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
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Please Use These Images When You Get Lost from Tokyo to Shima Onsen

UsefulImages

When you go to Shima Onsen by the public transportation, you may get lost or cannot find way easily, even though you looked for the way in advance.

Then, here’s what you can utilize.

Download these images in advance then you’re ready!

Please utilize these images.

When you get on a highway bus, Shima Onsen-go, from Tokyo

Direct bus from Tokyo

When go to a bus stop from Tokyo Station.

I want to go to a highway bus stop in front of “Seven Eleven Nihonbashi 3 Chome Shop” on Tokyo Yaesu Street.

AT Tokyo station,Yaesu

Once you get on a bus (show this Image to a driver)

Dear a driver of Shima Onsen-go,
Thank you for driving a bus for our customer.
He/she is our customer.
He/she is getting off at Onsen-guchi.
Please take care of him/she.

Shima Onsen Go

When you take Shinkansen, JR Agatsuma Line, and a bus

Hokuriku Shinkansen

I’m heading to Kashiwaya Ryokan at Shima Onsen, Gunma.
I use Shinkansen to Takasaki Station.
From Takasaki Station to Nakanojo Station, I use JR Azuma Line.
I get on a bus bound for Shima Onsen and get off at Seiryu-no-yu bust stop.

From Tokyo by Shinkansen

When you take an express, Kusatsu-go, from Ueno

Limited Express Kusatsu

I’m heading to Kashiwaya Ryokan at Shima Onsen, Gunnma.
I use JR express “Kusatsu-go” from Ueno Station to Nakanojo Station.
I get on a bus bound for Shima Onsen and get off at Seiryu-no-yu bust stop.

From Tokyo by Express train

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

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How to get the direct round trip bus from Tokyo

Direct bus from TokyoDirect bus bound for Shima Onsen departs at from near Tokyo Station. (Tokyo Yaesu street)

We have a package plan including this bus, dinner breakfast and bed.

Package with bus, dinner and breakfast

This is the bus information

1) Time schedule:

Tokyo to Shima Onsen
#1 9:00 12:30
#2 10:40 14:25 (during winter to spring )

Shima Onsen to Tokyo
#1 10:45 14:45(during winter to spring )
#2 13:45 17:30

2) Bus stop at Tokyo:

When you get on the bus with our bus package, you don’t need the tickets.

Please tell your name to the driver or show this image.

Shima Onsen Go

The map of the bus stop at Tokyo is below,

The bus stop is in front of Seven-Eleven Nihon-Bashi 3cyoume shop.

The address is
3 Chome-4-13 Nihonbashi,Chuo-ku Tokyo.

AT Tokyo station,Yaesu

Because that bus is the public bus, it will stay only a few minutes at the bus-stop.
So please wait with margin.

Princess Maya Festival; All the town is decorated with Tsurushibina and Hina dolls

Hina dolls

From mid-February to mid-March in each year, Mayahime Matsuri (Princess Maya Festival) is held at Shima Onsen. Ryokan and shops at the onsen resort are decorated with Tsurushibina (mobile dolls) and Hina dolls.

Since ancient times, there has been a tradition, called Hina Matsuri (Hina Festival) in Japan, where we wish for girls’ healthy growth.

Hina Matsuri is held on March 3 in every year.

Tsurisibina in Shima Onsen

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“ETC Card” is essential when using a rental car in Japan

ETC card

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.

When you travel by a rental car, you will utilize the highway network that covers every corner of Japan.

As highways in Japan are paid, it is recommended to obtain ETC( Electronic Toll Collection ) card, which is useful to pay the fee.

Concerning ETC card, refer to the following link.
http://www.go-etc.jp/english/index.html

How to obtain the ETC card; there is a rental service for short-term users.

As English is available, you can rent an ETC card for 324JPY per day (February 2016 currently) also at Toyota Rental Car that I recommended in the previous blog.

Just set the ETC card in a vehicle-mounted device, then it automatically calculate fees. So you just liquidate collectively when you return the car.

They often sell valuable ETC cards, which are season limited or region limited.
http://www.go-etc.jp/english/expressway/index.html

When you rent a car, rent an ETC card at the same time. Then enjoy the drive travel !

Related article:
Let’s go to Shima Onsen by a rental car! You’ll have more fun!
Drive trip in a car. Watch out road closures during winter.

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

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Do you know “Yaki Manju”? our favorite snack and sweets

Yaki Manju
Yaki Manju – Photo provided by Shima Onsen association

Description

“Yaki Manju” is very popular snack and sweets in Gunma, where Shima Onsen is located, but is not known outside of Gunma at all.

At Shima Onsen, you can enjoy Yaki Manju at “Shimamura,” which is located opposite side of Kashiwaya café, and “Ginsen Chaya,” a snack restaurant.

Please enjoy “Yaki Manju,” the regional sweets, which all Gunma people love.

※Yaki Manju (roasted sweet bun) is a sweet, having four buns without bean jam pierced with a skewer, putting sweet Miso sauce, and roasting over charcoal.

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Do you know “Yaki Manju”?
Of course you don’t, do you?

Shimamura Yaki Manju shop
Shimamura Yaki Manju shop at Shima Onsen

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Let’s go to Shima Onsen by a rental car! You’ll have more fun!

Shiga Kusatsu Skyline

Overview

If you’re good at driving a car, how about renting a car to go to an onsen resort near Tokyo?

There are often many attractive sightseeing spots around onsen resorts.

So if you use a rental car, you’ll be able to have more fun after arriving at an onsen resort.

It’s good to directly go to an onsen resort near Tokyo from Tokyo.
Another way is to go to a closet station by a train and rent a car from there.

The recommended rental car company is Toyota Rental Car, as it has a wide network and you can book in English.

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Mount Asama, Shima to Karuizawa

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Onsen town near Tokyo even Japan enthusiasts admire

Description

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.

Shima Onsen Town

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Let’s go to countryside in Japan! To Good Old Japan Away from Hustle

Let’s go to countryside in Japan!

Kuni village

In the past few years

visiting customers from overseas to Japan are increasing due to yen depreciation and the fact that national efforts to strengthen for tourism have been made.

The number has also significantly increased in this year (2015) compared to the last year.

It might break through the milestone of 20 million people.

In fact, in major tourist destination, such as Kyoto and Tokyo, so many foreign countries are there that it may seem to that there are more foreign customers and Japanese tourists.

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Meals at Kashiwaya Ryokan

There are varieties of fun at staying at Onsen Ryokan.

In particular, if it is your first time of staying at Onsen Ryokan, you will experience new things one after another and cannot help saying “Amazing!”

Natural environment at Onsen resort, atmosphere of Onsen town, buildings of inns, Japanese-style room, Onsen, and so much others.

Every one of them is a typical experience in Japan.

And one of the highlights is meals.
Example of meals

As you can see the “Washoku” has been registered as UNESCE intangible cultural heritage, Japanese traditional meals are valuable culture, which we can be proud in the world.

Although the dining style of dinner at Ryokan has been gradually changing, the main stream is “Kaiseki Ryori,” which is a course style meals used for parties and banquet, and its arranged styles by each inn.

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