Japan’s Top 100 Ranking Inn for 40 Years Running: Kaminoyama Onsen Koyo
The great hospitality and the quality of services you can enjoy in Japan have gained high reputation among non-Japanese tourists and become one of the representative characteristics of the country. Among many other hotels and inns providing such quality services, an onsen (hot spring) inn in Yamagata Prefecture is especially renowned for its best of the best hospitality. Here we introduce the hot spring, guest rooms, food service and other information of the inn that is definitely worth a visit at least once in your lifetime.
The Onsen Inn “Koyo”
Kaminoyama Onsen is a hot spring town located in the peaceful area at the foot of Mt. Zao. It is composed of several small areas and has long thrived since the Edo Period (17th – 19th century) as one of Japan’s best onsen towns.
As one of many onsen inns in the area, Koyo has established its fame for the top quality services it provides. The service quality has been proved by the fact that the inn has been given ISO 9001, the international quality standard certificate, which only a few Japanese inns and hotels have been granted. Despite its large size, the inn has a very homey atmosphere and provides sensitive and meticulous services like a small individually managed inn.
For the excellent services pursued under the motto, “our service derives from our people,” the inn has ranked in Japan’s top 100 inns by the selection of professional critics consecutively for the last 40 years. From the moment of first entering the inn through to the very last moment of checking out, Koyo provides services of utmost quality.
Make Yourself at Home at an Authentic Japanese Style Room
Koyo has 18 different types of guest rooms including Japanese style and semi-Japanese style, some with a private outdoor bath. You will surely have a hard time deciding which room to go for. The guest room with a private outdoor bath has always been one of the most popular room types and is highly recommendable. Also, the room type you can see in the photo allows you to open the shoji screens and enjoy the excellent view of the Japanese garden outside; which will also be a great choice.
Outdoor Bath with a Great Panoramic View under the Open Sky
No worries even if you have chosen a room without a private outdoor bath. Koyo has a variety of public outdoor baths. Especially, the one on the 1st floor and the large observatory bath on the 8th floor have gained great reputation, which spread mainly by word of mouth. The observatory bath allows you to enjoy the grand panoramic view of Mt. Zao under the high and open sky. From the starry night sky in summer and the snowscape in winter, here you can fully admire the beauty of nature in each season.
Plus! Another great feature here that’s especially delightful for women is the quality of hot spring water. It is well-known for its beautifying effect and referred to as “natural skin lotion,” which makes your skin fine-textured.
Related: 4 Picturesque Onsen Where You’ll Feel One with the World
Savor the Best Dishes!
Koyo also has a great reputation for the dishes it serves. They offer Japanese dishes including kaiseki, Japanese traditional course dishes, which are made with fresh local ingredients and marvelous even just to look at.
Highly recommended among them is Yonezawa beef, beautifully and finely marbled beef of genuine domestic production. You will be able to enjoy the extraordinarily tender texture and rich flavor you have never tasted before. Experience the sensation of nice and fatty meat melt in your mouth!
Additionally, the sweet taste of the carefully selected rice and freshness of the morning-harvested vegetables delivered directly from a contract farm are among other very special treats you can enjoy here.
Rakuyaki Pottery: Give Shape to Your Memory and Bring it Back Home
One of the other unique features of Koyo is pottery painting workshop, where you can try your hands on painting unglazed pottery. Use your free imagination and create your own one-in-the-world painted pottery dish, which makes a wonderful souvenir.
At the Rakuyaki Corridor here, you can also see the display of the potteries made by the famous stars from the Showa Period (mainly 1950s to 1960s) including Yujiro Ishihara, the Japanese enka diva Hibari Misora and Kyu Sakamoto, who is worldly famous with his hit song, “Sukiyaki.” It evokes a special emotion to think that you are sharing the same experience as those superstars representing the good old days of Japan, who once visited this inn, relieved their fatigue in the hot spring and enjoyed making Rakuyaki pottery.
If you cannot come up with a good design or pattern to paint on your pottery, how about writing kanji characters following the example you can see in this photo? Because when you create a work of art, even badly handwritten kanjis can be somewhat interesting and convincing. Oh, excuse me if I sounded rude because I know some you are good at writing kanjis for sure! Information: Map
Tourist Spots in the Vicinity:
Okama of Miyagi Zao: Mystical Crater Lake of Emerald Green
Fluffy & Cute! Everyone’s Talking about the Miyagi Zao Fox Village