Minakami(水上) station in Gunma（群馬） Prefecture. From Ueno station in Tokyo, it is about two and a half hour to three hours by train. There are a few souvenir stores right in front of the station, but other than that, the town is very quiet.
Very nice grilled curry gratin rice in Caffe Restaurant ASIMA near Minakami station.
We stayed in Ousenkaku(汪泉閣) of Takaragawa hotspring(宝川温泉). The hotel sent a bus to pick us up from Minakami station.
Reception room where we were served tea and were introduced to the facilities in the hotel. The Japanese staff spoke really good English and Mandarin(!!). That’s probably why there were quite a lot of foreign visitors. We wanted to save up money, so we stayed in the cheapest room without toilet and bath inside. There is a toilet right outside our room and we took shower before going into the hotspring anyway, so it wasn’t that bad. The whole stay including dinner and breakfast is less than 10,000yen per person(there were two of us). The contents of the meals are exactly the same whichever room you stay in.
View from our room.
You need to cross a bridge to go to the hotspring.
Bears in cages!
Entrance to the hotsprings.
There are 3 konyoku(mixed-gender bathing) hotsprings and 1 female-only hotspring. Females are allowed to go into the mixed hotsprings with bath towels wrapped around their bodies(usually you cannot put a towel into the hotspring water), but we were still too chicken and went straight for the female-only one.
Okay you are not supposed to take pics of the hotsprings…but we were early and there was no one there. ^^;;
The stream is right next to the hotspring.
Dinner time! If you pay more, you can have dinner served in your room. But we just ate in the restaurant.
Some river fish’s sashimi and its roe. Chawanmushi and tempura.
Beef kaminabe(paper hotpot).
Grilled fish, mushroom and root vegetables.
Grilled chicken. Bear soup. I asked the waitress about the bear soup and she reassured me that the bear meat is from Hokkaido and NOT from the bears we saw earlier. ^^;; The food is really tasty. I especially like the beef, and also the bear soup which has many goodies like different kinds of taro, root vegetables and chewy floury things. I was so so so stuffed by the end.