This is the continuation of the “RYOKAN ONUMA – A MECCA FOR TOUJI – Part 1”.
If you have not read Part 1, would suggest to read it before this Part 2.
Variety of ONSEN at RYOKAN ONUMA
RYOKAN ONUMA provides 7 indoor bath ONSEN in the main building and 1 open air bath (MORI NO YU) at the cottage separate from the main building. “ONSEN KAKENAGASHI” (free flowing / hot spring flowing directly from the source) is provided at all of these 8 ONSEN. Blessings of ONSEN are directly brought into the bath rooms, and we can accept those gifts from earth as they are.
“YAKUSHI SEN’NIN BURO” (Large public bath – mixed for both men and women): Sodium / Sulfate + Hydrogen carbonate spring
This is the traditional mixed bath for both men and women. In the limited time, it becomes exclusive for women. Since 1960s, it has been prohibited to open new mixed bathes in Japan and there are very few ONSEN hotels having this mixed bath now. Thus, it is very rare and precious to experience the traditional mixed bath. This legendary bath with excavated natural flowing ONSEN has a wall painting drawn by Ms. Noriko Takahashi, a famous Buddhist painter which also heals your mind. There is a seating stone at the center of bathtub which is good for half body bathing.
“TEN’NYO BURO” (Exclusive bath for women): Hydrogen carbonate spring
This is the exclusive bath for women where you can fully enjoy our fresh ONSEN directly flowing from the source. This contains more than 80% of natural sodium bicarbonate which is very rare in Japan. Also, plenty of metasilicic acid which is natural moisturizing factor are also contained, thus good for your skin.
“ISHIWARI NO YU” (Open air foot bath at courtyard): Sodium / Sulfate + Hydrogen carbonate spring
This is a traditional foot bath which has been kept as it was from Taisho Period (1912-1926). Excavated natural flowing ONSEN is always flowing. Well mixed of sodium, sulfate, and hydrogen carbonate from the spring source.
“YIN NO YU” (Private use available): Hydrogen carbonate spring
The bathtub is made of several types of medical stones which have been said to have high medical effect. Medicinal components and far infrared ray coming out from these medical stones make a good synergy with hydrogen carbonate spring. It is recommended for those who have a pain of the body. The name of “YIN NO YU” and “YO NO YU” come from Chinese philosophy “Yin and Yang (Yo)” which reflects the opposite forces that form a whole. Everything contains both “Yin and Yang (Yo)” in a balance that is always changing: such as men and women, hot and cold, day and night, positive and negative, and health and disease etc. In the traditional Chinese medicine, disease is diagnosed and treated based on the balance of “Yin and Yang (Yo)”. In this YIN NO YU, there’s a window on the wall which shapes the symbol of Yin.
“YO NO YU” (Private use available): Hydrogen carbonate spring
This reflects “Yang (Yo)” of “Yin and Yang”. In this YO NO YU, charcoal is blended in the wall of its bathtub. Thanks to the power of this charcoal, hydrogen carbonate spring here is so smooth and thick. It is recommended for those who have troubles in skin. The wall has a window which shapes the symbol of Yang (Yo). You can sometimes see the train from this window.
“AKARI NO YU” (Private use available): Hydrogen carbonate spring
Similar to TEN’NYO BURO exclusive for women, this AKARI NO YU is also a small bath with 100% hydrogen carbonate spring flowing directly from the source. You can bathe in here alone, you can accompany your helper, or anyway you want to bathe in.
“FUKASHI BURO” (Private use available)
This is actually not a bath to bathe in but you can take aromatic bath in the room where has ONSEN underfloor. The heat of ONSEN transferring through the floor and the comfortable sound of ONSEN flowing makes you fully relaxed. Since this is not ONSEN to bathe in, you can enjoy this aromatic bath with your clothes on, and the fatigue of bathing will be less.
RYOKAN ONUMA provides so much variety of ONSEN like above because they have ample supply of ONSEN. It is really good and convenient that you can experience such variety of ONSEN at one place.
In addition to that, what is special about RYOKAN ONUMA is “MORI NO YU”, a private open air bath in the garden, which is located at a cottage separate from the main building. Hotel staff takes you there by car, and it is only 5 minutes drive distance. “MORI” in Japanese usually means “forest”, and actually it is located inside the forest. Also, the Chinese character which they use for “MORI” is interpreted to “mother’s village”, and actually you can feel the sense of mother’s village when you bathe in this MORI NO YU.
