When we moved to this side of Saitama more than 3 years ago, we discovered an old hotel with a golf course, a swimming pool and hot spring. It is located one train station away from where we live and a few minutes by car or the free shuttle the resort provides to visitors and guests. The shuttle service provides a few trips all throughout the day, starting at 8:30 am from the station and 8:30 pm as the last trip from the hotel to the Shinrinkoen station.
It has always been our happy and secret place.
When we want to relax after a heavy snowfall…
When we want to celebrate birthdays quietly…
When we want to eat Japanese food in a place with a very Japanese ambience…
When we want to enjoy some night time illumination…
When we want to visit a golf course and take pictures…
When we want to swim in summer when public pools can become crowded…
When we want to relax and not spend a lot…
When we want to buy good Japanese sweets one cannot normally find in supermarkets…
When we want to enjoy the onsen or hot spring…
The hotel/resort is quite old, but well maintained. It provides vast space if you have children you want to run around. There is a place for a swing and a slide as well as for putter golf. There are two big restaurants (maybe there is another one on the top floor) open for non-guests and visitors. And offers a good place to just sit, relax and read a good book. At night, one can enjoy an illumination that sits there all throughout the year. During the Christmas season, they play Christmas songs too.
So this has been our routine:
From our station, we get on the train and get off at Shinrinkoen station (about 3 minutes away by Tobu Tojo line).
Then we get on the free shuttle (a van or a mini bus). There is a stop across the station for the resort as well as the other golf country clubs. We usually take the 2:30 shuttle. It takes about 15 minutes to the resort.
We walk around the resort ground, play with Adana (or we sit and talk as she plays). We take pictures and we enjoy an early dinner. Sometimes we eat in the big Japanese hall that serves udon, tempura, among others. Recently, we tried the Chinese restaurant that sits beautifully in a round shaped restaurant with a good view of the hotel grounds. At lunch, there is a set meal of ¥1,300 including salad and dessert. For dinner they serve a la carte for about 1,000 or a little more per dish.
Then we go to the other side of the hotel where the hot spring is located. Because Adana does not like hot spring, Pido goes first while I and the little girl watch TV, explore the shops, or just play in the small area for kids. Sometimes, I sit on the tatami floor, order snacks and wait for the little girl to wake up from her nap.
Pido comes back after an hour, happy and relaxed. He plays with Adana while I enjoy onsen.
For those who don’t know the Japanese hot spring, men and women go to separate areas. There are lockers to leave your clothes and valuables. You go in naked. Take a shower (shampoo, conditioner and body wash all provided). Then you walk slowly and quietly to the indoor and outdoor onsen. The rest is beautiful history.
I love the outdoor onsen. Even in winter it is just awesome. I soak in very hot, mineral-rich water right under the sky. Nobody is talking. It can be crowded on some days but last night, it was just me and the night sky.
Then I would shower and dry my hair. Moisturizers and everything you need are provided in the grooming area. I dress up and meet up with Pido and Adana.
Last night, I got to see the other onsen where bathing suit is allowed because both men and women can go. With water falls and several places to soak, it is a good place to invite friends for a hot spring party. And one can even order drinks as there is a “bar” in the area. And if one is too shy to go naked with strangers (same gender of course), this is a good alternative.
Oh, the onsen costs ¥1,000 per person and you can stay for as long as you like. On regular days, it costs ¥1,300. I usually stay for about an hour or so.
We take the 8:30 pm shuttle back to the station. Last night there was a big mascot to entertain the kids on Children’s Day. We spent a good 30 minutes being entertained. Adana and the mascot chased each other.
It was a day well spent.
And we will be back, as a family and with other good friends.
Our free shuttle, reservation is not necessary. You don’t even need to book a hotel room. Just hop in.
This is not mine. Not allowed to take photos inside the onsen facilities. This is from the Internet
Again from the Internet. But last night I got to see this and it is a lot more special than what this photo can show. Oh and the sound of waterfalls from the mountain. Heavenly.
This side of the resort is where they hold weddings. Behind this is the area that leads to the vast golf course.
And last night, we celebrated Children’s Day and had Chinese. They serve dinner from 5:30 pm.
But on one of our other visits, we had Japanese food in the big hall. Prices were reasonable too.
The photos above were taken in winter. Walking down the hallway, makes one excited for the hot spring.
One can enjoy illumination all year round, plus Christmas songs in December.
There are shops and big spaces for kids to enjoy.
And buy great sweets too.