Tokiwa Ryokan is a large traditional Japanese hotel located in Yuda Onsen in Yamaguchi.
I stayed here during my trip across this part of Japan, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by many things it has to offer.
I arrived in Yuda Onsen as I made my way from Kyushu towards Hiroshima since it is located halfway between. I arrived first on a shinkansen and then by a local train. The station was located within walking distance of the ryokan, which was super convenient.
I checked into the ryokan without issue and was escorted to my room. The room was quite large and had several sections. First, there was a small foyer where I would leave my luggage. Then there was a large main area with a low Japanese table and closets, a great place to relax.
The bathroom was split into two smaller rooms, one containing the Japanese toilet and the other one containing sinks and all the toiletries. The bedroom had two large and comfortable beds. The highlight for me was the balcony which contained an open-air private hot bath with hot spring water!
This was such a nice feature and definitely worth it if you want to bathe alone. It was so nice just sitting here in the fresh air and chilling in the hot bath.
Of course, Tokiwa has public onsen baths as well. Six of them, in fact! These include open-air hot baths, one of which is surrounded by a bamboo grove which provides a unique feeling and experience.
Another bath is made of hinoki or Japanese cypress, which is known as a perfect material for baths with its relaxing fragrance.
Another interesting bath is one made with unique stones imported from China. All in all, there is something for everyone.
The water quality in this area is excellent and very good for your body. I felt so amazing after soaking in it. Yuda Onsen is said to be the best hot spring in the Sanyodo region of Japan!
You know what goes well with a hot bath after sightseeing. Traditional Japanese food, of course! And I can say that the food offered in Tokiwa is excellent.
I enjoyed both the dinner and breakfast here and tried many different dishes. You can see and taste how expert chefs prepare this using fresh local ingredients. I especially enjoyed Fugu, a Japanese puffer fish for which Tokiwa is famous. It is a must-try!
After my dinner, I went to watch a comedy show called the Okami-Gekijo hosted by the landlady of the ryokan. It was said that this show is famous and attracts many visitors to the ryokan from all over Japan.
I must confess I was a bit skeptical at first, thinking that I wouldn’t like a comedy in Japanese since I did not speak the language very well.
However, the show turned out to be so fun and engaging that the night flew by in an instant, leaving me wanting more! The old landlady is over 80 and still performs full of energy and enthusiasm.
And her younger cast members are really dedicated as well. The show included singing, dancing, reenactments, dress-ups, traditional drums, and crazy costumes. It was so much fun and definitely the highlight of this visit.
The show was held in a large hall in the hotel. There are also several more facilities here. There is a public room with many vending machines where you can relax and watch tv. Also, there is a beautifully decorated tea lounge in the lobby if you want to spend some time there and a night hall if you are up for some late-night party.
Also, there is a karaoke bar which I, of course, tried and had a lot of fun! All in all, there are many things to do here.
In the morning, I went to do some sightseeing across the area. There is an interesting park overlooking the town with some monuments to the Mori clan, which ruled the area in medieval Japan.
Also, there is a large church and memorial dedicated to Francis Xavier, a Christian priest who brought Christianity to Japan 500 years ago. But the most interesting place in Yamaguchi for me was the Rorikouji temple and its five-storied pagoda. It was such a nice place to explore and very relaxing! I highly recommend it.
And if you want to use this as a base to explore this part of the Chugoku region, you are in luck. You will be happy to know that many interesting places such as Hiroshima, Miyajima, Hagi town, Tsuwano, and Motonosumi shrine can be reached from here.
I had a great time during my visit to Tokiwa in Yuda Onsen, and I recommend it to you if you plan on visiting this part of Japan. If you would like to learn more, check out their website.