A Luxury Retreat in Shizuoka
Ryokans are a uniquely Japanese experience that must be experienced especially as a way to take a break from traveling through the bigger cities. The experience can be likened to a retreat that pampers your body while you relax in a natural setting and indulge in elaborately delicious meals.
All About Hoshino Resorts KAI Enshu
Hoshino Resorts KAI specializes in luxury boutique hot spring ryokans. Each setting takes guests away into nature for a relaxing retreat experience.
KAI Enshu is located along Lake Hamana in Hamamatsu which is a part of the Shizuoka prefecture. This region is known as Japan’s green tea capital as it is the country’s biggest tea producer. As such, KAI Enshu features tea workshops and tea-infused hot spring baths.
Luxury Ryokan Dining Experience
Hamamatsu’s Lake Hamana was known as a historical mecca for eel farmers due to its temperate climate and high-quality water. Aside from regional tea tastings, expect to sample eels from fresh from the lake.
Watch my video below of my 2-night experience in Hoshino Resorts KAI Enshu and Hamamatsu
How to Get to Hoshino Resorts KAI Enshu
Hoshino Resorts KAI Enshu can be accessed via the JR Hamamatsu Station. On the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen Hikari Line, it only takes 30 minutes from Nagoya Station and 1.5 hours from Tokyo Station.
Then, from the JR Hamamatsu Station, you will then transfer to the local bus stop (between bus signs 3 & 4) on the side of the station for the complimentary bus to take you near the resort. For this, you must reserve with the resort ahead of time so your names are on the bus schedule. Then, after the 45-minute drive, a resort van will be at the final bus stop to take you on a 2-minute drive to the resort.
The complimentary bus takes you from the JR Hamamatsu Station towards Lake Hamana. It is a complimentary service for those that reserve ahead of time for that particular bus schedule. Make your arrangements with the hotel. Note that the bus stop at the JR Hamamatsu Station has no or limited English, so have the resort’s phone number to call in case you have questions
Upon your arrival at the resort, you will begin the check-in process in the main lobby. As you fill out forms about your preferred times for breakfast and dinner, the treats begin. This is a cold green tea to refresh as well as a little tea cookie to pair with the drink
After you finish the check-in process, you will then get escorted to your room. As this is a luxury ryokan, relax and let the staff help you with your things as this is your time to get indulged, spoiled, and pampered
Room Tour in Photos
While there are more affordable rooms on the property, treat yourself to the room with the Outdoor Bath. The bedroom is extra spacious with two beds for each of the guests as well as a couple of seating areas to enjoy the whole room
The Western-style Room with an Outdoor Bath includes an ample seating area with a large day bed as well as seats that overlook Lake Hamana. The daybed can even accommodate an extra adult in the room (extra person fee do apply)
Every room in the resort has the best views of Hamamatsu’s Lake Hamana. The lake is known for its fish and eel – in fact, if you gaze at the lake even just for a few moments, you will see the shimmering fish and eel jumping out of the water!
