The drive to the hotel was beautiful - stunning scenery and the hotel is in a magnificent setting.
This onsen experience is wonderful...and spoilt only by the bears in cages, and the nutty professors house filled with so much junk. You had to walk through this open house to get to the rotenburo. It included so many collectibles??, Ainu statues, pots an pans, photos of the bears swimming in the river with people, and large stuffed bears enjoying tea-parties etc - all too weird to explain. And beyond all this chaos was a beautiful rotenburo on the river.
The hotel is nice if a little tired, the service is excellent, the food is great (except the bear soup) and the whole experience is a mix of fantastic and weird at the same time. On the Obon weekend the only rooms available were in the newer more exclusive (expensive) section. Our dinner was served in the suite, a masseuse came and we had a nice massage and we enjoyed the rotenburo - three mixed ones and one just for ladies.
This was a real experience. The setting is great - right on the Tone river - quite a magical setting actually. There is also a small onsen in the hotel which is said to have the best water in the whole area??
Anyway, it was explained to us that the owner has recently passed away, and they are slowly cleaning up the nutty professors house - I hope this means the bears will be moved to more appropriate accommodation very soon. This could be an unbelievable experience for a number of reasons different ones to the ones we experienced.....
Certainly memorable......would like to see a few changes before returning....
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