Bathing in an onsen or a Japanese hot spring is one of those experiences you should not miss when visiting Japan. Of the many famous onsen in Japan, Honke Bankyu is one that continues to capture the interest of locals and foreigners alike because of its long and traditional history, being operating since 1666. Honke Bankyu also offers relaxing guest rooms and great dining experiences where dishes are made from fresh ingredients.
Honke Bankyu lies within a village that is located in the mountains of Nikko. It was established in 1666, a time when the hot spring’s water source was discovered. It has since provided an irreplaceable bathing experience for both men and women. It was originally called “Bankyu Ryokan” and was open to travelers who were seeking hot spring cures.
It is managed by the descendants of the Heike Dynasty who happen to discover the place after fleeing from the Genji Dynasty. At present, the 25th-generation descendant is running the family-owned business.
Japanese people traditionally soak in natural hot springs in order to take advantage of its health benefits. Hot springs are believed to ease many bodily conditions such as neuralgia, muscle pain, stress, and chronic fatigue. For women, the onsen is believed to help maintain a beautiful skin.
Honke Bankyu is known for Yunishikawa Onsen, which has open-air baths so people can enjoy the beautiful setting that surrounds them. Besides the open-air baths, one can opt to use the private open-air onsen. What’s great about the hot spring is that it runs along the river, making the ambiance relaxing and refreshing. You can also enjoy bathing through the changing seasons.
Hotel guest rooms are designed with timber. Most rooms have a free Wi-Fi access and there’s also Wi-Fi in the lobby area of the main building. You can enjoy eating fresh grilled Japanese food as well as Japanese kaiseki (traditional multi-course).
If you feel like going on an adventure, you can visit various local attractions near the place such as Ryuokyo Gorge and Kinugawa River.
Despite seeming to be quite close to Nikko, Yunishigawa Onsen is secluded. So if you are planning to stay there, plan accordingly.
The hotel is also foreign-friendly, offering travel plans to non-Japanese guests such as the Hanayagi Plan, Nagomi Plan, and Miyabi Plan.
- Hanayagi Plan – This plan comes with a 10-mat Japanese room that is located along a mountain stream and is ideal for two to four persons. It costs 18,519 yen (tax excluded) per night.
- Nagomi Plan – This plan consists of a room located along the Yunishigawa River and is also ideal for two to four persons. It costs 16,667 yen (tax excluded) per night.
- Miyabi Plan – This plan includes lodging in upgraded rooms made of ancient wood and located along the mountain stream. These elegant rooms cost 20,371 yen (tax excluded) per night.
If you’d like to make a reservation, you can inquire by telephone (0288-98-0011).
Spending time with nature is a truly luxurious experience that you can have at Honke Bankyu. The place is not only historic but is also abundant in nature and water. It is one of the few remaining facilities that allow guests to bathe with the opposite gender in its communal bath. Why not make this your next travel destination in Tochigi?