Destination Dispatches: Rest and Ryokan

- Rene Vosslamber, Regional VP of Hotel Relations and Kiwi Expert

The Asaba ryokan has been in family ownership for 500 years. The founder of modern Buddhism used to bath in the nearby river. Today it remains unpretentious and genuine.

Airi Asaba-Carey looks after non-Japanese speaking guests personally and is happy to share some of the stories behind this iconic property and onsen (hot spring baths).

The view from arrival lounge is all the more dreamy on a rainy day. Only 17 rooms in total, most overlook this central pond, full of friendly koi fish.

Guests are looked after with typical Japanese enthusiasm and warmth.

The stage in the central courtyard pond is used regularly for Japanese theater. On this day, a staff member sweeps up last night’s rain.

Each room has a sitting area like this, a good spot to contemplate.

A multi-course Kaiseki style dinner is served in your room. The attention to detail and a focus on aesthetics is why I love Japan.

Bedding is prepared after dinner. Asaba has some rooms with Western style beds, which are actually favored by elderly Japanese guests because they are easier to get in and out of.

Hot spring water is piped directly to your room. Communal indoor and outdoor pools (the onsen) in the ryokan have separate bathing times for men and women.

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