Hey guys, thought I’d fill you in on my latest field day to Sanrakusou and Sawanoi, each about an hour outside of Tokyo by train. I went with a group from Yadoya guest-house as part of an excursion, visiting both a traditional sake brewery in Sanrakusou and onsen (hot-spring used for bathing) in Sawanoi.
*Our group at Sawanoi 🙂 He photographer is Mari-san, thank you Mari!*
After living in Tokyo for six weeks, the change of scenery to the countryside was certainly a welcome one. Mountains, rivers and traditional-styled buildings were in abundance, making for some great photos for my collection so far.
We met at Nakano station at about 9.00am, some of us bleary-eyed from the night’s drinking prior. Once we finally reached our destination, it was a short walk to the brewery where we were given a guided tour in Japanese, describing the (lengthy) process of producing sake, somewhat justifying the enormous price-tags put on their upper-tier brews. Of course no tour would not be complete without samples, so by midday we had already begun drinking at their bar, where they offered cups from 200 Yen apiece (cup souvenir included).
*The very inviting sake bar where we may have over-indulged…*
We enjoyed a light meal next to the nearby river, which we then followed for 30 minutes or so (while stopping to take pictures) to the nearest bus stop. Once we arrived in Sanrakusou, we then took a cable car up the (very steep) mountainside and were rewarded with some great views of Tokyo from afar. We first visited a shrine, where those who had not already made their new years wishes, then finally headed on our way to a well-earned onsen.
*Rivers in Japan are incredibly clear, though in winter swimming is not so inviting :P*
For those who are not familiar, in an onsen it is required that you are nude, making photo opportunities somewhat difficult. The bath itself was indoors, with very hot water being fed into it. I found that alternating between it and cold water from the shower gave the most comfort, and its effect on the muscles was incredibly relaxing.
*Waiting in a tatami room for the girls to finish in the onsen… upon their return Mari caught us napping after our sake :P*
Although Tokyo does not feature any natural hot-springs, there are a number of sento (public baths) that offer a similar experience for those who are interested. There is one situated close to the Yadoya guesthouse that charges 350 yen for a visit, but it is important that you bring your own towel, soap and shamoo to wash yourself thoroughly before entering the bath. Once you get past the psychological barrier of being naked around complete strangers, I’ve found that it is a great way to end a day of sightseeing, or to feel fresh before a night of mayhem in Shibuya 😉
*Us as a group trekking up the mountainside.. with some stragglers ;)*
For those traveling without a JR pass, this excursion showed me that a trip outside of Tokyo needn’t be expensive if you take the more slow local lines, with the entire day’s worth of transport coming to around 2,000 yen (cable car included), so a day trip such as this is highly recommended for those wanting to see a more authentic side to Japan.
*Thanks for a memorable day guys!*
I’d like to take this opportunity to say that I will be leaving Tokyo this week to return back to Australia. Unfortunately this means that I will no longer be updating my blog, but I’d like to thank Yadoya guesthouse for the opportunity to share my experiences and for anyone who has visited our blog 🙂 I’ve had a great time in Tokyo and will certainly be visiting again in the near future!
Thanks for reading,
YADOYA Guesthouse for Backpackers Tokyo:
*Dorm bed only 2200yen/night, Private 3,500yen～, cheapest hostel in west Tokyo, Nakano.
YADOYA Guesthouse Tokyo for long stay:
bed only 40,000yen/month(including utilities), private room from
43,000yen/month. It`s nice to live in Nakano, and we support your Tokyo