Japan: Gunma Prefecture

Deep in mountains, only about 75 minutes NW of Tokyo, between the capital and Niigata, is an 18-room ryokan overlooking a raging river and surrounded by forests and cultivated fields.  Huge, polished stones beside the river attest to the force of the water.  In the ryokan, tatami rooms are large, even spacious, with floor to ceiling windows and private, outdoor onsen.

Arriving here yesterday in very early afternoon, it was time to interview the proprietor and then take the first of three baths, preceded initially by kama soba: Duck soup with perhaps the best, certainly the freshest, soba I have ever enjoyed.

In a private room, much later, after naps and reading and research on the property, time for a long kaiseki-style, with rustic touches, dinner.

Reading Soseki’s Bildungsroman here: Sanshiro, which seems about right.


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