When you reach this small cottage and open its door, there is nice open air bath surrounded by the forest right in front of you. Since it is private bath, there is nobody else around, and what you can hear is only the natural sound of forest and water. The surface of ONSEN just looks like a mirror, and the forest reflected on the water surface look like a painting. It was my first time that I spent such a long time looking at the view before bathing in ONSEN. View, nature, and sound. This whole atmosphere attracted me and even the ONSEN lover like me forgot to bathe in ONSEN for a while. After that, I slowly bathed in, and thought like this. “I want to hug the spring I love, but I can’t. On the contrary, I noticed I’m hugged by the spring, nature, and the earth I love”. I felt this is how this place was named “MORI NO YU”.
This MORI NO YU was the first place that made me feel like releasing my fatigue, dirt, and mental burden to the spring. This ONSEN reflects various expressions of forest season to season, and MORI NO YU changes its painting as well in each season. This was also my first time to feel that I want to come back here in each season.
TOUJI Programs and facilities
Apart from ONSEN, RYOKAN ONUMA provides guests various programs and facilities related to TOUJI style stay.
- “YU ZEN”: The program to regain your mental balance with having ONSEN, ZA ZEN (ZEN meditation), Walking, and simple meal (“ICHIJU SANSAI” which has one soup and three side dishes)
- “JI DAIZU TOUJI”: The program to grow local soybean at unused agricultural land, and wash away the sweat at ONSEN.
- “MORI NO YAKATA”: A mountain villa where you can experience various Japanese cultural activities, such as HAIKU and tea ceremony. They also have some seminar, event, and Yoga class here.
- “RYOKUSEI AN”: A tea house for formal tea ceremony.
I don’t think there’s any other ONSEN hotels but RYOKAN ONUMA who is interpreting and introducing the traditional TOUJI in the new way which fits the present day.
Meal at RYOKAN ONUMA
Although RYOKAN ONUMA is a TOUJI YADO, they also offer some packages for so called leisure-style ONSEN trip as well which is usually 1 night 2 meals. One of their packages “Standard plan” comes with Japanese KAISEKI Cuisine with plenty of seasonal ingredients. What I would like to recommend is their “ICHIJU SANSAI” (1 soup & 3 dishes) Cuisine package. It is a low-calorie organic cuisine mainly with brown rice cooked with seaweed salt and red bean, large NATTO, and variety of vegetables. It is said that people at the preset day are generally eating too much and becoming hyper-acid. It is very good for your stomach as well to reset it by eating less and healthy stuff.
If you stay there more than 3 nights, you can cook by yourself. It is one of the typical style of traditional TOUJI which is worth try and experience. There’s a nice kitchen where guests share, and you can buy some local vegetables and meats at the local supermarket and cook them by yourself. In that case, you can order “Rice and MISO Soup set” here at RYOKAN ONUMA.
Rooms at RYOKAN ONUMA
RYOKAN ONUMA has 4 types of rooms.
TOUJI KAN is 4-stories reinforced concrete building. Simple and traditional rooms for TOUJI without washroom inside.
Main building A (with washroom)
Wooden building. Japanese rooms with washroom inside.
Main building B (without washroom)
Wooden building. Japanese rooms without washroom inside.
A Japanese room with bed (only 1 room)
This is higher ranked Japanese room. It has bedroom which has semi double bed of Simmons. The local plasterer in Ishimaki City selected the best mud for the mud-plastered wall of this room and no adhesion bond is used. In the bedroom, volcanic ash from Kirishima is used which functions as deodorizer and adjuster of humidity.
Recommended way to stay at RYOKAN ONUMA
It is interesting to bathe in various ONSEN one by one, and it is also interesting to improve your eating habit as well. There are a lot of magazines and books related to ONSEN and TOUJI there, though most of them are written in Japanese. Since the owner’s mother is a teacher of Japanese tea ceremony, it is also worth experiencing the Japanese traditional tea ceremony at tea house. It is also good to try ZEN meditation to concentrate yourself. Taking a walk around forest is also nice. Cooking local vegetables at the kitchen could also be fun.
Mr. Shinji Onuma, 5th generation owner of RYOKAN ONUMA, who always accepts flexible style of staying there, has kept up this traditional TOUJI hotel and rather evolved it. Since he is always challenging new style of TOUJI, more and more guests have been attracted by this RYOKAN ONUMA. Someday, I would like to post his interview at this blog.
Now, why don’t you explore the journey of TOUJI?
Related article: What is TOUJI?
Related article: RYOKAN ONUMA – A MECCA FOR TOUJI – Part 1