What kind of onsen ryokan is Nansuikaku?

On a weekend in mid-May, when spring had ended and the sky was fresh green and crisp blue, my husband and I took our two small children to Wakita Onsen, a 1000-year-old hot spring in Fukuoka, where we stayed at Nansuikaku. This onsen ryokan was about an hour’s bus ride from the Hakata bus terminal. On the way, the bus passed through nature-rich mountain roads with no street lights, and after crossing a mountain pass, a peaceful atmosphere of houses suddenly appeared. After a while, we came upon a magnificent building with a massive gate, completely different from the surrounding buildings, with torches burning on both sides. The bus we boarded stopped at the bus stop in front of the onsen ryokan and we got off there.

To get straight to the point, it was a wonderful onsen ryokan only an hour away from the center of Fukuoka City. We hope to stay there again someday, especially the room with a private onsen where we stayed. It is not a luxury ryokan, but considering the price range, we were very satisfied with the service, hospitality, food, onsens, and facilities. If anything, this ryokan would probably be more suitable for families and groups.

Passing through the massive gate, we found a garden with stone monuments, trees, and a pond in a large space, where many Nishiki-koi carp were swimming in the pond. The sound of the river flowing along the ryokan could be heard. At the entrance of the tiled-roof building was a magnificent dark red curtain. As we entered through the front door, we were greeted by a smiling lady dressed in a kimono. We took off our shoes here and sat on sofas by the window in the spacious tatami-floored lobby. Behind the reception desk was a gold folding screen depicting a noblewoman from the Heian period. The staff offered beer to my husband and I and orange juice to the children. We checked in here. We quenched our thirst with beer and relaxed for a while, admiring the beautiful fresh green trees.

After this, the staff showed us to our room. This time we stayed on the second floor in a room with a private onsen called Tsutsuji. This ryokan, built along the river, was a very complicated structure. It has probably been reconstructed and extended many times. There were elevators, but there were also many stairs. There were four wings on the grounds, and it was like a maze. We even got lost several times during our stay.

Pulling the lattice door at the entrance of the room, we entered the room and found twin beds on the right side and a Japanese-style living room on the left side. Then, going out through the window of the living room, we found a spacious terrace. The children were already playing tag on the terrace. To the right of the terrace was a private onsen made of wonderful Japanese cypress. We loved the ambience of the private onsen, which was covered with a bamboo screen, so there was no view of the outside, but the setting was very charming. This ryokan is not a luxury ryokan, but the rooms with private onsens have been recently renovated and were very comfortable. On the other hand, the rooms without private onsens probably have not been renovated. If you are going to stay here, it would be a good idea to stay in a room with a private onsen.

Then, we decided to take a hot spring-hopping on the grounds. At the entrance with the lobby, we changed into our shoes, went outside, and turned left down a path by the ryokan’s stately gate. We followed this path, listening to the sound of the river flowing by, and crossed a red bridge that we could see from the window of the lobby lounge, and from there we climbed a long flight of stairs. Halfway up the stairs, the kids got tired and sat down, so we carried the children on our backs up the stairs. For those with weak legs, the staff will take you via a different route. We too regreted that we should have asked for transportation when we checked in.

After climbing the long flight of stairs, one finds a wide variety of communal outdoor hot springs, private family hot spring baths, a local restaurant for lunch, and a massage parlor. All of the communal outdoor hot springs are free of charge, but the five private family hot spring baths cost JPY1,650 per hour.

We returned to our room after enjoying the communal baths, and the kids were so tired they fell asleep. We ordered a bottle of sake made in Fukuoka from room service and sat on stone chairs on the terrace to enjoy it while listening to the sound of the flowing river.

Then, we realized that it was 6:00 pm. Since dinner was served at 6:00 p.m., we rushed to wake the children, carried the sleepy ones in our arms, and headed for a dining area. When we arrived at the dining area, the staff showed us to a private dining room. Dinner was a local kaiseki meal. We ordered an extra order of Saga beef steak, which was delicious. We also pre-ordered a meal for the kids. The kids enjoyed fried shrimp, pork pie wraps, crab gratin, Neapolitan, and more.

After dinner, we decided to go to a private family onsen called Yumegokochi, which we had booked for 8:00 p.m. We put on wooden clogs called geta at the entrance and walked outside to a small traditional hut with a brown noren curtain by the red bridge on the grounds, where we found a charming and quaint dressing room and a bathtub made of a huge stone hollowed out of stone. The children were thrilled to find such a surprisingly large hot spring. This private family onsen can be used free of charge for 40 minutes by guests.

