Each year during March to April, is the peak season of Japan’s cherry blossom. Many tourist and locals spend their time either to travel out town or in town to appreciate the beauty of the Sakura.
Throw back to my Tokyo business trip last month, I decided to arrive 2 days in advance to Shizuoka due to the blossom Sakura period in Kawazu. I made this last decision only 2 weeks in advance! I finally decided to go without accompany because I have never seen this in real life except in photos from friends. Since I made this decision very late and due to the cherry blossom peak season, there’s not much choice for hotels. Literally almost 98% were fully booked except this one – Imaiso which is quite convenient and only a station to Kawazu. Most of the hot spring hotel offers meals in the package if any of you have experienced, so it is not surprise this hotel do offer the same.
Before introducing this hotel, would like to tell you a bit background of Kawazu, it is a very small town located in the east coast in Japan with only approximately population of 7000 and a couple spot for hot spring. This year, Kawazu is the first place to have Sakura fully blossom in Japan and it is even earlier than last year. When I was there it’s around Feb 18 and it was suppose to be end of Feb! So guess what, I’m just on the right time and this is not really plan at the beginning! yea Bingo!
In terms of transportation to Kawazu, it takes approximately 2-3 hours by high speed train (Shinkasen) from Tokyo. I would highly recommend those who plan to visit this little city shall check the time table of the high speed train and buy the ticket in advance especially in a peak season like this! As the last train to there was 15:00 which was out of my expectation! I was supposed to take the high speed train to Kawazu however due to the delay of my baggage I had missed it!!! It finally took me 4 hours to arrive at 07:00 p.m at night (1.5 hours later than original time). Anyways, thanks God I was just on the right time to catch the night view of Sakura.
Finally I arrived the closest station in Imasio hotel – 今井浜海岸（Imaihama Kaigan Train Station) around 07:00 p.m. It was very dark and I can’t even find anyone and elevator in the station. As I was carrying my luggage so I can only walked slowly from stairs under the super dark circumstances. To be honest, it wasn’t very late but is a bit scared since there’s no one in and looks very dark even it was only 07:00 p.m! The station like a little wooden house in the morning which is pretty nice! Once I walked down from the long stair case, there are beautiful cherry blossoms on both sides. As it was too dark to take any photos at night so I took a few in the morning. See how beautiful it was!
The hotel is only 5 mins walk from the above station. I almost walked passed at night as it was too dark and was hidden behind a huge tree. The entrance is quite big, the reception is very friendly and super nice! Of course they do greet you when I just entered the hotel. They are very happy to help if you have any questions and do introduce what facility they have in this hotel.
While the lady lead me to my room, she asked me to choose my favour kimono. They were presented so lovely and I almost couldn’t pick which one I want as all of these looks so beautiful. One thing you don’t have to worry if you can’t speak Japanese as there are a few of them do speak simple English. I guess it is because of the touristy place in Kawazu especially during the cherry blossom peak season. Also a few of them do speak mandarin! but I guess those were actually Chinese.
While heading to my room, it looks super traditional Japanese style everywhere. Each of the room have a name instead of a room no. So my room no. was 906 八景 Hachikei . I love the name as it looks very spectacular! Also there is a few bigger room which have a little Japanese latern on the floor, it almost like a Japanese house rather than just a room to me. Once entered the room, I have to take off my shoes at the entrance before I stepped into the living room. This is where they call 玄関 (Gankan) in Japanese.
As mentioned I was just on the right time to catch the dinner, as I was supposed to arrive before 6:30 p.m and the latest dinner time was 7:00 p.m! Since the night cherry blossom will shut down at 9:00 p.m, so I almost have to rush and have a really quick dinner in order to take some shots in Kawazu before they shut the lights. Basically they serve dish by dish and once you finish, they will serve the dessert in my room. Since I was rushing so I asked them to put out all at once! Haha I know it’s a bit weird but I don’t have much time to enjoy it one by one. Anyways, I still enjoyed those dishes as they were like art pieces presented on table rather than just food to me. Each dishes are so yummy and decent as usual I experienced in other hot spring hotel. So let’s see what I have for my dinner. I took some close up shot to share with you. As mentioned above, the price do include two meals (breakfast and dinner) , thus I don’t have to pay extra on this. There’s hot pot with meat and veggies, fish , steam rice with dried shrimp. Preserved Sashimi and vegetables.
Lastly they kept the dessert for me in the fridge, how warm and kind this was! So after this delicious meal, I went quickly to Kawazu station (only 1 station from hotel) to take the beautiful photos of night Sakura (cherry blossom). I will show the day and night cherry blossom in the next post. You might wonder where I slept, actually the lady prepared the bed once you finish the dinner just in the centre of the room below. It was really comfy and I did have a very good sleep that night!
Hot Spring (ON SEN)
The hot spring was located in the lower floor, as it is not allow to take photos so I can only showed some photos from the site. There are 2 kinds of hot spring , one is interior and the other one is exterior. For those who have been in hot spring, you might already knew that is naked and shall shower before get into the hot spring. After I came back from the night shot, I went to enjoy the hot spring in the lower floor. It was super cold that night, only 6 degree but I still chose to enjoy the exterior hot spring which I think I made my correct choice.
I ran and jumped into the hot spring super fast in such a cold weather! Then I laid my head on the rock, closed my eyes, enjoyed the hot spring under the starry night and listened the nature’s song – sea waves. What can I ask for more! I can’t verbally tell or even in words how comfortable and peaceful at that moment. 🙂
So the next morning, I woken up by the sunshine from the balcony early in the morning. The view was absolutely breathtaking!! I don’t feel surprise as I knew that’s located in the sea shore but I can’t believe my eyes how brilliant this view was in real!! The weather is super great with clouds and sunshine. It just looks like a painting to me!
My breakfast was ready at 08:00 a.m and was well presented like the night before on the similar table. They packed the bed and take out the table in the middle of the living room. Same as the supper, it was presented very nice. So I enjoyed my breakfast with that brilliant view! Unlike western breakfast, the traditional Japanese breakfast have rice, fish, tofu, miso soup and fish in the morning. Also there’s tea (not coffee) for breakfast. They were all so yummy!
Just an extra information, there is shuttle bus service from hotel, it takes you from Kawazu station to Hotel and vice versa in a limited time. So if you would like to have a pick up service then you have to ask the stuff in advance. It’s only 15 minutes from hotel to Kawazu station. I have been to another hot spring hotel last year in Noboribetzu (I will share the review in my future post) but this is the best one I have every experienced and most important it wasn’t expensive. It cost me around $200 USD / night but includes 2 meals. I would highly recommend and definitely will be back next year.
I also took a video to share with you.
How to get there?
127 Midaka, Kawazu-chō, Kamo-gun, Shizuoka-ken 413-0503, Japan