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“Absolutely fantastic in every detail”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Arai Ryokan

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Arai Ryokan
Ranked #8 of 100 Hotels / Ryokan in Izu
Certificate of Excellence
Rutherford, New Jersey
Level Contributor
11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Absolutely fantastic in every detail”
Reviewed 1 August 2012

This was probably the most wonderful single overnight stay my wife and I have had in 30 years of traveling together. This place is everything it says it is and more. The pictures are beautiful and unbelievable, but they just don't do justice to the place.

How can a 2-dimensional photo get across what it's like to sit in an open, airy lobby in a beautiful, well-preserved antique of a building amid the sound of rushing streams. The streams rush through the building! There are covered wooden bridges (from which you can view the streams and the koi below) that connect various parts of the building.

The building itself and the grounds are exquisite (our room overlooked the rushing river), but that's not the whole story.

First, I should probably tell you that this is only my fourth onsen/ryokan, so I'm not a real aficionado. It's also the most expensive night of my five-week trip in Japan. I'm not normally a big spender, so I'm not an expert on luxury ryokans. I know you can spend more (our room, with dinner and breakfast for two, was ¥44,200, which didn't include alcohol).

Still, I can't imagine what would have made this experience better.

We arrived to find our name on the sign board --the only one not in kanji. Our personal maid, Hanada, stood waiting for us dressed in a beautiful kimono (we hadn't told them when we were coming so I'm not sure how she knew to be there). Before we could say a word, our luggage was out of the taxi and in our room. We were brought to the genkan, given slippers (ones that actually fit my size 12 feet!!), invited to sit on the lobby couch, handed hot towels, and immediately served powdered green tea and a sweet.

After this pleasant start, we registered, and Hanada took us to our room with our handbaggage --what a beautiful walk -- and showed us around the room. It was large, beautiful, and thoughtfully appointed. There's a little entryway with stocked refrigerator, a genkan, a large main room with low table and tatami chairs, fan & TV, and calligraphy alcove.
There's a separate dressing room and closets. And on the other side of the room there's a corridor-like room (often seen in Japanese houses) with windows overlooking the river. It also had a sink, a mirror, drying racks for towels, and two chairs and a small table (for when you get sick of sitting on tatami mats).

Hanada didn't speak English, so another employee who did came in and helped orient us to the ryokan, explaining all the baths, and our choices concerning meals, and answering anhy questions we had. They told us they serve breakfast at 8 or 8:30. We chose 8. But then when they realized we were leaving on a 9 am train, they offered to serve us at 7:30. Once we were settled in the room, Hanada invited us to sit down and then served us a different kind (not powdered) of green tea.

The baths were great--we each tried the same two of the four (one indoors and one outdoors). The setting of each was beautiful and tranquil.

Meals were incredible: multi-course affairs served with impeccable care, on beautiful dishes that were carefully picked out. I can't begin to explain all the different courses. I've had excellent ryokan food as well as a kaiseki dinner before, but I do think this was the best I've ever had in Japan.

And Hanada our made was so gracious and sweet and accommodating. I'd never had a ryokan maid like this, so I don't know if what she did was standard. But even though she knew no English (other than 'my name is') and we knew little Japanese, she patiently tried to explain things to us and help us, always smiling brightly and speaking and acting with great formality and politeness, bowing to us each time she closed the sliding door. In so many ways she and the other ryokan staff members were so thoroughly thoughtful, always anticipating our every need and desire.

I could really go on and on about the food, but I don't really know what everything was called, and I know there are some photos up, so you can get an idea of it. But really, there were two things that made this an outstanding, exquisite experience: the service and thoughtfulness of the staff (they literally thought of things we wanted before we did), and the sheer physical beauty and tranquility of both the building and the natural setting.

I can't imagine a better onsen/ryokan experience!

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
4 Thank brianhh13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (3)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Russian first
  • Thai first
  • Any
English first
toronto
Level Contributor
9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 April 2012

I was here one night with my husband, and we truly enjoyed our stay. The service is five star, there is an specific attendant who'd serve you throughout the stay. Both dinner and breakfast are excellent. The building is historical, which means the decor and the onsens are old. Internet are available in the lobby only, and it's slow. But that might be the exact reasons why you can relax. There are rooms right by the river, across the bamboo forest. You can soak your feet at the balcony, listening to the waves and counting stars. For the public, there are four onsens, one small outdoor, and two family onsens. All of them are free for the guests. During our stay in April, we never had to wait or share with other guests, which were nice. However, the area is in the middle of nowhere, and there isn't much to see, but it's not like you have a lot of time for sightseeing with the onsen soaking and elaborate meals. I wouldn't come back to this part of Izu. But would definitely recommend this ryokan should you decide to visit.

