Another in a series of excursion trips to Japanese natural (onsen) hot springs brought to you from a couple weekends ago. As you may know, this site is called “Come To Kagawa” (and you should, you really should!) but sometimes we find beautiful things and places in the corners of the neighbouring prefectures. So if you have a chance, get in your car, on your bike, in the train, and head out for some splendid, authentic, and truly relaxing experiences in an onsen hotel.
This article brings to you the Onyado Nono Nara Hot Spring. The location is absolutely perfect, right next to the JR station and in a very lovely bustling centre of the city.
As soon as we pulled up to the hotel (access by car a little tricky) we were greeted by very kind and welcoming staff. We were asked to take off our shoes and to put them in the lockers provided just to the side of the front desk.
When you arrive at your room you will find a very clean and good smelling room.
Heading to the baths, you will see immediately that absolutely everything is immaculate. The hotel has an excellent reputation and it is well-deserved. The staff are tremendously kind and polite and provide hospitality beyond what you may see in other hotels.
You can see that each washing station is separated from the others. This may be nice for those who tend to spray water around while cleaning up. This also gives you a little privacy as well. Many onsen do not have this, so it is a welcome classy addition.
And then the beautiful baths themselves. Wow.
Don’t just take my word for it. Trip Advisor has a bunch of good reviews of the place:
After our stay at this beautiful, and unbelievably easy to access hotel (right next to the JR station!), we went to Starbucks, fuelled up on coffee, I bought a Nara mug to go with my growing bunch of Japan mugs, and we headed off to Toudai-ji, and it was spectacular.
The sky was really THIS blue, and we had a wonderful experience. Toudai-ji is the world’s largest wooden building and inside is a 15 meter tall sitting Buddha, flanked by Bodhisattvas. There were quite a number of visitors there, so it was not as serene or quiet as one might hope. Nevertheless, we greatly enjoyed the visit, and it was a pleasure to finally get to see Japan’s original capital.
Getting there will require about a 30 minute walk, or a quick 10 minute taxi ride. There are many places in the area to visit, and you too will be visited by many deer if you choose to feed them.
The deer are considered to be holy and as such are not to be harassed or teased, although if you purchase deer crackers, which are on sale in the area, you can expect to have a good number of deer come very close to you. I had a couple pull on my shirt and push me with their head. So, if you have little ones with you make sure to keep them close so they don’t feel overwhelmed. Also, since there are a good number of deer in the area it is a good idea to not wear sandals or open-toed shoes. Deer droppings, are all over.
Despite the seemingly chaotic mix of tourists and deer, the people taking care of the grounds are ever-moving, careful to clean up the paths, and are very welcoming and kind.
Take a couple of days to explore and enjoy Nara. We saw only part of the city, and a few of the UNESCO world heritage sites. We will surely return for further exploration in time to come!