Autumn in Japan, Two Weeks Self-Drive Travel Itinerary (Nagano, Hakone, Izu, Tokyo) – Day 5

    Good morning. I woke up at 4 am, went up to the highest floor in the hotel and waited for this moment.

    Today, we are checking out and headed for a night stay in a Ryokan. It’s quite a luxury stay so the plan is to be there promptly for check-in and we will just stay within the compound and relax.

    The check-in is typically set at 3pm. We do have some time on hand so we decided to explore the town a little, having lunch before setting out.

    We went to Nakamachi Street, which was a stretch of road parallel to Nawate street. There’s a number of Japanese handicrafts shop but nothing was of particular interest to me.

    I personally think you can give this place a miss if you are tight on time. Otherwise, you can check out the various cafes and restaurant around the vicinity.

    This cafe has rather good rating on Google and it was open. The coffee was not bad. However, in general, I find Japanese coffee slightly on the weaker side compared to Italian coffee.

    Lunch: 時代遅れの洋食屋おきな堂

    Just round the corner, we saw this restaurant where the locals are forming a queue to get in.

    Looks like a restaurant serving classic western dinner. We took a number and waited patiently for our turn.

    They serve wonderful juicy hot plate pork chops. I highly recommend you considering visiting this restaurant when you are visiting Matsumoto.

    After the sumptuous lunch, we made our way to Hoshino Resorts KAI Alps. I think my wife chose this hotel room because it has private Onsen, looked beautiful and there were some interesting perks offered to guests.

    The lobby has got a small souvenir shop. Otherwise, you should get your supplies from a nearby 7-11 before coming to the hotel. I do not think there are any convenient stores within walking distance.

    They do have a mini lounge where you can get your coffee and tea. It’s free of charge.

    A couple of pictures of the room I stayed in.

    They do not have too many guest rooms in this hotel. So when I visited the public Onsen, it was generally empty. As though I booked the entire Onsen for myself!

    Now for the perks I was alluding to earlier. Besides the kaiseki dinner, they have pre-dinner snacks. We can sit around an irori—a traditional sunken hearth while the gentleman prepare the snacks on the iron plate served together with a cup of tea.

    Still with some time on hand before dinner, we visited the public Onsen and rested for a bit.

    Dinner was pretty nice though not the best I have tried in terms of Ryokan kaiseki dinner. Though I must say it was a very filling dinner.

    I like the part where they give everyone a fresh wasabi and you can grate it on your own.

    Let me show you the pictures I took.

    After dinner, head back to the iroi where they serve warm sake. Free flow!

    Warm and fuzzy feeling after many rounds of sake.

    Good night! If you like to see stars (coming from Singapore, it is a rare sight due to light pollution), head out to the garden compound and look up.

    Remember to rest early because you will want to wake up rather early (about 5am) and try their 3rd perk.

    Click below for day 6!

    coming soon

    Click below to read about the rest of my trip!

    If you want a copy of my itinerary, comment below with your email, and we will send it to your inbox!

    Kevin Yeo
    Kevin Yeo
    IG: @kevinyeo82

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