On the second day, we travelled by train and then by bus to a different hotspring called Ikaho onsen（伊香保温泉）. We stayed in Hotel Kogure（ホテル木暮）. The hotspring is more modern style, more spa-like than the “hotspring in the midst of the wilds” that we enjoyed very much the previous day. The mountain view(no snow yet in this area) is not as beautiful as the previous one too, but our room is more comfortable as we pay almost double for this hotel, and we don’t have to walk in the cold to get to the hotsprings. The hotsprings are divided into female-only and male-only, and they are swapped everyday such that you can try half of the hotsprings at night, and the other half in the morning. Rooms with private spa attached are also available. There is a bar, there is a karaoke, there is a sauna, there is massage service and ganban-yoku (stone-slab bath) if you are willing to pay. We saw a few employee groups having gatherings in the private halls. Seems like this place is not so foreigner-oriented. When I went to get a beer from the bar, the staff immediately knew my name cos apparently two of us were the only foreigners in the entire hotel. ^^;;;; But the staff are very very friendly.
After we checked-in and dumbed our luggages, we took the “Gunma bus”(群馬バス) to an area which is famous for its “Mizusawa udon”(水沢うどん). A friend recommended Osawaya（大澤屋） so there we went.
Simmered leek and pork, and maitake mushroom tempura are both very nice. The udon is however nothing special…
Ishidan-gai(石段街）, i.e. stone steps street. I expected more souvenir stores and more lively atmosphere but it was really quiet and felt more like a local street. My friend who was planning to buy souvenirs was quite disappointed. Well, it is a nice stroll. Better pictures from my friend’s camera(my camera died on me at that time): 1, 2, 3, 4. They were taken near the top.
Dinner in the private room of the dining hall.
Abalone was so fresh that it was still moving on the hotplate.
Very delicious rice.
For the rice, the abalone and the beef, the staff told us to wait until the fire goes off, which is fine for the rice and the abalone, but the beef was overcooked by then…but it is still nice cos the quality of the beef is good.
The thick flat udon and the soup are so nice that I finished the last drop even though my stomach was bursting full. I was going to leave the dessert cos it didn’t look appealing, but after tasting a little piece, I couldn’t resist eating the whole thing cos it was so good. Everything in the course is absolutely delicious. Very satisfied!
We got a beer and thought we would relax in the foot spa…but we forgot that the foot spa was outdoor and it was freezing cold even with our feet immersed in hot water. After snapping some pics, we dived right back inside….
Breakfast is buffet. The miso soup has crab in it, very nice! (We speculated that the crab might be leftover ingredients from dinner last night – you could choose two main dishs from abalone, beef and crab.)
At the most perfect timing, Ikaho hotspring was introduced on TV a few days before we went there.