I am pretty obsessed with ryokans and onsens. When planning this girlie trip, it was a unanimous decision that we should stay in a traditional ryokan.
Izu Peninsula is famous for its onsens (hot springs), and many resorts. There were many nice modern ones, but hard to find really old traditional ryokans housed in old buildings, with decent sized rooms and a private open air bath so that we didn’t have to bare our bodies to the rest of the ladies.
After much research, I found Atami Sekitei, a traditional ryokan, which met all our requirements and budget. I booked the larger room – the Villa S (With a private open-air bath) at a cost of 39,000 yen per person per night, which includes breakfast and dinner. At this price, it’s considered more luxurious but considering the size of the rooms and amenities, it is the market rate. The ryokan rooms are calculated based on mat size, our room was 15 + 10 mats which was one of the largest in the area. Generally, 10 tatami mats would be equivalent to 178 sq ft, so our room was around 445 sq ft, which is very generous.
The ryokan is located in an odd corner along a narrow windy road, but it was not hard to spot, as there were staff waiting outside to usher in guests. It looked like they were waiting for us. It was a nice first impression upon arrival. By the time we checked in properly, it was evening and we were brought to our room.
Here’s some snapshots of our room below, it was divided into few sections – the bedroom, the living room, a relaxation area which had a massage chair, long hallway which led to the toilet, bathroom, and the outdoor private hot spring bath. Part of the ryokan experience is the dining part, and I intentionally chose this ryokan and room so that we could dine in our ryokan instead of going to a common dining area, which I feel dilutes that experience slightly. We had 2 different Japanese ladies that served us over the 2 days. They were responsible for serving us our meals and also making the futon beds at night after dinner.
Dinner over the 2 nights comprised of their local produce, I liked the 2nd night food more than the 1st night, also as we had requested for some special items for the 2nd day such as the Wagyu beef and Lobster which we saw on the menu we could order.
This is me below on the first night – can’t wait to dig in! One of the more memorable dishes was a simple grilled eggplant with miso, was so delicious, the miso was really nice, not too salty and very fragrant. A slice of chiffon cake was served with musk melon, a nice end to the meal. Hee hee, our butler lady said that I was very pretty and cute, such a sweet lady 🙂
On the 2nd night, we had a delicious meal, thank god we didn’t eat too heavy a meal prior to this, so we could really enjoy it. The highlight was definitely the wagyu beef cooked on rock salt and the lobster, and my favourite Inaniwa noodles. The best way to end the meal was definitely all our buys from the supermarket – our wonderful musk melon and Kyoho grapes served to us chilled!
The futon bed was quite comfortable, although I slept well, Y and LY didn’t sleep so well, their necks were not so used to these Japanese style pillows. If we had regular pillows, I think it would have been perfect.
Breakfasts were not as heavy as the dinner. It comprised of a main fish dish that we could choose accompanied with many side dishes with rice and soup.
We had to treat ourselves in the morning to this Hokkaido milk roll which we had bought at the soft ice cream shop next to the Izu Teddy Bear Museum. It was sooooo goooodd!!
Since we here for 2 nights, we tried to make the most of the hot springs – before dinner and breakfast daily, we were soaking ourselves in the hot springs. We could book their larger hot spring bath for private use so we did that on the 2nd day. Our ‘butler’ led us through lots of windy stoned paths to a very private area which had it’s own private room, massage chair for relaxation, shower area and large hot spring bath all for our own use. According to LY, she says one should do a ‘ritual’ of 10 times of going from the onsen to cold shower, and repeating that. I could only do that for perhaps 5 times before I felt all my fur was gonna get really wrinkled and ruffled.
It was a really lovely stay here, with wonderful hospitable service, friendly staff that made us feel right at home. I took a quick dip in our private bath before we had to say goodbye to Atami Sekitei and all their staff that made the stay even more personal and memorable.