Have a YUKATA experience in Matsumoto!

July 24th, 2009 by
Category: Accomodations, Events, Experience, Information, Sightseeing

Today we are going to introduce a very fun and “Japanesey” service started by the Matsumoto Hotel and Ryokan Association on July 18th – Matsumoto’s “Yukata rental” service.

If you stay at any of the Hotels or Ryokans (Japanese style Inn) below, you can rent a Yukata (Japanese cotton Kimono) for 1,000yen. They have a “How to wear Yukata” manual too, so you can put on your YUKATA by yourself and walk around Matsumoto in style. We think it’s going to be very unique experience! The Yukata renal service will be held from July 18th to August 31st, 2009.

With this service, you can also get some freebies from wearing your Yukata or Jinbei (light cotton summer clothes) around town: admission to Honmaru Garden in Matsumoto Castle and Matsumoto City Museum become free! Daimyocho Street, which is located in front of Matsumoto Castle, also has a special lottery for people wearing a Yukata or a Jinbei who buy something from local shops.

In truth, we have been teaching customer service English to people who work in city hotels and ryokans for 3 years. They study English very hard and will try to welcome you as much as possible – you might have nice exchanges with them if the situation is right.

We believe that wearing a Yukata will become one of your special experiences in Japan, so please take this opportunity to experience Japanese culture firsthand and take pictures in our historical castle town.

Matsumoto's Yukata Renatal Servicee Poster

Matsumoto's Yukata Renatal Servicee Poster

Here is the poster that has been put up in participating hotels. If the place you stay at has a Yukata rental service, you should be able to find this sign and ask about it.

Here are the hotels and ryokans that have the Yukata rental service, in alphabetical order:

■Hotel Buena Vista
http://www.buena-vista.co.jp/eng/index.html (English site)
■Hotel Iidaya
http://www.iidaya.co.jp/english.html (English site)
■Hotel Montagne
http://www.hotel-montagne.com/index0.html (Japanese site)
■Hotel New Station
http://www.hotel-ns.co.jp (Japanese site, but has a link to an English page)
■Hotel Otariya
http://www.mcci.or.jp/www/otariya/ (Japanese site)
■Hotel Suehirokan
http://www.mcci.or.jp/www/suehiro/ (Japanese site)
■Matsumoto Hotel Kagetsu
http://www.mcci.or.jp/www/kagetsu/englishtop.html (English site)
■Matsumoto Tokyu Inn
http://www.tokyuhotelsjapan.com/en/TI/TI_MATUM/index.html (English site)
■Matsumoto Tourist Hotel
http://www.trist.co.jp/en/index.htm (English site)
■Ryokan Seifuso
http://homepage1.nifty.com/seihuso/emain.htm (English site)

This is a blog for foreigners in Japan from all over the world, so here is some extra advice for our visitors.

1.People usually wear special Japanese wooden clogs with Yukata, so bring your clogs or sandals if you have them.
2.We recommend you don’t wear a back pack with Yukata; it doesn’t go well at all. If you want to carry things, ask your travel partner or find a small pouch.
3.Straighten your back when you walk in Yukata, and take short steps.

Lunch with a Geisha

July 19th, 2009 by
Category: Accomodations, Cuisine, Culture Art, Onsens (Hot Springs)
Geisha performing at Kamesei Ryokan

Geisha performing at Kamesei Ryokan

Ever wanted to have lunch while being entertained by geisha?  Well, now you can, along with everything explained to you in English at Kamesei Ryokan in Kamiyamada Onsen.

Here’s the deal:  My friend Tyler, Kamesei’s American proprietor, will get you a complete Kaiseki (Japanese Haute Cuisine) multi-course meal, feturing local, seasonal ingredients.  The geisha entertainments starts with traditional dance to songs such as “Chikuma Ko-Uta”, a collection of romantic verses about the river flowing past Kamiyamada Onsen.  The geisha then make their way around the room, offering amusing conversation to all the guests.  This is often followed by the geisha engaging the guests in parlor games accompanies by shamisen.

Before and/or after lunch, guests can enjoy a relaxing “onsen” bath in Kamesei’s indoor bath or in their outdoor “rotenburo” bath.  The waters of Kamiyamada Onsen are 100% natural with a distinct sulfur smell.

So how much is it?  The price is not bad at all: ¥6,200 for adults and ¥3,100 for children.  Guests should arrive after 11:00 am.  Lunch starts at 12:00 and finishes at 2:30 pm with the geisha entertaining for an hour in between.

For more information or reservations, contact Kamesei Ryokan at (026) 275-1032 or (080) 2008-4815 (for English).  Or you can email them at omotenashi@kamesei.jp.

Ryokan at Yudanaka Onsen, North Nagano

March 27th, 2009 by
Category: Accomodations, Information, Onsens (Hot Springs)
Entrance to Seifuso Ryokan

Entrance to Seifuso Ryokan

I stayed at a ryokan in Yudanaka Onsen the other day. The private onsen bath was quite nice.

The elder owners speak only Japanese but the young manager (my friend) can speak a bit of English and he is very helpful. If you are looking for a real traditional ryokan near the Yudanaka Station, I would recommend the place. Yudanaka is the end staition of Nagano Dentetsu that comes from Nagano Station.

Yudanaka Onsen at dusk

Yudanaka Onsen at dusk

Also Yudanaka onsen is one of the hot spring places with convenient access to Jigokudani Yaen Koen (the Snow Monkey Park or Onsen Monkeys). Anyone interested in staying in the affordable ryokan with the old wooden building, check out his English blog site at http://ameblo.jp/yudanaka-seifuso/


Togura Kamiyamada Onsen’s Michelin Debut + Chikuma City’s New English Brochure

February 28th, 2009 by
Category: Accomodations, Information, Onsens (Hot Springs), Sightseeing

According to one of the other innkeepers in town, Michelin’s Japan Travel Guide (to be out 16-March) will list a new spot in Nagano: Togura Kamiyamada Onsen! Last year, their editor passed through Nagano and our town got a 10 minute appointment with him. Apparently my presentation was effective, as our town’s geisha will be featured in the new guide.

Also, today, Chikuma City’s first ever English Sightseeing Guidebook was released. Not bad, if I do say so myself. Now our town has the tools to better provide information to guests from overseas.022809-new-brochure1