洞窟探検、5点満点の夕食、人力車、ミルキーな温泉;我が家族の夏休み Spelunkering, A Perfect Dinner, Rickshaw, Milky Onsen: Our Family's Summer Vacation

2009.08.03: 青い目のおもてなし This American’s Omotenashi




From here on out, Kamesei will be inundated by families with kids on summer vacation. Before the action hits, we went on our own little summer vacation -- a 400km drive. We decided to head over to neighboring Gifu Prefecture to check out Gero Onsen, said to be one of Japan's Top Three Onsens (along with Arima Onsen outside of Kobe and Kusatsu Onsen in Gunma Prefecture on the other side of Nagano).
Along the way, we stopped to spelunker at the Hida Dai-Shonyudo caverns to ooh and aah over the stalagmites and stalactites. Most of the rock formations had spiritual-sounding names like "The Ear of Buddha". For a tourist trap, it was pretty cool -- definitely not OSHA-approved (lots of narrow spots to duck through) and the operators seem to be making efforts to make improvements to the facilities.
After the caves, we made it to Gero, but hit it during a rain squall so went straight to the ryokan. We chose Shinmeisansou mainly because it was a small, family-run inn. But also, their dinners are rated a perfect 5 out of 5.

NOTE: If you want to experience a perfect dinner, check out Shinmeisansou. To give you an idea, our chef's dinners are rated a 4.6~4.7, good enough to be in the top 3 or 4 from all 37 of Togura Kamiyamada Onsen's inns. At Shinmeisou, we feasted on fresh ayu (sweetfish) on skewers as well as Hida-gyu beef grilled on an irori hearth, and so many more delectables. You'll just have to come and experience it yourself. You won't be disappointed. I guarantee it.

The next morning, we went into the onsen town and putzed around -- the foot baths, the Charlie Chaplin statue (!), the onsen museum, and then across the river to...not the outdoor bath that's pictured in all of the brochures (it was closed due to high river level) but to a plain old sento public bath. Hmm. I guess we'll have to try going back again someday. (Not another 400km?!?!)
After leaving Gero, we stopped at Hida Takayama. I had been there about a month ago, and really wanted to show our kids the classic street scene that has been preserved in its original Edo-era style. And what better way to see the town (and keep the kids entertained), than by rickshaw. The Puller (?) gave a splendid talk about the town and was amazingly knowledgeable -- much better than any guide I've ever seen. Seeing Takayama by rickshaw -- highly recommended.
Finally, on the way back home and back in Nagano Prefecture we wanted to show the kids Kamikochi but ran out of time. So instead, we made a side trip to Shirahone Onsen. Our kids were amazed by the milky water and how their bodies 'disappeared' into the white onsen. Mari and I were just thankful to finally get to soak in a real onsen -- what a wonderful welcome back to Nagano!

飛騨大鍾乳洞のHPはこちらClick here for the Hida Caverns website.

飛騨高山の美味しい飛騨牛のレストラン:飛騨琢磨 Hida Steak Restaurant in Takayama: Takami

飛騨高山の人力車のHPはこちらClick here for the Hida Takayama Rickshaw website.

白骨温泉の日帰り施設:楳香庵 Shirahone Onsen bathhouse Baikoan


The Perfect Dinner

Gero Scene

Classic Takayama Scene

Shirahone Onsen


メールアドレスが公開されることはありません。 * が付いている欄は必須項目です