Monday, December 17, 2012

Ryuga Onsen ~ Where ceramic tanukis greet you ~

The indoor bath
 (you can see little ceramic tanukis outside the window)
   The hot spring inn Ryuga Onsen can be found about one hour from Kochi City center by bus along Route 22, the road that leads to Ryugado Cave. A large ceramic tanuki that stands about five meters tall marks the entrance.
View of the garden from the café
   We arrived around lunchtime hoping to eat before taking a bath, but we were told lunch is only served by reservation. Instead, we went to a nearby café called Little Garden by recommendation of the onsen staff.

   It was quite the hidden gem, located along Route 22 but set back in a quiet nook overlooking a small but serene garden. We ended up staying longer than we should have because it was so cozy there. If our theme had been cafés, this would have been our obvious choice.

   Returning to the onsen, this time we got what we came for: a bath. The water felt smooth against the skin and left it feeling soft. According to the staff, many exchange students from the nearby Kochi University of Technology often come for a dip. Their skin must be silky smooth!
A large tanuki greets you
   While sitting leisurely in the bath and looking out the sunlit window, an older gentleman came in and started speaking to me. Apparently he had been involved in activities with an international exchange organization and knew about the KIA. Being able to casually speak to strangers like this may be one of the appeals of onsen.
Ryuga Onsen
Location: 430-1 Sakoyabu, Tosayamada Town, Kami City, Kochi Prefecture 782-0008
Tel: 0887-53-4126 Fax: 0887-53-4175
Hours: 11:00~22:00 (indoor bath and sauna), closed on Thursdays
Fee: Adults 800 yen, Elementary students and under 300 yen (100 yen discount with Ryoma Passport)
Website: (Japanese only)
Directions: Ride the Tosa Dentetsu bus towards “Ryugado” and get off at the “Ryuga Onsen” stop

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