Monday, February 19, 2018

Daiwa Ryokan (大和旅館) - My First Official Ryokan Stay @ Lake Toya [Hokkaido, Japan]

Staying in a ryokan is supposed to be something one must do at least once in their lifetime and while i was looking forward to a good sleep, i was reminded that this wasn't my first choice.

We had mistakenly booked the wrong date for the one we really wanted and by the time we realized, the rooms were all taken up and we were offered the alternative Daiwa Ryokan.

From the outside, it did appear quite rundown and i was hoping the inside would be better. 

Those who have booked a room, note that the place would be closed from 10.30 am to 1.00 pm for cleaning and it's best to roam around the beautiful Lake Toya before you check in. 

No walking in with those dirty shoes of yours! Change to the slippers offered by the ryokan and banish your shoes to the shoe rack room near the entrance.

A life-size display of ancient and antiquated furniture, decorations and equipment; the kind of setting my mom loves and would likely ask me to take a few photographs with her in them.

Since everyone was busied with the check-in given the language barrier, i took the opportunity to 'escape' to the lower level of the ryokan where a notice pointed towards a place of massive interest. 

The ryokan's hot spring bathhouse! 

I am supposed to put my belongings in the lockers before i proceeded further but the ryokan seemed quite quiet and i guess there's a chance i could take some pictures if there's no one in the onsen.

Luck was on my side even though i was a tad disappointed with the depressing state of the onsen. Filled with greenish water, i was actually a bit hesitant to step into the tubs when i wanted to take a soak later that evening.

Note that it closed at 10.00 pm!  

The elderly gentleman manning the reception was very nice; he automatically passed us a map for ease of navigation and even shoved us a poster publicizing the Toyako Onsen Summer Festival

On the way to our assigned room on level two of the ryokan. There's a dining room on level one but unfortunately, i didn't check it out and just to clarify, our room didn't come with any meals. 

Drew lots again and this time, we got the bigger room 210! 

Floor plan for your reference; throughout our stay, i think there's only another occupied room. Hm.... i thought Hokkaido is popular in summer...

View of Lake Toya from the second floor of Daiwa Ryokan! 

Cool sia; the entire room was on an elevated platform and there's a strong scent of tatami mats! I can bet with you that this intense smell might not be well liked by everyone.

Spacious living room.

There's no closet / wardrobe although i don't really mind since i don't have the tendency to hang anything and even if i do, it's for my pair of jeans which would benefit from being air outside than inside. 

Aside from the Japanese style jacket, you can find yutakas, traditional summer attire for the Japanese, in a basket. With no instructions, i decided not to wear it in case i were to make a fool out of myself. I should have just searched the web for instructions as i found a pictorial one here

Old school television; CRT one which looked like the kind that Sadako climbed out from in the horror movie that i felt was the scariest of all time; The Ring.

There's a smaller room that's dark and you would need to pull the string to switch on the light. 

I noticed the additional door and made a guess that it would contain the materials required for my bedding at night; my experience in my first airbnb in furano had taught me something.

Japanese futons! 

Alex's penchant for constant rest when overseas continued when he enthusiastically laid out the futon so that he can take a short snooze before our next meetup time with our travel mates.

Now, a few things i must highlight to you about the ryokan; there's no air-conditioner (i found a radiator though) and it's not really a big deal since the climate was rather cooling at Lake Toya, even in summer. However, i still needed some air circulation and having the standing fan helped.

There's no curtain which could have been fine but if you were as ignorant as me and decided to sleep in the 'living room', the sun rises at about 4.00 am in summer and i am the kind who will wake up once the sun shines on my butt. Am also the kind who couldn't sleep in bright daylight. Kudos.

Towels, face towels, toothbrushes and razors were provided; key question. Where the hell was the bathroom since i didn't see any!? Again, do pardon my ignorance as baths were to be taken in the bathhouse i mentioned earlier that was located on the lower level of the building. Shampoo and shower gel would be provided in the bathhouse. 

What about toilets?! There's a common toilet along the corridor and it's segregated by male and female. Thank god for that; I am writing the statement on behalf of my female friends.

Urinals in the male toilet and there's one thing i am superbly impressed; the floor was dry, spotless and there's none of the stench you often get in toilets back in the little red dot! 

Curiosity was piqued when i saw the labels on the doors; Japanese style and Western style toilet. By Western style, i am thinking it's likely a seated toilet but i don't know of any Japanese style toilet.

Mystery solved - Western style.

Japanese style would be the squatting kind of toilet which i thought would be better to be labelled as Asian style since squatting toilets are common even in Southeast Asia.

Want to wash your face and brush your teeth? Do them at the sinks along the common corridor too! It's like a walk down memory lane when i was in primary school! 

The ones outside the ladies' room were better looking. I think most Japanese homes have the same kind of vanity sinks as evidenced in my first airbnb in furano and the second airbnb in Otaru.

One of my friends' room that's missing a window; not much of an issue so long you don't have rowdy stayers even though it reflected a lot on the condition of the ryokan.

I did see a few of the above and thought they were merely artistic display of fireworks that would help to brighten up the dull walls.

No, they were really just colourful stickers to hide the defects like holes in the walls, broken floor laminates etc. Well, can't fault them on their creativity. Staying in Daiwa Ryokan was indeed an eye-opener for me.

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Location
049-5721 Hokkaido, Lake Toya, 
Toyako Onsen 105, Japan

Map
As above.

Pricing
A Room for 2 - 9,200 yen


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