luxury japanese ryokan in Shuzenji, Japan | #japan #ryokan #travel #hotel

A Luxury Japanese Ryokan in Shuzenji

We were almost half way through our whirlwind adventure through Japan when it was finally time to spend one blissful night in the much anticipated luxury Japanese ryokan called Yagyu No Sho. After weeks of searching online, we finally found this beautiful Japanese inn located in a remote village in the Izu peninsula.

We left Tokyo weary from the previous weeks walking all over the mega-city, navigating the crowded subway system, being eaten alive by mosquitos, and suffering major blisters. My body hurt all over and I needed relaxation.

When we finally arrived at the station, we lugged our bags to the front curb and stood in line to take a taxi the rest of the way there. When it was our turn, we piled in and after an awkward pause, I realized I didn’t know what to say. Jeremy, just said, “Yagyu no sho” and the driver knew where to go.

We drove through the quiet little town along the river, past large yellow-green fields and traditional Japanese houses.

 

I tried my best to memorize every detail from the way the laundry lines were strung to the little red bridges over a rushing creek, to the way the fog danced through the steep mountainside.

The mouth of two rivers meeting in Shuzenji, Japan. The small houses off in the distance hug the base of a small mountain. #shuzenji #japan #travel

Crossing the bridge over where two rivers meet in Shuzenji, Japan

a house sits on a lively river in Shuzenji, Japan
walking through the small village of Shuzenji. Fog creeps over the surrounding mountain
a store in the village of Shuzenji, Japan | #travel #japan #shuzenji #village

Passing by local shops and restaurants on our way to our luxury Japanese ryokan

An old shrine tucked away in the village of Shuzenji

Passing by local shops and restaurants on our way to our luxury Japanese ryokan

The taxi pulled off the narrow two-lane road and drove under the heavy branches of a willow tree and finally stopped. In front of us, was a gravel driveway leading to our Ryokan. I stepped out of the car and felt light mist hitting my face. The air smelled sweet with dew as I once again hoisted my bag onto my aching shoulders and walked toward a woman in a kimono who greeted us warmly. She instructed us to remove our shoes at the entrance and don a set of soft slippers. Another man appeared and quickly grabbed our bags. We followed her down a series of nearly identical dimly lit corridors until we came to a room at the end. She slid the door open and welcomed us into the first room. It was from here that we could tell the enormity of our suite.

The room in our Luxury Japanese Ryokan was large, complete with a private outdoor hotspring bath and koi pond. #shuzenji #japan #travel #ryokan #wholewidenworld
The bathroom in our Luxury Japanese Ryokan in Shuzenji. #Travel #japan #ryokan #luxury

She toured us through each amenity, showing us how to change the temperature and of the room and sharing the yukata wardrobe instructions. There was no furniture except for two low tables and a tv. The bathroom had a simple earthy sophistication which contrasted with the futuristic toilet that opened the lid upon approach. On the opposite wall next to the sink, a large wooden door slid to reveal a shower, and another door leading to our private outdoor stone bath.

Off the main room, large glass doors opened up to a private bamboo reed porch and koi pond. After our hostess and her help finished introducing us to our room, she left us to rewind.

Sitting here enjoying the view of our private bamboo garden and koi pond at our luxury Japanese ryokan called Yagyu No Sho in Shuzenji, Japan #shuzenji #luxury #ryokan #japan #travel #yagyunosho #wholewidenworld

Most people go to Ryokans for the natural hot spring baths. It’s a relaxing resort, purposefully devoid of the distractions of everyday life. We knew that going into it that we should try to put the phones away and just be present and in the moment.

At first, it feels odd sitting in a room, without anything to distract you. But once you get used to the feeling of being left with only your thoughts and the other person with you, you soon remember how to just sit, so that’s what I did.

Sitting here enjoying the view of our private bamboo garden and koi pond at our luxury Japanese ryokan called Yagyu No Sho in Shuzenji, Japan #shuzenji #luxury #ryokan #japan #travel #yagyunosho #wholewidenworld
Koi swimming against the edge of our pond in our luxury Japanese ryokan called Yagyu no sho, based in Shuzenji, Japan #travel #japan #ryokan #luxury #shuzenji #wholewidenworld

I sat on the porch and watched the koi swim back and forth and sketched what I saw in my notebook. We had a little bit of time to kill before our dinner arrived, and were too restless to sit in the room and wait, so we headed out into the village to explore.

