Staying at traditional, family-owned, and homey TOUJI YADO in BEPPU KANNAWA

KANNAWA Town is a small town in BEPPU City which has the biggest yield of natural ONSEN and the biggest number of spring source in Japan. This town is an old ONSEN town where had prospered as one of the representative TOUJI BA (ONSEN place for TOUJI) in Japan. Wherever you stay in this town, the quality of ONSEN is guaranteed. “KIRAKU (喜楽)” is also one of those nice old TOUJI YADO and it has its own spring source.

I stayed at this traditional, family-owned, and homey TOUJI YADO for 2 nights. Actually I had several appointments with various people here in KANNAWA, and the reason why I had chosen this hotel was because the villa with private outdoor bath was so reasonable and dinner and breakfast seems so nice at this KIRAKU. Surprisingly, it was only 13,200 JPY per person per night (including dinner and breakfast) and 8,600 JPY per person per night (including only breakfast). It’s far more reasonable than any other ONSEN hotels around here in KANNAWA.

A family-owned TOUJI YADO “KIRAKU”

It’s located 7 minutes walking distance from the central district of KANNAWA town. The steam of ONSEN is rising so powerfully. A nice looking entrance curtain is swaying with the wind, and plants are also very calming. The staff welcoming us was really a nice person. The room with private outdoor bath we booked was a villa. This villa is located across the small road from the main building, and there are an outdoor bath for men, an outdoor bath for women, and another private bath for each customer’s private use, located next to our villa. “Villa” in Japanese means “HANARE / 離れ”, and “HANARE” literally means the place or relationship which is away from the main thing. Although “villa” in English has a kind of luxury perception, “HANARE” in Japanese literally means the quiet place away from hustle and bustle, and the HANARE of this KIRAKU exactly fits this idea. It was really homey villa, and it was as if I visited my relative’s house.

Weekdays vs Weekend?

In Japan, generally it’s really silent if you stay at ONSEN hotel on weekdays. Most of the tourists gather on the weekend only. Surprisingly, according to the research data by Expedia Japan, Japan ranks at the bottom in acquisition of paid holiday in this 2 consecutive years. Japanese people tend to hesitate to take paid holiday. But if you look at it from the opposite side, hotels tend to be vacant on the weekdays and you can relax more. In addition, the price setting of hotels in Japan differs depending on which season or which day you stay. The pricing of weekend is higher than that of weekdays. Thus it’s recommended to stay there on the weekdays. This is why we usually travel on the weekdays. This is a good tip you would better know.

TOUJI YADO is so flexible

In Japan, hotels usually offer the package with both dinner and breakfast. Although recently the number of hotels which offer options with breakfast only or without any meal has been increasing little by little, most of the hotels still stick to the package with both dinner and breakfast. Moreover, in many cases, dinner time and breakfast time are already fixed (say dinner at 6pm and breakfast during 6 to 8am etc.) for the sake of hotel employee’s convenience, whether the customers like it or not. Because of this, sometimes you might had a late lunch and might not have any appetite for dinner, or you might need to wake up early. Such kind of time restriction is happening and this I think might be one of the causes people don’t come to ONSEN places so often today.

However, on the other hand, TOUJI YADO is so flexible. Originally it has been the place for long stay customers, and there’s a kitchen for customers to cook by themselves for their own health maintenance. Therefore, depending on what you prefer, you can go out for dinner, you can eat light meal for breakfast, or you can skip breakfast and sleep more. Such needs by each customer can fit TOUJI YADO. Needless to say, the quality of ONSEN in TOUJI YADO is wonderful because TOUJI YADO is originally the place to cure diseases or injuries by the power of ONSEN. These are the reasons why I love TOUJI YADO much more than normal ONSEN hotels or RYOKANs. However, because of the holiday system in Japan which company employees can only take day-off on the weekend and mindset / culture that Japanese people have toward taking holiday, as mentioned above, ONSEN trip has become shorter trip, and the culture of TOUJI and needs of self catering at TOUJI YADO have been becoming less and less popular. The traditional traveling style of healing your body gently and cooking by your own for your own health maintenance are declining. Even this traditional TOUJI YADO “KIRAKU” is also partially offering package with dinner and breakfast like other normal RYOKAN do in order to fit this trend.

We also booked this TOUJI YADO with dinner and breakfast, but suddenly I got an appointment with my friend for dinner on the 2nd night, thus I asked them to cancel my dinner. I was sorry to cancel it in the last minute, but they gently kindly accepted it. This is the flexibility of TOUJI YADO.

The dinner on the 1st night was like this. It was really amazing. Although they are small family-owned inn, its dinner was really gorgeous.

In the middle of the main building and villa, there is steam pots to steam foods by using their own ONSEN steam. Several dishes served are also steamed at this pot. If you cook by yourself, you can cook using this pot.

ONSEN of KIRAKU

KIRAKU has their own spring source which steam is endlessly rising. fresh natural ONSEN flowing from spring source is nothing but blessings of the magma of the earth. Since ONSEN flowing here in KANNAWA is around 100°C, thus they usually cool it down or add some water to make it around 40 to 42°C. At this KIRAKU, they seem to adjust it to be 42 to 43°C so that ONSEN here in KIRAKU is famous for its hotter spring than the other RYOKAN / hotels and public bath houses. Having said that, if you feel it too hot and want to cool it down, you can do it by adding some water after you ask other customers around.

There’s a indoor bath in the main building which you can lock and use privately depending on the time.

And also, there are outdoor bath for men, outdoor bath for women, and a private outdoor bath. These are really cozy and very relaxing.

Staying at traditional TOUJI YADO. It is really good for the maintenance of your mind & body. I want to come back here to cook by myself next time.

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