Japan is a country full of wonders. Unfortunately, people who visit Japan often tend to stick with the most famous parts of the country for their limited stay. However, the are countless other interesting places that majority of the tourists neglect. These places are the hidden gems of Japan. If you are a person who loves to explore these places and wants to take a break from famous but crowded areas, I have a perfect place for you.
Hokuriku area of Japan, packed full of interesting places such as Tojinbo (a series of breathtaking steep cliffs) and Kenrokuen (a world-famous garden), is one such place that you will definitely enjoy. Your stay in this part of Japan can not be a completely relaxing experience without a stay at an authentic and modern ryokan. I would like to recommend Matsuya Sensen as the perfect base for sightseeing in the Hokuriku region.
Matsuya Sensen in Awara Onsen is a beautiful and luxurious Japanese-style hotel that is a perfect place to rest from your fun but a surely hectic tour of Japan. This great place can satisfy every type of tourist. For fans of Japanese food, there are several restaurants that offer high-quality Japanese dishes made of the finest local ingredients. Lovers of tradition and Japanese culture will love the design of the hotel and many different experiences offered here. Of course, fans of onsens will be amazed by the many baths available, including the largest baths in the Hokuriku. The hotel is easily accessible by train to JR Awara Onsen Station. From there you can book a free shuttle bus.
I am sure you will agree that there is nothing better after a long day of sightseeing than taking a long, leisurely soak in a hot spring bath, soothing your mind and rejuvenating your body. Matsuya Sensen’s many hot baths are ideal for just this. Like in all of Japan, male and female public bathing areas are separated, and each has several different baths.
The male area includes an open-air bath as well as one of the largest baths in the Hokuriku region. Also, there are variety of baths and bathing environments. The whole bathing area is spacious and each wash station is sectioned off for an added sense of privacy. The whole bathing area is spacious and each wash station is sectioned off for an added sense of privacy.
The female area is also beautifully decorated and has a variety of baths, including a solo-bathing bath, a ‘ne-yu’ sleeping bath, and a healing sauna that offers the same benefits as a bedrock bath. Also, there are special single-person tubs and also the jacuzzi and sauna, which offers the same benefits as a bedrock bath.
There’s also a ladies-only floor containing a relaxation parlor to enjoy after bathing, an aesthetician’s spa, and more. At the aesthetician’s salon, located right next to the female bathing facility, you can receive aromatherapy and Bali-style treatments. When you embrace the soothing oils and healing aromas, you will feel even more relaxed and ready for another day of sightseeing.
Make sure to try all baths in your bathing area to get the full experience!
An important part of every hotel are the rooms in which guests stay. I am happy to tell you that the rooms at this amazing ryokan are on par with the rest of the thing it offers. From the careful placement of ornaments to the tastefully selected furniture, the guest rooms exude a sense of authentic Japanese hospitality with which you will surely be impressed.
There are several types of rooms available. The rooms I recommend to you if you want the most luxurious experience are the guest rooms on the special floor, Tokiwasure Hanareza. The highlight of these luxurious rooms is a private open-air bath, filled with soothing hot spring water, so you can relax at any time in the privacy of your room. As I already said, guests of this room can enjoy locally produced seasonal ingredients at Chiyomigusa, a dining hall exclusive for them.
If you are looking to enjoy a leisurely and relaxing time, then staying in one of the Sensen-Kan guest rooms is the perfect way to make the most of your trip. This wing offers three types of rooms: standard rooms, Western-style twin rooms, and special rooms.
Also, there are standard Japanese-style rooms that are recommended for guests who want a more casual ryokan experience. All rooms have their own bathroom, tub, and shower, as well as an air conditioning and heating unit, a TV, a refrigerator, and all the usual toiletries.
Fans of Japanese food will be absolutely delighted by the wide variety of high-quality dishes you can get at several restaurants here. These are Sen-no-Sachi Seasonal Dining, the more casual Gottsuo-tei Hana Hana, and the exclusive Zen & Saron Chiyomigusa. With an open kitchen and modern Japanese atmosphere, Sen-no-Sachi is the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing dinner. Chefs here make tasty dishes of the finest local ingredients of the season by a team of expert chefs. Fans of sake will love the wide selection of sake from 34 breweries from the Fukui Prefecture. If you are one of the guests who has decided to stay at the special Hanareza floor you will have exclusive access to the upscale dining hall Zen & Saron Chiyomigusa. Every meal you eat here is of the highest quality and uses the finest ingredients.
For me personally, the best thing about staying at a traditional hot spring inn is a morning bath. And right after it, a freshly made breakfast carefully prepared to set me up for the day ahead. At Matsuya Sensen you can have that kind of breakfast. It has steaming bowls of locally grown rice, hot soup, and healthy side dishes that are both tasty and nutritious.
In addition, guests may order special dishes to supplement the regular full-course meal. This makes for an even more memorable dining experience. I recommend you try Echizen crabs. These crabs are caught here in Fukui Prefecture and are renowned for their extraordinary taste and flavor.
Matsuya Sensen also has many facilities which you as a guest of the hotel can use to make your stay comfortable, fun, and relaxing. The front desk is a vital part of every decent hotel. You will be happy to learn there is staff here 24 hours a day. They are happy to answer your questions and attend to your needs. Also, there is a Tea lounge. It is a sophisticated and comfortable space where guests can relax while drinking a cup of aromatic coffee. Other interesting areas include Club Kimi-Matsuya, Bar Lounge Ware-Matsuya, several karaoke rooms, a mahjong room, and a ping-pong room. Also, there are several experiences in which you can participate there. These are the Onsen Egg Cooking Experience and the Tea Ceremony Experience.
Another great thing about Matsuya Sensen is the fact that it is the perfect base for sightseeing. The whole Hokuriku region is easily accessible. Here you can find many different interesting places that many foreign tourists never see. The most famous is the Tojinbo. It is a series of steep cliffs with a height of more than 20 meters. The government declared the cliffs a nationally designated place of scenic beauty and a national natural treasure. Many interesting rocks are there including one that looks like a lion, a candle, and many more interesting shapes. Here, visitors can enjoy looking at them from a sightseeing boat.
One more famous place is the Kenrokuen Garden in Kanazawa. It is one of Japan’s “three most beautiful landscape gardens” and famous worldwide. The spacious grounds used to be the outer garden of Kanazawa Castle. Ruling Maeda family constructed it over a period of nearly two centuries. With each season it takes on a unique look and fascinates visitors all year round. Visitors can enjoy cherry blossoms in spring, irises in early summer, autumn leaves in autumn.
Also in winter, you can see yukizuri; placing ropes around the trees to protect them from the snow. More fun places in the area to see are the Echizen Matsushima Aquarium which houses various sea creatures. In addition, here you can find a massive theme park called Shibamasa World, a famous temple known as Daihonzan Eiheiji, and many other.
I am certain that you will enjoy this great place. I wholeheartedly recommend you to book a stay at Matsuya Sensen, especially if you want a break for the usual tourist routes of Japan and want to experience this less known, but interesting area.