Continuing on our weekend trip to Nagano, my friends and I stayed in a Japanese traditional style inn (called a ryokan). It was comfortable and pleasant, and we got to enjoy the cherry blossoms as well.
The inn is called Kamesei Ryokan, and is located in Chikuma City, Nagano. It was in a quiet area away from the big city, and we were very comfortable there and had a good time. One of the owners is from the U.S., and it was fun getting to talk with him and learn about the area.
This ryokan had onsen baths (you can see them here), three total, and even though we were only there for one night, between that night and the next morning, we tried each one once! There was a female bath and a male bath, which are clearly marked but get switched at intervals so that you get to try out both; and there’s a family bath in the back that can be reserved. The family bath was my favorite! It felt comfortable and homey, like being in your own backyard. (We didn’t all go in as a family though…haha.)
Nagano is colder than Tokyo, so the cherry blossoms bloom later; but not only that, my friend says that cherry trees require a certain amount of colder days in order to eventually bloom big and pink. As a result, even though Tokyo’s cherry blossoms are all but fallen, the blossoms here were in full bloom in big cloud-like clusters!
All these pictures were taken in or near Kamesei Ryokan. They book up quickly in the spring, though, so if you come during this season it’s best to book early. The ryokan is authentically “Japanese,” but with the distinction of having friendly English explanations available so you know what’s going on. (I speak Japanese and so I can generally figure out what’s going on, but still.) We left feeling relaxed and refreshed.
Back Number, “日曜日” (Sunday) cover