo.

By using a rental car, you can travel more freely at the destination suburbs.

Gradually more and more foreign customers also visit our Shima Onsen Kashiwaya Ryokan by rental cars.

For such customers, watch road closures information during winter.

Our Shima Onsen is located in Gunma, which is next to Shibu-Yudanaka Onsen in Nagano famous with snow monkeys, Tochigi with Nikko, Niigata with Naeba Ski Resort and so on.

The boundaries between those prefectures often pass through mountain roads.

In addition, some of main roads are closed during winter due to snow.

Kashiwaya winter scene

Also on the other day, a customer tried to visit us by a rental car from Nagano side.

But he had to take significant detour as the planned road was closed during winter.

Since this kind of information is hardly transmitted to customers overseas, it will be a sudden problem when they try to visit us with GPS and maps.

Although you can obtain information in Japanese through Japan Road Traffic Information Center, it seems that they do not transmit the information in English.

The winter road closures, which seem to be related to customers to Shima Onsen, are the following two sectors.

Route 292, From mid-November to late April
It is a road, which passes from Shibu-Yudanaka Onsen in Nagano famous with snow monkeys to Kusatsu Onsen in Gunma, through Shiga Kogen.

Route 120, From late December to late April
It is a road, which passes from Nikko in Tochigi with Nikko to Katashina in Gunma, through Konsei Toge.

If you’re planning to drive to snowy places during winter, obtain winter road closure information in advance and act with spare time, such as by inquiring to hotels and ryokan you are planning to stay.

Related article:
Let’s go to Shima Onsen by a rental car! You’ll have more fun!
“ETC Card” is essential when using a rental car in Japan

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Autumn leaves. The Japanese natural highlights, along with cherry-blossom viewing

Autumn leaves

Oku-shima area

Japan has distinctive four seasons of spring, summer, fall and winter.

In addition, Japanese people have been strongly rooted to cherish the change of seasons.

It can be shown in Kigo of Haiku.

There is a way to express seasons, called “24 Seasons,” which has divided the four seasons further into 24 seasons.

We are really enjoying the change of seasons.

Although we can enjoy spring, summer, fall, and winter in Japan, among them, the highlights are cherry blossom viewing in spring and autumn leaves in fall.

Autumn leave season is a popular tourism season for both customers from overseas and from Japan, as well as cherry blossom season in spring.

The best season of autumn leaves starts from around mid-September at high altitude places and Hokkaido.
In Kyushu, you can enjoy it until mid-December.

Ochiai street

Shima Gawa river

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Shima Blue is the treasure of Shima Onsen, which we are proud of in the world

Shima Blue at Okushima lake

As you can know because it is inside Joshinetsu Kogen National Park, Shima Onsen is the treasure box with rich nature.

In addition, among the nature at Shima Onsen, we are proud of the color of the water of Shima Gawa River the most. We call it “Shima Blue.”

We cannot expressed it in words. Because it is amazing blue that can be seen only here, please visit it once.

Shima blue

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Japan Romantic Road: Would you like to travel countryside In Japan by a car?

Mount Asama, Shima to Karuizawa
Mount Asama, Shima Onsen to Karuizawa

Overview

If you have been visited Japan several times and are thinking to drive in Japan, Japan Romantic Road is recommended.

Japan romantic road
Japan romantic road

Japan Romantic Road is a rural road with the total length of 320 km (200 mile), which connects Nikko, Tochigi and Ueda, Nagano, through our Gunma.

Our Shima Onsen is located around the middle of the road.

There are many sightseeing spots, such as rural Japanese landscape, three national parks, lakes, mountains, Onsen, ruins, and much more.

If you would run through all the route, it will take at least 2 nights and 3 days.

But if you spend more time, you can much more enjoy rural Japan and highlands. So you will get more satisfied. Continue reading

Kashiwaya Cafe is a cafe at Shima Onsen Resort

Kashiwaya Cafe

We not only run Kashiwaya Ryokan but also Kashiwaya Cafe at Shima Onsen Resort.

Kashiwaya Cafe is located about the center of Shima Onsen resort.

There are “Shimamura” of baked buns, “Workshop Mugendai (infinity)” where you can experience pottery, “Shionoyu Drinking Onsen Station” where you can enjoy drinking Onsen, ATM, free public parking, and so on, are around it.

At Kashiwaya Cafe, we provide Home-Roasted-Coffee, NAKAYOSHI COFFEE beans.

Onsen mark
Among coffee menu, “Onsen Mark Cappuccino” with a decoration of “Onsen Mark” on cappuccino is posted on various travel magazines and webs as a famous coffee at Kashiwaya Cafe.

In addition, we provide black teas of Ronnefeldt, the German bland. Cold fruit tea is also popular.

You can also enjoy wine and draft beer, including Shima Onsen Ale, the beer brewed at Shima Onsen.

