We arrived at the wonderful Yarimikan-shin Hotake hotel, part of which had been relocated from another part of Japan and which had 8 different “onsen” or hot spring pools where you could soak at any time. You first had to go to the shower room and wash and then you could either dip into the onsen inside or choose one of the other eight located along the hill close to the river.
The hotel only used the thermal spring water for all it’s heating and cooling and even to cool the drinks and boil the eggs, very eco-friendly.

The staff were very professional, welcoming and efficient and there was an enormous variety and amount of Japanese cuisine at it’s best. We enjoyed every minute there. They even had an honour system for buying drinks – you just took them out of a large hollowed out log filled with cold running water and write what you had taken on a sheet of paper on the desk. I couldn’t imagine being able to do that in many countries.

The food was all very fresh including the twitching fish which was given to Maurice. It was taken away rather quickly and replaced with another variety which had been well cooked. The variety and quality of all the food was astounding.
The next morning we had have a go at pounding rice into “mochi” which was delicious eaten with sweet bean paste.

We reluctantly left the hotel the next morning and continued on to Lake Suwa, an area known for making precision tools. Long winding roads with forests interspersed with lovely autumn colours took us to Matsumoto castle where we climbed the several storeys, some with their very steep wooden steps up to the top for a wonderful view of the moat and surrounding area.

The lovely autumn colours continued and we reached Kawaguchiko Lake where from our hotel Konan-su we had a wonderful view of Mt Fuji from our room and a private hot tub on the balcony. We chose an early dinner and had another wonderful array of many beautifully presented dishes.

The toilet in our room was the most high tech one we had seen. The light came on when you opened the door and the toilet seat automatically was raised. The seat was of course heated and a panel on the wall allowed you many functions including rushing water noises. We were lucky to see Fuji that day and in the early evening as it was clouded over the following day.

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