Takaragawa Onsen5


So I was lucky enough to get cheap tickets to Japan for a hot spring vacation. We reserved rooms at two different ryokans. We picked the easiest and least expensive ones to visit. Our trip began at Narita airport, we hopped on a shuttle to the Sheraton Miyako in Tokyo and settled in. We got in late so we went straight to bed and woke up at 5:30 am the next morning, this was basically our schedule the entire trip since we never recovered from jet lag. The next morning we ate some breakfast, walked around the garden at the hotel and got attacked by giant insects. Apparently the bugs are ten times bigger in Japan than in the US. Here are a few pix from the garden.

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Tokyo Sheraton Miyako2

Afterward we took the train to Ginza so I could look for some used film camera gear. I stopped at a few spots and ended up getting an old Canon TLb body for about 5 bux and a Fuji GW 690 for $160, which is way cheaper than I paid for mine in the states.


This photo is taken with a Canon, how blasphemous right?


We spent another night at the Sheraton then woke up ass early to catch the train to Gero in the Gifu Prefecture. Here is the train station and some bullet train action pix.

Tokyo Station

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After a transfer at the Nagoya station we headed up into the mountains and arrived at our first Ryokan, Yunoshimakan Onsen in Gero. They sat us down for dinner and served me shojin ryori, this happened to be one of the best meals I’ve ever had in my entire life. After falling asleep around 8pm I woke up early and peeped the hot spring area. Each area is separated by gender, but they switch the pools nightly so you get to experience both pools. Here are some pix of the indoor and outdoor pools along with photos of the grounds.

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Panorama of the Ryokan.

Gero Ryokan and Bus
This is the awesome shuttle bus that picks us up from the train station.

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Gero Onsen me

Gero Ryokan mom

Gero Onsen View
This is the view of Gero from the outdoor tubs.

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This is the view out of the window of our room.

After soaking we went into town and walked around for a few hours. There is a bunch of cool shit like abandoned buildings and a free outdoor hot spring.

Soaking my feet in the free outdoor tub.

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GERO city2

After we got back to the ryokan I spent a few hours exploring the building. It was built almost a hundred years ago and has a ton of cool shit everywhere. The rooftops are especially awesome.

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After another night of soaking we got up early and took the train to Kyoto to do some touristy shit for a couple days.

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Here’s the Imperial Palace.

And here is Nintendo Headquarters.

After that we got on the train back to Tokyo to make a transfer up to Takaragawa Onsen in the Gunma Prefecture.

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Train Car

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The train up through the mountains is much slower than the bullet train so I sat behind the conductor and got some head on photos of the ride. If you know me then you know how excited I was to be up there, I was smiling like a big retarded baby.

Train Window3

We got to the ryokan just in time for dinner again. We ate and then passed out at 7pm. Got up early as fuck and got my dawn soak on. Here are some pix of the outdoor baths during sunrise.

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Click to enlarge.

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There are signs posted up everywhere saying no photos so I had to take most of these early in the morning when no one was around. Also as soon as I would set up my camera some asshole would walk right into the pool and fuck it up so it became a huge hassle. Here are some more photos of the pool and the grounds at Takaragawa Onsen.

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We spent two days in this hot spring paradise. I was expecting to get yelled at cuz I have tattoos but no one said anything. As long as you don’t soak while everyone else is and you aren’t a loudmouth American asshole you won’t get harassed. We got up and out on our last day, took the train back to Narita airport and fell asleep on the plane.

As much as I love hot springs I really love riding trains, even though it cost a fuckton of money to ride them everywhere I still had a blast. Next time I’ll plan ahead and get a rail pass. Any questions just plop them down in the comments section.

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One more train pix for the road.

6 replies
  1. Meli
    Meli says:

    Hi, I was just wondering what time of year your trip to Japan was? I was thinking of heading to Takaragawa Onsen and we are travelling in September 2015. Thanks!

  2. jamie
    jamie says:

    for the takaragawa onsen, was it hard to figure out how that all works? i mean, after seeing your photos and going to their website, i’m pretty well convinced i want to go. but it looks like it’s a pretty big area with lots of stuff. is it easy enough to figure out where you want to stay and how to get around between the different pools areas and how to get there from tokyo and whatnot? also, was it really expensive (the lodging and pools access)?

  3. losangelesswimmin
    losangelesswimmin says:

    It’s totally worth the trip from Tokyo. It’s really easy to get to on the train. You take the one train into town and the shuttle picks you up at the spot. It’s not confusing, there is a women’s only area that is behind a closed door and that is really the only place that is obviously off limits for men. I can’t remember how much it cost but I think it was around 150 a night which is cheap if you split it with another person.

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