Japan

Fujiyoshi Onsen藤よし

We wanted a change of scenery after tramping in snow in Tateyama and hiking the rustic woods of Okukinu. Our 3rd and final onsen (this trip) would be next to the sea – Fujiyoshi – recommended by Secret-Japan’s Onsen guide.

Fujiyoshi is roughly 1.2km from the shoreline. Though not quite next to the sea, it is perched on a little hill in an exclusive area, so bathers will still get rewarded with an excellent view of the Pacific Ocean when soaking in its main bath.

Getting There

Starting from Yokohama, we made 1st connection at Atami station. From Atami, we could either take the Limited Express Odoriko direct to Futo 富戸 Station or take the JR Ito line to Itō Station 伊東駅 for the 2nd connection via the Izu Kyūkō line 伊豆急行線 to Futo Station. We didn’t realise the JR Ito train would also take us to Futo ‘direct’, without us having to disembark at all. Ah, the wondrousness of Japan’s rail system.

While we did our frenetic ‘dance’ amongst the platforms searching wildly for the “Izu Kyuko track”, locals stayed put in the train, cool, composed and coiffed as the train silently ‘morphed’ into the Izu Kyūkō train.

We found our way back eventually (and in time), mildly embarrassed, hoping locals thought we did nothing more than expend excess energy by running up and down the station platforms. Fortunately, the rest of journey was uneventful and the ryokan sent a van to pick us from Futo.

New Island’ in the Ryokan

When the ryokan van rolled up next to a 2-storey traditional Japanese house – Nijima 新島 (new island) – the Okami (Manager), Ms Miwako Ishiyama, was waiting to welcome us to our abode for the next 2 nights.

I stepped aside to double check my booking. Woe be on me if I’d missed out a ‘zero’ in the booking fee. Made no mistake, it was indeed 17,000 (per pax/night), not 170,000! So yes we had an entire house to ourselves, and a massage chair, big patio, huge backyard, spacious living rooms and countless more bedrooms. It was so big we were a bit spooked initially.

Nijima was just a little removed from the ryokan main building, separated by a beautifully landscaped stepped terrace. The steps lead to the main bath with the panoramic view as well as more single/double storey bungalows for guests.

The ryokan’s main building houses its reception as well as dining halls.

The Onsens

Fujiyoshi draws its waters from natural sources located 1200m underground. The waters are then pumped up to the 7 hot spring baths spread across the ryokan’s compound.

3 are shared baths with bathing amenities while the other 4 are smaller pools for soaking only and are good for 1-2 persons.

Sagami no yu 相模の湯 is the onsen with the best view. It is up on the hill at the end of the stepped terraces, sheltered in a wooden hut. From the bath, we could look out to the ocean. The best time to enjoy it is dawn (watch the sunrise) and in the afternoon when the sun is behind it (no getting sunlight in the eyes).

From Sagami no yu, take the path that continues across the hilltop and you will come to a row of 4 little houses named ‘Spring’, ‘Summer’, ‘Autumn’, ‘Winter’ ie the Four Seasons Onsens. Each is a private bath with a unique layout and view.

We tried each out in turn; I recommend you find your personal favourite(s) then devote more time to enjoy it/them in idyllic fashion.

After clearing the Four Seasons Onsen, we head downhill back to the main building. But before that, it’s best to halt and pause because there’s 2 more onsens to explore.

Megami no yu 女神の湯 or Goddess’ Onsen is a shared bath that can comfortably accommodate 3-4. The view may be limited but the rocks enclosing the bath are arranged such that it feels like a very cosy, exclusive cavern.

The last onsen, Nagomi no yu なごみの湯, also the biggest, requires reservation. Make the reservation at the front desk, it is free for staying guests. We were the only guests then so we were told we could use it freely.

Nagomi no yu is very spacious, with a large bathing area and a chillax area for post-bath grooming and chatter.

The Meals

Being near the sea, the meals were centered around seafood. If you are allergic to seafood (like me), make sure to communicate your/any dietary constraint clearly beforehand. In spite of that, they still managed to present a generous and varied spread.

Breakfast was a simple yet sumptuous feast of fresh seafood, grilled. Naturally these were not for me. I had not-so exciting scrambled eggs with sausages.

The ryokan’s service was impeccable. They sent us to Mt. Omuro, helped us negotiate a package deal for the ropeway and came to pick us up from Jogasaki Coast after we were done. We were truly well taken care of. I was grateful because it was rather inconvenient and time-consuming to get around by ourselves.

Fujiyoshi Onsen: Japan〒413-0231 Shizuoka-ken, Itō-shi, Futo,1305-8
Website: https://www.instagram.com/fujiyoshionsen/?hl=en
https://www.fujiyoshi.com/izu/en/ (website does not seem to work anymore)

Cost (6 to a room) :17,150¥/pax/night (including tax)

Stayed 22-23 May 2019

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