The fall leaves are just beginning to turn in this small village of Shuzenj, home to our luxury japanese ryokan
The village of shuzenji is small but stunning. This tree reaches over the river

We walked along the rushing river, intending to find a small bamboo grove nearby. We wound our way past houses, and small shrines, across a red bridge until we finally found what we came for. The rain had picked up and it was getting dark, so we decided to head back, but not before taking some photos.

Photos of the small bamboo grove next to a rushing river. Off in the distance a red bridge pops against the lush green bamboo forest. Shuzenji is everything you want in a small Japanese village. #japan #travel #shuzenji #river #redbridge
The bamboo grove in Shuzenji, Japan. Our Luxury Japanese ryokan was just a 10 minute walk from here | #japan #shuzenji #ryokan #travel #bamboogrove #luxury

Once back at our room, it wasn’t more than 10 minutes before our first course arrived. We sat on the floor and watched in amazement as each small unique dish was placed, with just a morsel of artfully crafted bites, made with local ingredients. We had our pick of fresh seafood, pickled vegetables, and a variety of teas and sakes.

Staring down our 12-course meal in a luxury Japanese ryokan in Shuzenji, Japan. #japan #travel #luxury #ryokan

After dinner, I could wait no longer. I showered and settled into our private bath and watched the last of the light recede from our private little nook. The water burned as I inched my way into the stone tub. The farther in I went, the more I floated. I laid my head back and exfoliated my feet against the rough walls of the tub. For the first time in days, I felt at peace.

The tension between my shoulder blades and in my knees began to relax. Jeremy came in soon after, and the two of us sat in silence, watching the steam rise off the still pool, our naked white bodies looking bloated under the water.

The shower and private outdoor hot spring bath in our luxury japanese ryokan in Shuzenji, Japan. #travel #japan #ryokan #luxury #bath
The outdoor private stone bath in our luxury Japanese ryokan | #japan #travel #ryokan #luxury

Fifteen minutes into our soak, the hot water kicked on again, and the temperature became too much for either of us. We exited the bath, feeling warm and full, quickly showered off one more time and began to dress in the formal Yukata. After thorough head-scratching and a video on youtube, we finally figured out how to wrap ourselves in the thick and heavy robes. By this time, our beds had been laid out, but we decided to have a nightcap first. Earlier that day, our hostess told us to visit the cocktail lounge after dinner so we set out to find it. After 5 minutes of walking aimlessly in the halls unable to find a sole, I knocked on the front desk and a kind man escorted us up three flights of stairs to an empty lounge.

The uncomfortable realization that we would be the only patrons in this bar quickly sank in, but we were unable to escape as the Bartender had already spotted us, turned off her tv show and straightened up to serve us. She greeted us kindly in Japanese as we sat down awkwardly at the bar and ordered a drink each. We sat there in silence, watching her make our drink, the only sounds in the room coming from stirring and shaking of ice. After our drinks were served, she tried to act busy behind the bar, then finally started asking us questions in what little English she knew. After a few exchanges we developed a rhythm and through the power of google translate, we were surprised that we were able to have a good conversation. After draining our drinks, we paid and thanked the bartender and said good night.

 

After one more soak in the tub, we got into our soft futon mattresses and drifted off into a deep sleep. 

Our comfy futon beds in our luxury japanese ryokan in Shuzenji, Japan. #luxury #ryokan #japan #shuzenji #travel
The lamp brightens up our porch so we can stare off into the night in our Luxury Japanese Ryokan

The next morning came too quickly. After a 10 course breakfast, we packed up our bags and waited for a taxi. It was difficult to say goodbye to that bath and that perfect view. As our train left the station in Shuzenji, we reflected on our night and were so glad we spent the money.

The surrounding village of shuzenji
8 Comments
  • Beautiful pictures and descriptions! Really makes me want to visit!

    July 1, 2019 at 3:24 am
  • I am from India and mosquitos are very common here , I was not aware that it is also common in Japan ..you have describes Roykan very nicely and I would love to try someday .

    July 1, 2019 at 8:39 am
  • I could look at those images all day! I’d love to go to Japan but with me being unable to eat dairy and my boyfriend allergic to fish travelling is quite stressful for us 🙈

    July 1, 2019 at 8:42 am
  • What gorgeous photos you share with us. I really felt part of the story with your writing style. Thanks for sharing!

    July 1, 2019 at 7:27 pm
  • It is such a good blog post! I love seeing all your photos! It makes me miss Japan a lot *w*

    July 16, 2019 at 10:03 am
  • Brianna
    Reply

    This looks like such an amazing experience. The bamboo grove and river look so peaceful and like a great place to unwind! I’m very curious about the meals you were served, it sounds so elaborate!

    July 17, 2019 at 7:01 pm

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