We have also abundant lunch menu.

curry
Our popular menu are “Kashiwaya Curry,” rice with curry which you can enjoy 2 kinds of taste at the same time, and “Italian Ramen,” with pasta noodle and ethnic taste soup.

lunch menu
Also, sandwich made with small baguette bread, pasta, Loco Moco using Onsen egg, and so on, are available.

In addition, our handmade sweets are also popular. Baked cheesecake, rare cheesecake, banana cakes, gateau chocolate, and so on, are available.

Kashiwaya Cafe uses a renewed building that was built in 1935 by Masao Kashiwabara, the founder of our company.

Many customers visit us many times, looking forward this shop atmosphere and the viewing from the second floor, which changes in four seasons.

Free WiFi is also available inside the shop.

At Shima Onsen Resort, other than Kashiwaya Cafe, there are various restaurants, where you can enjoy lunch, such as handmade Soba, popular grilled eel shop, pork cutlet, ramen, and so on.

Please stay several nights and enjoy various lunch!
enjoy bikes

Shima Onsen Kashiwaya Cafe
http://www.onsen-cafe.com
https://www.facebook.com/KashiwayaCafe/
4237-45, Nakanojo-machi, Agatsuma-gun, Gunma, 377-0601
Hours 10:00 to 17:00 (Last order at 16:30)
Closed Thursdays, the 3rd Fridays

If you interested in Japanese style Onsen, Please click here
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Dinner Menu at Shima Onsen Kashiwaya Ryokan

Dinner menu

The dinner menu is now early summer version.

Dinner at Shima Onsen Kashiwaya Ryokan is Japanese Kaiseki style.

Mainly with Gunma Local Ingredients, our well-experienced cook mix Japanese traditional technique and new technique, which is beyond Japanese. Not only the taste, but also looking you can enjoy.

I will introduce dinner menu every time the version is changed at this blog.
Stay tuned!

For dinner menu in early summer in 2016, I combined Gunma made ingredients, such as vegetables and wheat pork, and a little early summer ingredients, such as Ayu and winter melon, resulting in gentle style.
Chef, Norihiko Sakamoto

Aperitif
Plum wine “Osakazuki”

Plum wine is made with Japanese Sake, “Osakazuki”, of brewery in the foothills of Mt. Haruna. Gunma is also one of the most producer of plums in East Japan.

Specialty
Hanamame (beans) and Sashimi Konjac handmade by the landlady

Hanamame, kojac
Well evaluated classic menu.
The key points are handmade and local Agatsuma production.

Appetizer
Cone Tofu

Corn Tofu
Soy milk is mixed with early Hokkaido corns and made to deep taste Tofu-yose.
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About Us, Kashiwaya Ltd. Company Overview

History of Kashiwaya

Kashiwaya Iryou

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.

Masao Kashiwabara, founder
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).

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Enjoy Hanami at Shima Onsen! When is the best time to see cherry blossoms here?

Sakura in Shima Onsen

“Hanami” is Japanese traditional custom, which means to admire cherry blossoms.

It is not an exaggeration to say that all Japanese are looking forward to the time of cherry blossom.

Sakura 2015

We, living at Shima Onsen, are not an exception. We always talk about Ohanami when It comes to a cherry blossom season at Tokyo (late March), such as “When do cherry blossoms at Shima Onsen bloom?”, “Do they bloom beautiful this year also?”, “When should we do Ohanami this year? “, and so on.

There is no so-called “Ohanami attractions” at Shima Onsen, where all over the place is covered with cherry blossoms.

Instead, there are various kinds of cherry blossoms bloom in mountains, such as wild cherry trees, weeping cherry trees, Yoshino cherry trees, double cherries, and so on.

They dye mountains with pink dots and tell the arrival of spring to the mountain village.

Sakura at Kashiwaya Ryokan

You can view weeping cherry trees from private open-air baths of Kashiwaya Ryokan.
You can also enjoy Yoshino cherry trees planted on the front riverbanks from deck terraces.

Sakura at Shima Onsen town

In addition, you can enjoy double cherries at the Shima Onsen town.

The double cherries around “old Nakanojo Municipal third elementary school,” an old wooden school building that had been closed down, are very impressive.

林昌寺のシダレサクラ

Nakanojo

A weeping cherry tree at “Rinshoji,” an old temple near Nakanojo Station which is the nearest station of Shima Onsen, has height of 16m and is spectacular.

It has been designated as a natural monument of the town.

The altitude of Shima Onsen is about 650m, so the flowering period of cherry blossoms is later than that of around Tokyo, even it is at the same Kanto region.

Weeping cherry tree at “Rinshoji” near Nakanojo Station is for about 15 days from April 10.

Within Shima Onsen, wild cherry tree, weeping cherry tree, and Yoshino cherry tree are about 25 days from April 20, and double cherries are about 10 days from May 5.

(The full bloom season changes depend on the weather of the year.)

Please enjoy cherry blossoms slowly at Shima Onsen!

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

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