We arrived on what seemed to be a particularly busy afternoon, with the town's annual fireworks happening that night.
After performing an admirable car shuffling act, Tyler sat down with us and gave us a very helpful introduction to the area, providing us with guides in English. As others have mentioned, the restaurant guide including translated menus is invaluable.
The room had a nice view over the garden from a sun room which could be separated from the main bedroom. We had a private toilet, but no shower, in our room. We could hear/feel children running around the corridors downstairs but this didn't bother us as we were there for the festive atmosphere.
That evening we paid to use the private onsen, which was well worth it. It's in a gorgeous outdoor area and is really clean and nicely designed, plus the temperature was just right for us inexperienced onsen-goers.
We opted to eat out for our evening meal, and tried the local spicy udon dish as recommended by Tyler - loved it! Then we watched the fireworks with the locals, a great night.
The traditional breakfast was lovely. We checked out soon after and headed off via the Piggy Bank Museum which was pretty cool.
I wished we could have stayed longer - the town is packed full of little restaurants and bars, and Kamesei is a great base to explore it all.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Traditional ryokan featuring warm wood construction, gardens throughout, relaxing onsen baths and gourmet kaiseki meals. You can wear your yukata robe and use our wooden geta sandals to stroll around our town, Togura Kamiyamada Onsen, which has lots of appealing shops, restaurants, as well as onsen geisha. Centrally located to the best of Nagano. Our American owner is happy to share this slice of the Japanese countryside with you. Free pick-up at Togura Station. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Kamesei Ryokan Chikuma, Japan - Nagano Prefecture