Most people we talked to before came to Japan have similar tips regarding accommodation in the country, which is to try one or two nights at a ryokan. Yes, staying at a ryokan can be more expensive than hotel or AirBnb, but it will be worth the experience. So, we knew all along we would spend at least one night at a ryokan in this trip. And when we finalised our itinerary, we decided to try two ryokan during our stay in Takayama. The first ryokan we tried was Ryokan Tanabe.
We chose Ryokan Tanabe for its location, high ratings on TripAdvisor, the kaiseki dinner, and the private onsen. Its location is close to Takayama station as well as the Old Town shopping streets, proved to be a great advantage. And as we experienced the stay, meals, and overall hospitality, we really have to agree with everyone that gave them a 5 stars on TA. The private onsen, we thought we’d be using ended up a waste. We ended up going to the shared onsen and had really great time there. Before went to Japan, I would flinch at the idea of public onsen, even gender separated ones. However, I learned that it was not awkward or uncomfortable in any ways at all. And at the end of two nights in Takayama, we both got addicted to onsen, especially the outdoor ones where eater temperature was right!
As we arrived at Ryokan Tanabe before their official check in time, we were told the room was not ready yet and that we could wait in the sitting area or left the luggage to explore the city and came back later. We, of course, chose the latter option! Check out here for our time exploring Takayama Old Town 🙂
When came back around 4 pm, we proceed with the check in process and the lady asked me to pick which color of yutaka I’d like then walked us to our room. On the way, she showed us where the public toilet, onsen, and the opening hours of them. We got room number 10 and it was a huge room with view to small private garden! The bathroom has a massive wooden bathtub, which sadly we used only once. We agree to get a room without bathtub next time and just enjoy the shared onsen. She also asked us what time we would like to have our dinner and breakfast the next morning. Then we were left to enjoy the hot matcha with some traditional cakes.
We eventually ventured out to have a peek at the public onsen. Turned out there was no one in the ladies onsen, so I happily enjoyed the whole place for myself. But soon enough another lady came in and we just enjoyed the hot spring bath in quiet and surprisingly it did not bother me. Anyway, the general rule for enjoying onsen is rinse yourself in the shower area first (use soap/shampoo if you feel you need them), then you can dip yourself in the hot bath making sure your hair is tied up and not soaking in the bath. And lastly, rinse again before drying your body and move inside the powder room. I love how they provide all sorts of skin care and hair care products, hair dryer, comb, even shaver. I actually prefer their indoor onsen than outdoor ones mainly due to the water temperature on the outdoor onsen was not hot enough in that weather.
Earlier, we had asked the dinner to be served at 7 pm and about 15 minutes before then, the lady came back to tidy up the room to prepare for dinner. It was a kaiseki dinner which is multiple intricate dishes served in smaller portions. We knew it would be several dishes but didn’t know it would be that many. Super filling dinner, but everything was so tasty and delicious! And the highlight was that piece of Hida beef, so tender and soft – totally changed my idea of Hida beef from experience earlier. Oh and they also served a small glass of wine, it was sweet and so good – but we forgot to ask them what sort of wine was that.
After everything was laid out on the table, the lady left us to enjoy our dinner. She came back around 90 minutes later to clear the table, gave it a good wipe then move it to the side. Then the ladies would take out the futon from the closet and lay them in the middle of the room, put some fresh cover on them and said their good night and left. Some of the older ladies here could not really speak English but they were so friendly and warm and try their best to explain things. Yes, we resorted to using body languages a lot but, hey whatever works! 🙂
We wake up around 6 in the morning and went to public onsen again before breakfast. A couple of staff came to the room to put away the bedding back to closet. They took away the teapots from yesterday then prepared the table again for breakfast. We had the traditional Japanese breakfast and again, very delicious and truly nice meal.
It is check out day today and we decided to use the luggage lockers next to the train station. We would be heading to Shirakawa-go today and try out another ryokan tonight. Oh, also at check out, the reception lady gave us pairs of chopsticks as souvenir – how nice 🙂
We definitely had a great stay here and would love to come back again. Needless to say, the hospitality was outstanding and the meal was all super delicious. The ryokan is fairly small in size, but you have everything you would need in here. We can’t recommend Ryokan Tanabe enough and please book the full board package when staying here 🙂
58 Aioimachi, Takayama, Gifu Prefecture 506-0014, Japan
Phone: (+81) 577-32-0529