We packed up from Kyoto and headed to the mountains to relax in an authentic ryokan with natural onsens. It’s essentially a mountain lodge with hot springs where you don Japanese kimonos and have traditional keiseki meals. It was a nice retreat for us all after so much traveling and touring and learning.
In Kyoto, we hopped on the bullet train, traveling at over 300 km/h for two hours to Odawara.
We drove up from the castle town and had a nice lunch on the shores of Lake Ashi, looking out at the clouds instead of “shy” Mt. Fuji that was hidden in the clouds. After lunch, we stopped off to explore a fabulous outdoor sculpture garden, and admired the Picassos, ran in the maze, climbed a kaleidoscope tower and studied the art.
The ryokan was relaxing and peaceful. When you pull in, they give you clothes (kimonos, slippers, two toe’d “yoda” socks, and Japanese yukata robes) and you leave your shoes, bags and burdens behind. Our room was Japanese style, with our own personal onsen.
The onsens are single-sex, and have strict procedures for disrobing, scrubbing and cleansing and then naked bathing in the hot mineral baths. Brayden and I enjoyed going from pool to pool, and then getting ready in our kimonos before our nine course kaiseki dinner.
We absolutely loved chillin’ in our ryokan, were sad to say good-bye to Omri, and feel refreshed and ready for Tokyo!