[Throwback October] Way before the peak of Autumn, we headed out a little north to Nagano for a onsen break and enjoy some cool fresh mountain air before our next BIG change. So with 2 train changes and almost 3 hours of train ride from Shinjuku.
Once out of the Tokyo city limits, you would embrace lots of nature and fields…..Good bye to the concrete jungle.
We finally arrived at Shinanoomachi Station (信濃大町)
Managed to catch their complimentary shuttle from the shuttle to the resort, if you miss their shuttle time slots than you have to catch a taxi to their resort. It is about 15 minutes by car from the station.
Arriving at the resort! I love Hoshino chain resorts but the really nice ones are too expensive but the affordable ones are still very nice since they would still serve you with their Hoshina brand of service so fret not! (My dream stay would be the Hoshino Kyoto during autumn and Hoshina Karuizawa during winter)
Welcome to our accomodation for the night.
We visted on a weekday but it was already 70% full and weekend bookings are all full.
If you have interest with Japanese arts, the entrance and various parts of the resort are decorated with Japanese art works.
After a hot soak, you can also choose to take a seat outside their garden area to enjoy the cool mountain air and enjoy the serenity.
Checking into our tatami Japanese room.
The balcony area had the western style sofa chairs and Japanese seatings.
On our table was this little steaming stove where you can steam your onsen buns in your room. Most of the time, they have some form of snacks and sweets on your table for you to munch upon check in to go with your green tea.
Wrapped with Japanese cloth, was our room amenities.
1 main reason why I like Hoshino resorts is because they have alot of activities planned for you during your stay there. For that day, we have the traditional style fireplace for tea and mochi making during the night. If the weather permits, we could also sign on for the star gaze walk.
Since it was time for tea break at the Japanese fire place, we headed down to join the rest of the guests at the fire place and get some warmth.
What is on the menu? grilled sweet buns and grilled apples ( since Nagano is famous for apple, apples are abundant during fall too)
On the side, was a steamer by firewood steaming fresh vegetables, which you put some butter and salt on it and it just helps you to rid of the cold.
Drinks chilled on the side by cold stream water (chargeable)
What does autumn remind you of? In Japan, red fiery leaves and chestnuts come to my mind.
After filling our tummies with warm food, we headed to the lounge area for some gourmet coffee.
Sipping our coffee, flipping some travel magazines, making small chat between us. A luxury for the both of us since I rarely get to see Sushi san on any weekday.
Early autumn feel in Nagano.
You can wear your safety box key around your neck, safe enough while you head out to the hot springs…..
For the evening, you soak in a tub filled of lemons’ hot spring with waterproof (Japanese of course) books. They even have near sighted glasses beside the books. Not only that, they have chilled fruit liquors and sakes in your citrusy hot spring. Such a treat! The next morning, the lemons are gone and replaced with pieces of wood that give a woody scented hot spring. Lemons are available for Spring and Summer whereas for Autumn and Winter, lemons are replaced with apples. I was there the last day they used lemons.
[Image credit: Hoshino Kai Alps since no photos are allowed in the hot springs]
KAI Alps – Access