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Onyado Kawasemi

2-14 Hisuinosato Iizakaonsen, Fukushima 960-0201 Fukushima Prefecture
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#6 of 118 hotels in Fukushima
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KI-NRT wrote a review May 2022
Ashiya, Japan1709 contributions383 helpful votes
We decided to stay here due to its high ratings among Japanese ryokan experts, as well as the only ryokan to earn a perfect (5.0) rating in the quality of food - in a country known for amazing kaiseki cuisine, that's saying something. Did it live up to our expectations? For the most part, the answer is yes. In some cases, it even exceeded it. Given its reputation, it's no surprise that room rates are very high, even among top tier ryokans. It's especially startling given that it's located in Fukushima and not Hakone, Nikko or Izu. Given the quality of the facilities, garden, overall operation and quality of food, we felt that the price was appropriate given what they had to offer. Since it was in the boonies, we were half expecting it to be a "traditional" ryokan with dated but well maintained facilities. This couldn't have been farther from the truth. Yes, it's traditional in build and decor, but it still felt fresh and not at all worn down. In fact, upon first entry into our "Wabisuke" suite room, we felt the fresh wooden smell of the tatami mat floor. They've definitely been maintaining the property and keeping things at a very high standard. At the same time, the rooms keep to a Japanese aesthetic - beds are in futons and the living room doesn't have a chair; you sit on a "zabuton" mat on the floor. And the decorations are definitely very Japanese. If you're wanting a quintessential ryokan experience but without the wear and tear of old properties, then this is your place. There are also beautifully manicured gardens around the property with small ponds flanked by various blooming flowers (we had Azaleas in front of our room.) It's very green - full of moss and trees that were bursting with fresh spring green leaves when we were there. We booked "Wabisuke," one of the two "special" tokubetsushitsu rooms, which offers more space than other rooms (the other "special" room is Maisonette style, which we don't like.) It has a main living room, two other (slightly smaller) living areas (one turns into the bedroom at night when they bring out the futons) and a small sitting area in front of the deck that lets you enjoy the view of the lake and gardens (fully private, too.) The in-room, open-air outdoor Onsen bath also has the same spectacular view, and is stylish and in good condition. The good news is that Onyado Kawasemi does not skimp on the amenities and relegate its best attributes to the "special" rooms. In fact, ever one of its 12 rooms have in-room open-air Onsen baths, so even if you can't swing for the best rooms (or they're all booked up), you won't feel cheated by staying here. There is a communal (gender segregated, of course) Onsen facility on site, but we did not try it out. We couldn't imagine the experience being any better than the awesome one available to us in our room. The other benefit common among all rooms is the fact that meals are served in one's own room. This is a benefit that is not available in most ryokans, even in some of the most highly regarded ones (like Beniya Mukayu and the Fufu chain of luxury ryokans.) Now, then, how dinner? It was exceptional. That said, I don't know if I'd place it at the very top of the heap. We've had some awesome meals in top ryokans, and this property is certainly up there. But it's not head and shoulders better than anything else we've had, but that's okay. We appreciated how unique and local many of the courses were, which is really what is important when travelling a long way to stay at a luxury ryokan. The good news is that Onyado Kawasemi has maintained its high quality of kaiseki for many years due to low kitchen staff turnover. I was told that the current Executive Chef joined Onyado Kawasemi 27 years ago (when the ryokan first started.) He was the Sous Chef, but when the then-Exec. Chef retired over a decade ago, he took over. Therefore, future guests should expect similar quality and consistency, which is essential for a ryokan maintaining is culinary reputation. I won't go into intricate detail of every dish, but one that was particularly surprising was something that came in a large clay pot that had soup in it, and was topped with Lobster grilled with wild herbs, Charcoal-grilled Channel Rockfish, Green and Red Aizu Asparagus, Water Eggplant, White Onions, Watercress, Black "Kuromai" rice and - get this - Savory Sabayon, a creamy French sauce that is made primarily from egg yolk and fortified wine... and, it had bacon bits on top. When we first tasted the soup, it was very, very strange. But after the third or fourth tasting, it really started to grow on us. Was it the best dish ever? No. But we appreciated the complexity of the flavor, and the ingenuity of the chef to continue innovating and not resting on his laurels. One other example was a unique take on a common dish called "Shinjo," which features clear soup with some sort of savory fish, shrimp or crab cakes (or at least the loose equivalent of it in Japan.) In this case, it was a Foie Gras cake! Again, it was initially strange, but our taste buds quickly began to enjoy the texture of the Foie Gras cake and the contrast with the light and slightly salty dashi-based clear soup. The facilities, grounds and room/Onsen at least met or exceeded expectations, and dinner was delightful. If there were any blemishes, we'll point to a few. First off, our "Nakai-san" (female butler) was an older lady who was not the warmest or most attentive Nakai-san that we've come across. She was very formulaic in her approach, and her explanation of each course offering was super rushed - it seemed that she wanted to get it out of the way. While there was nothing rude about how she conducted herself, it was not particularly warm or empathetic towards her guests - basically, she doesn't read the situation and adjust to the needs of each individual group of guests that she serves. Secondly - as wonderful as the kaiseki dinner was, breakfast was equally uninspiring. Nothing wrong with it, but nothing was memorable about it, either. In somewhat understand this; the leaders of the kitchen staff most likely need to focus their entire energy on dinner, and delegate breakfast duties to junior members. I just wonder whether they could be a tad more creative, instead of rolling out the typical salad plus steamed rice plus miso soup plus grilled fish plus tofu. I'm exaggerating a tad - it was a bit more than that, and it was beautifully presented at least. This ryokan enjoys ridiculously positive word-of-mouth among Japanese travelers, and I will now join them in the ranks of the admirers of Onyado Kawasemi.
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Date of stay: May 2022
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This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
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Su-Ann Khaw wrote a review Jun 2019
Melbourne, Australia43 contributions19 helpful votes
Wonderful experience at this Ryokan. The room is spacious, relaxing and impeccable. Great amenities. The food is incredible. One of the best Kaiseki meals I’ve eaten and certainly worth the short Shinkansen trip over just for the Kaiseki meal itself. Breakfast is such a wonderful and delicious experience as well - although prepare to be ready at least half an hour beforehand, it takes a while to set the table etc.
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Date of stay: May 2019Trip type: Traveled with friends
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
$680 - $1,083 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
JapanTohokuFukushima PrefectureFukushimaIizaka Onsen
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ONYADO KAWASEMI - Prices & Onsen Ryokan Reviews (Fukushima, Japan)

Frequently Asked Questions about Onyado Kawasemi
Which popular attractions are close to Onyado Kawasemi?
Nearby attractions include Old Horikiri House (0.7 miles), Ioji Temple (0.7 miles), and Fukushima Kataoka Tsurutaro Art Garden (0.3 miles).
Is parking available at Onyado Kawasemi?
Yes, free parking is available to guests.
What are some restaurants close to Onyado Kawasemi?
Conveniently located restaurants include Gyoza no Terui Iizaka Honten, Yakiniku Gyoza Hitachi, and Watanabe Made Bread.
Are there any historical sites close to Onyado Kawasemi?
Many travelers enjoy visiting Old Horikiri House (0.7 miles), Fukushima Inari Shrine (4.8 miles), and Iwaya Kannon (3.8 miles).