After enjoying the private family onsen, we decided to take a walk around the area for a while. The view from the red bridge of the ryokan along the river, gently illuminated by lanterns placed here and there, and rising in the dark night, gave us a nostalgic feeling. The 800-year-old camphor tree along the river was also illuminated, creating an ethereal mood.

After this, we returned to our room and the children were so tired that they fell asleep. We decided to relax for a while, sitting on the chairs on the terrace of our room, listening to the sound of the flowing river and the singing of bell bugs. After a while, a small, glowing object appeared in front of us, like a number of dots. Upon closer inspection, we saw several fireflies flying around. For those of us who live in Tokyo, the sight of fireflies flying around in front of us, something we do not usually see, was very unusual and made us happy.

The next morning, we awoke to the sound of the river flowing just before seven o’clock. I stepped out onto the terrace to find it was a crisp morning with blue skies. The scent of the hot spring was wafting through the clear air. I decided to enjoy the private hot spring on the terrace with my children. As we soaked in the hot spring, we heard wild deer crying. They must be taking a walk right next to us.

After the private onsen, we decided to take a walk along the river. The river was a beautiful clear jade color, and the surface of the water glistened in the sunlight. The trees along the river were swaying in the gentle breeze, and the bright yellow-green color of the young leaves was truly beautiful.

Returning from our walk, we sat by the window in the lobby lounge and enjoyed coffee for us and orange juice for the kids. Complimentary drinks are available in the lobby lounge. After this, we had breakfast at the same place where we had dinner, checked out before 10:00, and took the bus back to Hakata.

If I were to raise a fault, it would be that there are many stairs on the grounds, so it was a bit difficult to move around with small children. If you are staying with someone with weak legs, we would recommend that you stay in an accessible room with a private onsen.

Check Availability and Pricing for Nansuikaku on Agoda
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Is the location easy to access?

Take the JR Kyushu Bus at Hakata Bus Terminal. Then get off at Nansuikakumae Bus Stop. The bus will stop in front of the ryokan. It takes 60 to 70min. The round-trip fare was JPY1,530 for adults and JPY800 for children.

If you are visiting Fukuoka for the first time, you may be worried about where to get off a bus, so it may be a good idea to show a bus driver the Japanese below when you get on the bus. The bus driver will tell you when you arrive at the bus stop.

Please let me know when you reach “Nansuikakumae Bus Stop”

How about toiletries & in-room amenities?

All of the amenities are taken care of including enough toiletries, yukatas, Japanese sweets, and a Japanese tea set, etc. Also, CD players, humidifiers, and baby cribs are available for borrowing if you request in advance. Free WiFi reception was available in our room. Complimentary coffee, tea, and juice are available in the lobby. Room service is available for drinks only between 15:00 and 22:00. There is a vending machine for drinks. There is no convenience store nearby. You may want to buy your necessities before coming here. *Bringing in beverages from outside is generally prohibited.

Also, this is child-friendly. Staff will prepare meals and yukatas if you request in advance. Children up to 2 years old can sleep together for free.

How about meals?

All meals are served in the dining area or in your room. This depends on the room you stay. Only if you stay at a room with a private onsen and request in-room dining in advance, meals will be served in your room.

If you stay at any other room, meals will be served in the dining area. If you wish to dine in your room, an additional ¥2,000 per person will be charged.

Also, when booking a room with meals, please inform the staff if you have any food allergies. They may not be able to provide you with an alternative meal if you request it on the day of your stay.

Then, most local restaurants are only open during lunch time. You may want to book a room with meals included.

Have a nice trip!  Welcome to receive any questions about Nansuikaku from the below space. Check Availability and Pricing for Nansuikaku on Agoda

Info about Nansuikaku

Style Traditional Onsen Ryokan
Check-in and out times
Estimated Price 40,000 JPY for 2 adults per room
Contact Call at +81 949-54-0123 from overseas
Call at  0949-54-0123 domestic Japan
Internet Connection Free WiFi around the lobby only
Facility Information Wheelchairs are available
Pets are not allowed
The free parking lot is available
Location Nansuikaku’s MAP
Access Refer to the above
Address and TEL 〒822-0133 Fukuoka-ken, Miyawaka-shi, Wakita507
Tel +81 949-54-0123
Official Homepage Nansuikaku’s HP

*All information above is as of the date that I posted on my blog.

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