  • Stayed April 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank coccet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level Contributor
89 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 October 2009

Stayed here on honeymoon and it was truly stunning. The building itself is amazing, intricate gardens, ponds, streams and lovely trees in a fantastic location next to the river and opposite the bamboo walk. Had a private onsen in the room and within the grounds had some amazing onsens, including a private small and large family one, traditional and outdoor onsen.

Service was excellent and the food was even better! Would loved to have stayed longer bu the price at cUSD 600 (inc breakfast and dinner) a night means that it couldn't happen.

Will save up and try and be back to celebrate a wedding anniversary sometime

  • Stayed October 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank kinezos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
22 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 December 2008

My sis and I put up in Arai Ryokan, which is in Shuzenji, Izu, on 6 Nov 2008. The ryokan's service is excellent where you will be greeted with your name on the "Welcome Board" and the staff at the entrance. We were first led to a room and briefed by an English-speaking staff who also provided us a plan of the ryokan.

Not only is Arai Ryokan a heritage structure, it is also rich in art and literery history. We were pleasantly surprise that one famous Japanese writer penned his great work during his stay in Arai Ryokan and right in our room!!!

We had a personal maid serving our dinner and breakfast in our room. The dinner was exquisite, all dishes were beautifully layout and a feast to the eye. Our breakfast was just as sumptous which last us for the entire day.

The ryokan itself is an attraction with beautiful garden, cafe, bridge and art pieces. Unfortunately, the guide was on leave else we could pay for a tour of Arai Ryokan, a living museum. Our room looks out to a garden with maple leaves within reach. I could imagine the sea of red leaves in late autumn.

Another highlight of the stay at Arai Ryokan is its Tenpyo spa, which is a heritage structure, soaking in the original old onsen is so liberating and like reliving history. There are an open-air spa, 2 family spas and a smaller but old spa.

While Shuzenji (the place is named after a temple with the same name) is a transquil place, Arai is the quiet sanctuary for reflective and peaceful moments away from the hustle and bustle of the world.

Overall I would say this is the best ryokan/hotel, I'd ever stayed. Although we paid about 24,000 yen per person per night, it's worth every cents.

  • Liked — Everything
  • Disliked — Need to take a cab, else have to walk about 10 minutes from the bus-stop
  • Stayed November 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank SarahLim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Arai Ryokan

Property: Arai Ryokan
Address: 970 Shuzenji, Izu 410-2416 , Shizuoka Prefecture
Region: Japan > Chubu > Shizuoka Prefecture > Izu > Shuzenji Onsen
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Room Service
Hotel Style:
#5 Top resorts Hotel in Izu
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Arai Ryokan 3.5*
Number of rooms: 24
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Izu Peninsula, the nation's largest hot springs resort, is about 2-hours train ride from Tokyo. Shuzenji Hot Springs is the oldest resort in Izu. River and its traditional Japanese style wooden structures are scattered in the large garden of about 5,000 ㎡. There is more than 140 years history. Many celebrated writers and painting artist, including Yokoyama Taikan and Kawabata Yasunari, are among the frequent guests. It is located at the center of Shuzenji Hot Springs, a short distance from sightseeing spots. Arai Ryokan is the inn where you can certainly enjoy the every essence of Japanese nature of four seasons, the traditional culture, art and architecture. All guest rooms are the traditional architecture and the rooms themselves overlook either the Katsura River or the garden or the courtyard with its large pond full of carp to enjoy the beauty of each season. Among the main attractions are the baths. The main bath, the Tenpyo Dai Yokudo, are built in 1933, with all cypress, by Nara Era(the 8th century) architectural style. The outdoor bath is located in Japanese garden and the family bath can be reserved for private use. All bath are the natural hot springs. The meal is kaiseki cuisine featuring the local fresh sea food and vegetable. Both dinner and breakfast are served in guest rooms. Meat dish or vegetarian meals are available for dinner also we can serve a continental breakfast. Please make request upon booking. The Bamboo Lane which is ranked ★★ in Michelin Green Guide Japan 2009 and 2011, Shuzenji Temple of 1200 years' history are short distance from the ryokan, 3-minutes walk. Also, you can enjoy the panoramic view of Mt. Fuji and the Suruga Bay from the peak of Mt. Daruma which is 20-minutes drive from the ryokan. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Arai Ryokan Hotel Izu

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