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

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


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