Hey, long time no see. I’m so so so sorry to take so much time to update my post. My computer has low memory problem and that’s why it took me ages to edit photos and stuff. This is my latest travel to Nasushiobara in Tochigi. It’s part of JTB monitoring tour where they bring us to Nasushiobara in order to promote the tourism to the area. This is my honest review about the travel and hopefully you’ll find it interesting to visit Nasushiobara.
First Stop: Sesshoseki (殺生石)
Nasushiobara is located in Tochigi prefecture. It’s around 1-hour trip from Tokyo by Shinkansen and there’re buses that can take you to the sight-seeing location. For the first day in Nasushiobara, we travelled around with JTB tour bus. I’ll try to write about the public transport as much as I can.
First sight-seeing spot is Sesshoseki and Nasu Onsen Temple. The legend said that once, there was a Kyuubi (fox demon) that transform herself into a beautiful woman. The emperor took her as concubine and soon bad things started to happen. One priest knew about the identity of this woman and so he killed her. Then the Kyuubi turned herself into a poisonous gas that killed everything around her. That’s why they called this place the Killing Stone.
No, it’s not going to kill you. However, the smell of sulphur is really strong in this area.
There’s a small river crossing this area. People believe that once human die, they have to cross this river to go to the other realm. However, if the person died as a child, they can’t cross because they made their parents so sad. As a punishment, this children soul has to pile up this stone (and later it will be destroyed, so it’s like an infinite punishment).
There’s also a legend related with one of the Buddha statue. Unfortunately the only one written in English is the Kitsune Legend. I was with a guide, so she explained all those information. It’s really unfortunate because those stories are really interesting and it’s nice knowing all the stories rather than just go and “oh it’s just another pretty place.”
Second stop: Nasu Onsen Temple
This temple is located on top of Sesshoseki, it takes around 10 minutes walk uphill to reach this temple.
You’ll get a beautiful view of Sesshoseki Area. The temple itself is slightly similar and looks ordinary compared to other temples around Nikko. I don’t really get the “uniqueness” of this temple and why it’s worth to be visited. Maybe, because it’s really close to Sesshoseki, there’s no harm in visiting this temple too.
Good thing about smaller temple is: less visitor and you get the pretty view too.
There’s a footbath down the stairs that lead to the temple. The footbath is free, but the water is really hot. Hotter than the hotspring water and there’s no towel provided.
(Footbath is right to this gate)
Third Stop: Senbonmatsu Ranch
We had our BBQ lunch in this ranch. The ranch has a area that is particularly used for BBQ purpose. The menu is also vary, from beef meat, rum, and seafood. If you followed my instagram, probably you’ve seen all the food on my instagram story hehehe, no pictures here.
The ranch is really big. Once we finished our lunch, they took us for tour with a Hello Kitty Bus, then free time! There’re several spots which are interesting for me:
Meeting the animals!!
Unlike other farms I’ve been too (like the one in Yume Bokujyo), this one is less crowded and there’re less barrier between you and the animal. You can buy food for animal for 100yen and then you can feed them directly, from rabbit, goat, cow, even marmot.
Usually, I won’t be able to feed rabbit in other ranches, but in this ranch you can go close to the animal. Of course, there’re fences to protect you, but it does not make it less enjoyable.
There’re other attractions such as segway, trampoline, and dog garden (which mostly were not operating, I don’t even know why). I also came on Sunday, so I don’t know why there were no staff there. I really wanted to go to the dog garden.
(Horse riding and fishing are ones of the attraction that were operating that day)
Also, you can try other activities such as making butter by yourself. This farm is famous for its dairy products, so make sure you try their ice cream.
Forth Stop: Momijidani Suspension Bridge
This is one of my favourite place, biggest suspension bridge in Nikko. If you come here on Autumn or Spring, there will be tons of people in this area because the scenery is too mesmerising.
The fee to cross the bridge is 300 for adult and 200 for kids. It takes you 20 mins to cross (round-trip). The owner of this facility said that on peak season, hundreds or thousands of people will go here. This bridge can carry up to 180ish people at the same time.
In summer, there’re less people here. The number of visitors can drop to.. 5 people in a day. It’s not as pretty as Autumn with the fall foliage or Spring with the sakura.
There’s a lover sanctuary in the other side of the bridge. On both ends of the bridge, there is a rest house too. However, because I come not on peak season, the rest house is not really operating as well.
The owner was really nice, he welcomed us to the rest house and explained about this facility. I still think this place is worth visiting. It’s not too hot here and it can be your perfect escape place from Tokyo heat.
Accomodation: Honkei Bankyu at Yunishigawa Onsen
I’ve been to Yunishigawa Onsen earlier this year. I’ll post about it later. However, at that time I did not stay in this place.
The guide explain that this place is managed by the descendant of the Taira family. Taira family is the opponent of the Minamoto family (Genji) long long time ago. They lost the battle and they fled into the deep of the mountain. To make a living, they started their own business such as ryoukan and resting places. I guess that’s why Nasushiobara (as well as Karuizawa) is sometimes referred as the Royal resting place.
The building was old, but the inside is totally different. We got pretty big room to accomodate 4 person. There’re 2 rooms inside. First is the room with bed and the other is the living room where the staff will roll out the futon when you dine later.
What I like about this place is there’s a private onsen in the room. I know some of people might be uncomfortable being naked in public onsen, therefore, if you want to enjoy onsen by yourself I think this hotel might be one of good choice for you.
I read it somewhere that Yunishigawa onsen is listed as top 10 onsen that can give you pretty skin. This hotel also provide each room and onsen with skin care amenities.
Oh, did I say that there’s massage chair in your room too?
Our dinner and breakfast is provided by the hotel. The dining location is located at the back of the hotel where you have to cross a wooden bridge. It was really fun.
Our meal is a full-course Japanese traditional meal. The restaurant also serve several specialty food of the hotel.
The staff explained to us about the order of food, which one you should eat first, how to take the grilled food from the fire. Yes.. There’s an open fire in front of you where they grilled and heat the food and Japanese sake.
I don’t remember how much food I ate. Food and drinks just kept coming. It was really tasty, also you need to try their Japanese Sake. It’s not really bitter and it just taste so good.
Tl;dr here’s the summary of my first day in Nasushiobara:
- The Sesshoseki is really interesting if you know the stories behind it. Nasu Onsen temple is located around this temple, but personally, I don’t think that temple is really really a must be visited spot.
- The ranch is interesting if you go with small kids, a lot of attractions were meant for small kids. If you have free time, it’s ok to go here to enjoy food and feed some farm animal. However, there’re a lot of more interesting place to be visited.
- Momijidani suspension bridge is a must to go place. Especially if you come in Autumn or Spring.
- The accomodation Honkei Bankyo is choo osusume (super super recommended). No words needed. You have to experience it yourself.
I’ll post the next day really soon. Stay tune and have a wonderful day.
As usual, comments are always loved!