And we’re back on the train on our way to Ise, in the province of Mie. Tokyo or Osaka‘s modernity and turmoil seem so far away! All the more so with our lodging choice for this stop: a traditional inn (=ryokan) called Hoshidekan.
I had never tried this type of housing during my previous stay, and I was curious to discover this typically japanese dolce vita.
As soon as we arrive, we’re greeted by a young host who speaks some english – which will prove very useful to understand the house rules in this traditional home. After taking our shoes off in the hallway, we visit our new abode.
He shows us the small central garden, very proud of his “suikinkutsu 水琴窟”, an ingenious system where you pour water in a bamboo tube so you can enjoy the sweet song of the trickling water.
We will be sleeping on a futon that will be unfolded in the evening on our room’s tatami, with a garden view.
As for the bathroom, we will have to share it with the other people living in the ryokan, but let me reassure you right off, we don’t take our bath all at the same time (although, if you’re in a philanthropic mood…) : the door can be locked, you just need to decide on who gets to go first.
Inside, it’s like an episode of Ranma 1/2: you sit on small stools to wash yourself with water and soap (and the help of a small wooden bucket or the traditional showerhead for those who have habits).
Once clean, you can take a dip in a 42°C bath, and totally relax. Divine!
To honor the location, I wore the yukata (summer kimono) that I bought in Tokyo, Asakusa with “Kotome-san”, my japanese aunt.
I took advantage of her being there to ask her all possible questions and make sure I was doing everything right if I wore it (“can you wear socks(=tabi) with a yukata? Which sandals (=getta) should I choose? You’re supposed to fold left over right, right?” etc. etc.)
The yukata is traditionally worn during summer festivals or in the onsen (hot springs). In the shop, I could choose between a traditional obi (belt) or one with a ready-made knot.
I didn’t want to take the easy road, so I asked the saleswoman to explain exactly how to make a knot in the back, so that I could do it on my own later on, and do it right! I spent at least an hour in the shop, taking pictures of all the steps with my Iphone (although…tutorials can be found on Youtube) and victory! We managed to reproduce the knot here in Ise!
Here I am with the outfit of the day, a tad “cliché” perhaps, but it really was all too tempting, in such a location: I hope you’ll enjoy it, before we resume our visits! (English translation by Bleu Marine)
Previously on MY JAPAN TRAVEL DIARY :
Notre appart à Tokyo
Day 1 : Sumida Park & Asakusa
Day 2 : Namco Namjatown
Day 3 : Omotesando & Harajuku
Day 4 : Ueno Park
Day 5 : Errances gourmandes à Omotesando
Day 6 : Odaiba お台場
Day 7 : Tsukiji market, Meiji & Yoyogi
Day 8 : Tokyo Skytree
Day 9 : Dans le train pour Osaka !
Day 10 : Osaka Castle & Hanami au Mint
Day 11 : Osaka DenDen Town
Day 12 : Nagoya
Day 13 : Takayama Spring Festival