The closet has all the clothes and apparel you will need while staying inside the resort – your yukata, robes, and socks! While dining, you are encouraged to feel at home and wear your yukata. In colder seasons, you can bundle up with vests and jackets that will be placed in the closet
The indoor bathroom has two sinks, a sitting area to overlook the outdoor bath, and a shower. The sink and shower come with a complete line of amenities that you will need to stay your freshest – including shampoo, conditioner, removal oils, and moisturizers
The highlight of your room – the outdoor bath! There is even a place for you to sit on the side as well as plenty of space in the room so you will not feel cramped and claustrophobic
The room is open air as there is no glass but rather shutters to obstruct the view from outsiders. This open-air feel makes for a more refreshing hot bath experience
Activities & Facilities at the Resort
The main reason most people stay at ryokans is for the hot spring baths. This is the path to the public bath which is separated for men and women. The baths here feature tea-infused hot spring waters
The onsen lounge features cold green tea and popsicles during the day and cold desserts and drinks in the evening. All drinks and refreshments are inclusive of your stay. When the weather is too hot or cold, this is a great lounge to enjoy
Popsicles! Cool down during the day with fruit-flavored popsicles. They are small sizes so you will not feel guilty for indulging in one or even tasting all the flavors in one sitting
Green tea sake drinks to end the evening. After dinner, head down to the onsen lounge to enjoy a cold drink during warm months while overlooking the resort’s tea plantation
Aside from green tea drinks, you can also have a sweet ending with the shaved ice topped with green tea syrup. There are lounge seats inside and outside for guests to comfortably sit while savoring the nightcap
The library features amazing views of the lake, English and Japanese books, as well as coffee, teas, and sweet snacks to pair with the drinks
Inclusive with your stay is a short hands-on tea class in which you will learn about the process to make green teas and matcha tea. The class is mostly taught in Japanese with English assistance for non-native speakers
You will learn about the different green teas, the appropriate temperatures to make each tea variety, and the process of making each tea. You will get to taste each of the cups you make
Then, of course, there’s matcha. You will learn the tools to make the perfect matcha as well as the stirring process so you can easily make it at home
Dinner, Night 1
Perhaps more so than the hot springs, the food is reason alone to stay at Hoshino Resorts KAI Enshu. The whole meal features regional and seasonal specialties, including regional sake which you can sample as a flight
Night one features an epic kaiseki meal with so many small dishes starting with a cold small starter to wake up your palate. This summer season featured uni, ikura, and radish in a cold broth
Look at this! And it is still just the starters! Have your cameras ready for every meal at KAI Enshu as it will delight your palate and eyes. This two-level tray has an assortment of cold appetizers for two guests.
The small dishes feature sashimi cuts of seasonal fish as well as unagi from the lake prepared in various methods
The dishes also include cooked seafood, meats, and vegetables for a complete variety of flavors and textures as well as condiments to complement the food
After the cold appetizers, there are hot appetizers like soups and this beautifully delicious tempura course featuring a seasonal vegetable and seafood with a green tea salt
The main course arrives with all the side condiments. As you are right next to Lake Hamana, that obviously means your first dinner treats you to the local eel prepared two ways – seasoned with soy sauce and simply with salt
Then there’s dessert! You have a choice of two desserts. The following evening, there will be the same selections so you can try one on each night if you are staying two nights
For warmer months, the desserts are cold and refreshing while featuring seasonal fruits. This is a great way to finish a meal and not end so indulgently with a heavy dessert
Breakfast, Day 1
Good morning! The meal begins with a refreshing little glass of juice featuring Shizuoka’s regional orange that is tart and sweet – a perfect way to awaken your palate in the morning
Come prepared to eat breakfast, because it is as epic as the views. The meal comes as a complete tray with a steamed eel dish, broiled fish, onsen egg, oden, pickles, soup, and rice. This can surely keep you full until dinner
Dinner, Night 2
If you order another sake flight the next night, your server will know what you drank previously and offer if you want to try 3 different varieties – the resort has an impressive attention to detail!
The dishes the second evening are completely different from the first. You will not have the two-tiered tower of appetizers but you will still have drool-worthy plates like this generous assortment of sashimi
From the cold plates to soups to fried and all gorgeously constructed. The plates feature flavors and textures to hit all the senses for a most enjoyable dinner on night two
Shabu Shabu with premium cuts of marbled wagyu beef! Because of the marbling of the beef, the few slices are more than enough to satisfy your taste and tummy. Plus, there is still a final course after this
The meat quickly simmers with the seasonal vegetables. The candle and claypot sufficiently boil and simmer the ingredients in the flavored broth
After you finish the meat and vegetable, the broth will be made into a porridge with cooked rice and egg that the server will prepare and plate for you
Breakfast, Day 2 & Checking Out
On your second morning, prepare for another massive breakfast! This will again feature a broiled fish with all the fixings of soup, rice, pickles, egg, and even a side dish a steamed tofu. Should you still be hungry after this or any meal, you can freely ask for more food. Then, after breakfast, you will proceed to check0out and transfer back to the JR Hamamatsu Station
Address & Contact Information
Hoshino Resorts KAI Enshu
399-1 Kanzanji-cho, Nishi-ku
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