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Shuzenji is an onsen resort directly connected with Japanese tradition and there are lots of ryokan inns by the Katsura River that flows in the center of the town, all of which were killingly loved by old cultural figures. “Arai Ryokan” is one of the oldest inns in Shuzenji and, believe it or not, 15 historic architectures have been registered as national cultural treasures. A definite prestigious ryokan, established in 1872, one hundred years before I was born, of the era called “Meiji Period” in Japan.
Walking through the gate, I was very impressed by the autumn leaves marvelously going well with the architecture. I heard maple leaves of the Arai Ryokan’s inner garden had turned red fastest in Shuzenji. Another architecture seen on your left at the entrance is called “Seishu-ro”, which was built in 1881, the oldest building in Arai Ryokan, and is needless to say one of the registered national cultural treasures. I could feel the magnitude of history laden for years and years. Casually equipped calligraphic writings and paintings are all works of old cultural artists. You will also find a creek flowing in the lobby and stones shaping the Japanese archipelago. Everything is “Japanese”. I would rather say this lobby was created by old cultural workers.
I felt very comfortable walking on the wooden hallway and just wondered if the old men had also walked on the same floor. A decent pond, actually a part of Katsura River, was in the courtyard and I saw beautiful carps swimming gracefully. Guest rooms stand around the pond.
The guide exceptionally showed me one of the rooms. Astonishing ! I opened the window and found the Katsura River right in front of me and the red symbolic bridge. Beyond the river is the Chikurin-no Komichi, the bamboo pathway. I felt myself a little bit superiority seeing visitors passing by.＾＾
You can’t understand Arai-ryokan without seeing the onsen bathrooms. There are 4 onsens around the pond and one open-air bath a few minute walk away. Especially, the “Tempyo Dai-Yokudo” bathhouse in the picture is well known as an architectural masterpiece built in 1934. Dynamic cypress pillars looked so impressive.
As you can see from the picture, the lengths of pillars are all different and you know why ? It’s to strengthen the seismic capacity. That is the very wisdom of old people !
You can enjoy the guided tour of cultural properties of Arai-ryokan even if you are not staying overnight. Guide in English is available with request in advance. Please come and visit Arai Ryokan to stay or see the real Japan’s culture and history.
Access ： JR Mishima Sta. → Izu-hakone Railway（ 30 min ）Shuzenji Sta. → #１bus to “Shuzenji Onsen” ( 10 min ) → 5 minute walk
Reference room rate ： ￥30,000 〜／adult ( with dinner and breakfast )
Inquiries ： by phone or e-mail
Arai Ryokan Guided Tour ( by NPO Yukihiko Mokuho Kai )
Guide fee ： Visitors ＝ ￥1500（ with tea and snack ）／Room Guests ＝ ￥500
Scheduled time ：10:00〜／15:00〜 ( basically twice a day ）, 16:00〜 ( for guests only ）
Inquiries ： by e-mail