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As mentioned before, autumn colours this year was quite late due to high temperatures.
Originally I wanted to go to Naruko, but after furiously checking Koyo reports for two weeks, decided to move up further north. Hachimantai would be ideal. However I was quite late in booking hotels and couldn't find anything....until one day saw something became available, must be a late cancellation. Anyways, all set to go.
Part of Towada-Hachimantai National Park. Hachimantai is in Akita and Iwate prefectures, mountainous, with lots of very good onsens!
I was hoping to find accommodation in the Akita side, near Tamagawa onsen or Goshogake onsen. But ended up in Iwate near Matsukawa onsen.
This is truly the middle of nowhere
But being in Japan, there's a shuttle bus picking up guests from Morioka station every afternoon at 2pm, not just for this ryokan, several hotels nearby as well. The bus ride took about 1 hour.
Picture from hotel website.
I was warmly welcomed and quickly shown to my room, a 7.5 tatami Japanese room.
(Note that Japanese rooms are measured by the number of tatami mats, as it's made in standard size. If you make hotel bookings on Japanese sites this info will be clearly listed.)
I paid 11K Yen for the accommodation plus dinner and breakfast.
As you can imagine I was slightly worried what the dinner might be...when ryokans need to cut cost food is always the first thing! (Hence my disappointment with Kai Nikko since they are not cheap)
Pleasantly surprised I'm happy to report. Sure it's not Ichijoh, but for what I paid I think this ryokan was great value.
Futon was set up during dinner. Very comfortable and I slept very well.
Onsen picture from hotel website.
Side note, before I came I thought guests would be mostly Japanese in such a remote area.
Wrong! Lots of them are from Taiwan and HK.
Did not see another Aussie in all of Tohoku though
I wrote about the last minute flight cancellation by Virgin, well now they drop HKG-MEL for good! Not surprised sadly...
Luckily found my flight home with CI, just need to get to TPE first
Good thing I always have some avios available (bought during promos), after checking the dates and the usual suspects NRT, HND, KIX, NGO...found a CX 5th freedom flight from NGO to TPE, J was not available but for a 3 hour flight I thought PE would be adequate.
The flight was a few days earlier than my original flight to HKG, so I dropped the Shikoku part altogether and decided to go from Tokyo straight to Nagoya.
Bought a Platt Kodama green car ticket for 9500 Yen.
No Gran Class on Tokaido Shinkansen, but this is comfortable enough - and generally not full in my experience.
Nishitetsu Hotel Croom Nagoya
There are a few hotels directly connected to Nagoya Station, one of them being Marriott.. But I was way too late and they all charged something like 20K Yen (or more!)...hmm I only need a business hotel....
So looked a bit further and found this one in the Sakae (main commercial) area, reviews on IKYU were very good and it was only 8400 Yen!
The room I booked was called "Double room with shower", coz there's no bath. For many Japanese people that might be a deal breaker...I actually prefer a shower than a shrub, but there's onsen in this hotel so it really didn't matter!
The room was perfectly fine for a one night stay and I liked the neutral colours.
Not sure why but I suddenly wanted Yakitori for dinner...
Found one near the hotel and went straight in. First I was quite happy to see they had ipad menus and it's multilingual.
Until I looked at the English menu
I don't think we should call that English, do you?
More like Romaji Japanese....
Anyways, pictures did help, I was mostly happy with what I ordered