Yukemurino Sato Kashiwaya is a medium size onsen ryokan (Japanese style inn) situated at the intersection of the Kinu and Ojika rivers in Kawaji Onsen. I was lucky enough to stumble across their amazing onsen facilities which are usually only offered to day visitors on a weekday basis. As it was Saturday, I was initially told by staff that I wouldn’t be able to access the baths, however once they saw I had the Kawaji Onsen pass, it was “open sesame” and in I went for a phenomenal afternoon onsen experience by the river all by myself!
Incredible facilities and views…
The onsen bathing areas have been renewed in the last couple of years and really did provide the wow factor. Walking in, there was a large indoor bathing area with the usual individual shower and washing areas. On the far wall there was also 2 “waterfalls” of hot spring water known as utaseyu. Standing or sitting under these provides a natural shoulder and massage experience as the water drops onto you.
After a quick wash down inside, I headed outside. Fancy having this all to myself! It was about 2pm which is just before the 3pm checkin time for guests where you tend to get a few more people. Although you cannot tell from the pictures, the outdoor baths overlooked the river, so I perched myself on a rock while soaking in the beauty and meditating blissfully in the mountain air.
Following my long soak in the above bath, I tried the second outdoor bath which was called nuruyu, meaning warm water, generally around 37 degrees rather than the normal 42 degrees Celsius, which gets a little hot when you are soaking for longer than 10 minutes. A lower temperature bath allows for a much longer relaxed soak whilst taking in the full benefits of all of the natural minerals.
As a bonus, I was mesmerised by ripples of rainbows across the surface of the water as the afternoon sun filtered in and flickered across the surface of the water. Just a little piece of onsen bliss to savour.
Relaxing in nature
Following my onsen, I loved spending time relaxing in the garden surrounding the ryokan. Irises are stunning n Japan during May, and the red tori created a spiritual backdrop amongst the lush green trees.
Thank you Yukemurino Sato Kashiwaya…
Take the Tobu line from Shinjuku or Asakusa to Kinugawa Onsen and transfer to the Aizu Kinugawa line and get off at Kawaji Yumoto. The Yukemurino Sato Kashiwaya is approximately 20 minutes walk from the station.