Arriving in Nozawa Onsen

by Anthony on March 19, 2010

The train station is actually “Togari Nozawa Onsen Station”.  It’s still a 15 minute bus ride away from where I wanted to be, but that was no big deal.  I made the short walk from the bus stop to Villa Nozawa pretty easily, although it was hard not to notice just how hilly the town is.  Uphill all the way!

Checking in was quite the relief too!  It was very warm inside, and the everyone was very welcoming.  There was a small area at the doorway where you have to take your shoes off.  After a few days of this, I was really regretting my choice of boots (lots of laces).  Thongs would have been much easier, although it probably would have meant losing some toes to frostbite.

My first order of business was to check in, and get settled.  A close second priority was food – at this point, I was starved.  I asked at the front desk, and was shown a map of town and pointed to some recommended restaurants.  I decided to try Okonomiyaki, which could be described as a pancake with a layer of fried noodles.  Sounded so strange I just had to try it!  So map in hand, I set off to find my dinner.

Turns out it was quite the walk – about the furtherest restaurant I could have selected.  I had to walk through the main street of town, which is home to some other great restaurants and bars.

Eventually though, I found what I was looking for.  I sat at a counter in front of some very large hotplates, and looked at the menu.  Thankfully, this one had some english notes, which helped me avoid the seafood.

I chose a pancake with noodles and cheese, which turned out to be delicous. Definitely worth the walk!  After all that working, and now a nice hot meal, I was ready to bed down for the night.

A quick note on bedding here – what I thought was a futon on my first night turned out to be a futon with a mattress.  Here I would be sleeping on a futon.  The room had tatami mats on the floor, which are tightly woven to give a pretty hard surface.  The futon itself is basically a thick doona.  It wasn’t exactly uncomfortable, but definitely a harder surface than I’m used to sleeping on.  It took a few nights to get used to this.

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