When I arranged my trip to Japan, Takaragawa was not in my priority list to do. We booked Takaragawa Onsen Osenkaku via booking.com just a few days before we went to Japan. But, after I went there. Oh my God! It was the highlight of my trip. Takaragawa-onsen is located near Minakami, in Japan’s Gunma prefecture. It is an old style ryokan with the biggest outdoor onsen in Japan. In my opinion, they have the most gorgeous onsen view among other ryokans. I will definitely come back for Takaragawa Onsen again, I promise.
How to go there
We started our journey to Takaragawa via Shinkansen train from Tokyo Station. It’s just 1 hour away from Tokyo. We had already called the ryokan in advance, to ask the right direction to go there. And fortunately, they provide free shuttle bus service from Jomo-Kogen Station and Minakami Station. Please note: You need to call Takaragawa Onsen Osenkaku and make a reservation for their shuttle bus service. Otherwise you need to get a local bus to go there. We chose to stop at Jomo-Kogen Station, and they will pick us up at 1 pm (on time).
First thing first, you need to check the train schedule at Hyperdia. Hyperdia is a really useful website to search all Japan train table. I even saw some locals used this website too. Takaragawa shuttle bus is leaving at 1 pm from Jomo-Kogen Station. So, according to Hyperdia, route 2 is the best time for me. It cost around 5910 yen for one way trip, but it is covered with Jr Pass if you have one.
After we arrived at Jomo-kogen Station, we searched EAST EXIT. Soon enough we found takaragawa shuttle bus sign there (someone held the sign just near the exit). Just remember one thing, In Japan, everything is very punctual. The train, bus, and even taxi always come on time, if they say 12.51 , then 12.51 on the dot they will arrive. Takaragawa Onsen Osenkaku is approximalety 60 minutes drive from Jomo-Kogen Station by bus. I really enjoyed the trip from the station to Takaragawa Onsen. The rivers, the mountains, and the forests were all beautifully covered by the snow. It was really mesmerizing. I was in awe! I was so sleepy that time, however I couldn’t take my eyes from my window.
Around 2 pm, we arrived at the ryokan. They gave us explanation about the ryokan, the onsen (natural hot spring), the dinner, etc. Oh! Don’t worry, they fluently speak English. Everyone were very polite and will gladly help you if you have any questions. They provide bath dress (for woman) and yukata for visitors too. For onsen, woman is required to wear bath dress, but man is not allowed to wear anything, just a tiny towel to cover your modesty. Typical for a Ryokan (or any other Japanese traditional house) visitors are not allowed to wear shoes, so they gave us hotel sandals.
Room features a peaceful Japanese interior with a tatami (woven-straw) floor, a TV and shoji sliding screens, which connected to a relaxing seating area. And from this seating area, the view was so amazing! I’m glad that they gave us room with a river view. The sound of the running river was very relaxing. Me and my friends chose a tatami room with toilet and bathroom included. After a room tour, we went to explore the neighborhood. We had lunch, sips of sake and bought some snacks. Oh! of course we took thousand shoots and played with the snow.
Not like other typical japan onsen, Takarawaga Onsen is open for both gender. It means, that they are not too strict about the bath rules. And people with tattoos can enter the onsen also. So the good news is because the rules is softened, Woman is allowed to wear a bath dress, like towel dress. Man is permitted to wear a small towel from the ryokan. Yay! Onsen on winter is really the best thing in life. It’s so peaceful, I really enjoy my time here.
Takaragawa Onsen have 5 bath pool. We chose Maka Bath because it was the nearest onsen from the ryokan and the scenery was so amazing. There was a river next to the onsen but sometimes they don’t allow you to go into the river area for safety reason. Maka Bath is the most famous open spa in Takaragawa, established on July of 2004. It is a both gender bath with the capacity of 100 peoples. Natural hot spa flowing from the origin, with no additive water, no chemical and no additional heat. I really wanted to go back there as soon as I left Takaragawa. It was so comfortable, and the water was so nicely warm. We took a bath for 1 hour and it was a really good one. The onsen fully rejuvenated our tired body, released the stress, healed the fatigue, and refreshed our mind and soul.
They served dinner for each room at 6 or 7 pm and we chose 7 pm to had dinner. The staff helped us to serve dinner, they were so polite, kind and helpful. I really appreciated them. We had amazing dinner with fresh ingredients and delicious dishes than we could’ve imagined. It was a kaiseki multi course dinner, so lavish! They gave us appetizer like salad and stuff, fresh sashimi plates, barbecue dishes, sukiyaki with juicy meats, fritters, miso soup, rice and dessert. Ah and the japanese wine, It was super tasty! We asked for more but unfortunately they didn’t sell it for public, it was only for complimentary.
That was my first time having onsen experience, and this trip was totally worth it. I really enjoyed every second of my time there. It’s a pleasant time having onsen on outdoor pools which are nicely set among lush big trees, giant stones and flowing river. Don’t get shocked when you see some people all-out naked inside and outside (while walking from changing room to a pool and from one pool another). But, some people wore a bath dress or cover up with towel too, just like us.
Unfortunately there is something that I don’t like, which is their check out time. We should check out at 9.15 am and catch the shuttle bus at 9.30 am. I wish they make it longer, so we can experience another onsen after breakfast. Breakfast is served from 7 am to 8.30 am.
And lucky for us, the snow fell in the morning. We skipped the breakfast only for taking another thousand shoots of beautiful snow here. I didn’t want to go home. It was really the best holiday for me.
So here are our best moments in Takaragawa. Enjoy!
Takaragawa Onsen Osenkaku
Zip: 379-1721 Gunma Tone-gun Minakami-machi Hujiwara 1899
TEL [Rep.]0278-75-2611 [Res.]0278-75-2121
Price: ± IDR 2.000.000/person or ¥ 17.000
Website : Takaragawa Onsen Osenkaku