Lodging FeatureTop Five Recommended Inns for Mountain Travelers
Have a Relaxed Stay While Being Cradled in The Bosom of the Mountains
The area around the Ishizuchi Mountain Range, where only a minimal amount of anything manmade can be found, teaches us the joys of being immersed in Mother Nature. At a hot spring inn, take your time soaking in the bountiful, high-quality water and feel its healing effects on your body, worn from travel and sightseeing. At a mountain cottage that serves as a base for mountain climbing, you can enjoy communicating with staff members who have a thorough knowledge of Mount Ishizuchi. And the inn that used to be a school building offers a comfortable, retro ambiance. Get away from the noise of the city and spend a slow-paced night, and it will make your travels to the Moutain Range an even more memorable one. Experience the luxury of gazing at the star-filled sky and waking up to chirping birds.
Kyoya Ryokan Bekkan Annex, Kanki-an
A secluded hot-springs inn located near the Kurose Dam. The main building is an old Japanese-style house supported by shiny black columns. In its spacious Japanese-style rooms, visitors can rest their bodies while surrounded by the nostalgic taste of old Japan. What attracts so many people here are not only the atmosphere, but also the baths filled with hot milky white water. Spring water containing carbon dioxide, sodium chloride, and hydro-carbonate cold water minerals is said to be beneficial for skin diseases, sore muscles, and promoting beautiful skin. Take time soaking and enjoying the quality of the hot spring water.
Also on the premises are detached “hermit cells” named Getsu-an and Sei-an. The Getsu-an has a hearth so customers can experience the tasteful charm of sitting around the fire in the winter. Sei-an is a smaller structure and has its own rock bath. These are recommended for guests who wish to spend time in a private space. They are also available by advance reservation for having lunch or dinner only, both of which include a dip in the bath, so you can enjoy a quick soak after your meal.
Konoka-onsen Hot Spring
Located by the Yoshino-gawa river, this multi-purpose facility lets visitors enjoy the feel of being in a secluded place. The hot springs facility has open-air baths that offer a total sense of spaciousness and is also open to those who wish to come in just to bathe. Bathers can soak in the hot water while gazing out at seasonal views that include cherry blossoms in the spring, fresh greenery in the summer, fall foliage, and winter snow scape. The spring water contains ferruginous sodium chloride, which is effective in moisturizing the skin and promoting the body’s heat retention, and is often called “bijin-no-yu” (hot spring of beauty). Stay in one of the nine Japanese-style rooms, which are all spaces filled with refreshing wood fragrance.
The Ki-no Kaori Onsen (“wood-fragrance hot spring”) is located inside the Michino-eki Konoka and also has a gift shop that sells specialty products from the small town of Ino town. A fishing pond where visitors can casually enjoy a fishing experience catching amego salmon is open from May through November. The restaurant with a large window showing a beautiful panoramic view offers original menu items such as the “kiji ramen” which is topped with roasted Shimanto-dori chicken. A good place to stop by while out on a drive.
Joju-ya Shiraishi Ryokan Inn
Enjoy sightseeing from the air on the Ishizuchi Tozan Ropeway, then walk 20 minutes from the Joju-eki station to arrive at the Joju-ya Shiraishi Ryokan inn. It is located within the premises of Ishizuchi-jinja Joju-sha shrine which is the front approach to Mount Ishizuchi. It is used by visitors who come for various purposes including mountain climbing, skiing, and visiting the shrine. The inn is designed so that the shrine can be viewed through the windows of all 22 Japanese-style guestrooms. Guests can enjoy a sense of being embraced in the warm bosom of Mount Ishizuchi. Since the Ishizuchi trailhead is right at the front of the inn, the area becomes enveloped by the sounds of the horagai (Conch Horn) echoing through the air during the “mountain opening” celebrations. The inn is open almost year-round.
Because the inn is a gathering place of people who love Mount Ishizuchi, in the climbing season, you can engage in discussions about the mountain with staff members and other guests. Guests can stop by just to use the restaurant, which offers delicious dishes that can only be experienced here, including a set meal consisting of hard-to-find Iwatake lichens. With prior reservation, the restaurant can prepare bento boxes to take with you on a mountain climb.
A mountain cabin that stands atop the highest mountain in western Japan. Although a climb on Mount Ishizuchi can be done as a day-trip, climbers who wish to take their time savoring the mountain’s beauty often love to stay at the cabin. As the guestrooms are communal with no gender separation and all guests sleep side-by-side on the floor, it is perhaps more for advanced climbers. But becoming friends with fellow guests who are veteran climbers can be a chance to gain valuable information on mountain climbing. Since no kitchen is available for guests to use, as a general rule, meals are included in the accommodation. When staying, be sure to observe the rules such as “lights out at 9 p.m.”
The star-filled sky that can only be experienced by those who stay at this mountain-top cabin is a sight to see. The cabin’s first floor, which has a kiosk, cafeteria, and a rest area, can be used free-of-charge by visitors stopping by to take a break. Although the menu is small, limited to dishes like miso soup and rice curry, guests appreciate the chance to eat something warm. An instant hot drink mix called “Ame-yu” sold at the kiosk has a gentle sweetness that slowly seeps into the body.
Shizen Okoku Shirataki-no-sato
A multi-purpose facility built on the site of Shirataki-kozan, a mine that was the third-largest in the Shikoku region and stood at 750 meters above sea level. The mine, around which they say approximately 2,500 people once lived, closed in 1972. What used to be an elementary school at the time was turned into the Nature Education Center Shirataki and was given new roles, one of which is being a place of lodging. Classrooms were renovated into guestrooms with a simple yet comfortable ambiance. This is a perfect base for mountain climbers as it is located near a number of famous waterfalls as well as the Noji-mine ridge, and the Ozare- and Kuroiwa-yama mountains.
Kochi Prefecture’s Okawa V. is a village that, with the exception of some remote islands, has the smallest population in Japan. But there are many things to do here at various facilities including campgrounds, sports community center, and Ajisai Komichi (“hydrangea footpath”). It also offers local specialties such as Okawa Kuro-ushi beef and Hachikin-jidori chicken that can be enjoyed at a barbecuing facility.