There is absolutely no doubt that this is the creme de la creme of hotel lodging in Nagasaki and debatably the entire region of Japan. Hanzuryo Ryokan is a traditional 5 star establishment located in the Unzen Amakusa National Park, that prides itself of providing a private, nature infused, gourmet inspired, luxury stay for those who wish to experience the full Omotenashi (hospitality) style of Japan as its absolute best.
Every thing about the stay was incredibly special and in some ways nearly perfect in every regard. Not only were the rooms elegant and spacious (which is very rare in Japan) but the attention to detail in every aspect was some thing that one will never forget for the rest of their life. It is indeed a once in a lifetime experience that should go down in everyone's bucket list of things to do in Japan.
There is nothing about the experience that I could fault even if I was trying to! From checkin to checkout, everything was delivered to precision which is what Japanese Hospitality is all about. Trying to maintain 100% perfecting and delivering satisfaction levels that are far and beyond what any service provider could attain from a western standpoint.
If I was to fault anything, it would be the lack of English both from a spoken and written point of view. For myself personally this isn't a problem but I can see where this may be an issue for some people and I would hope that with an increase in western travelers of the next few years, this establishment would be able to make a menu in English to describe in detail exactly what is being eaten and how to use the hot springs without making a faux pas.
As for the cuisine, what can I say, I was probably the greatest single meal of my life! The gourmet experience went on for at least 2 hours with at least 10 courses in total. This is of course what top rate Ryokan's attain to provide in their offerings, a complete Kaiseki (highest level of Japanese dining) experience. Not only was the food absolutely divine but the ladies in kimono's moving gracefully in and out of the scene, as not to disturb the dining experience of the customers, combined with the various plates used for display, made this feel more like a scene from a movie.
Alcohol may accompany the meal if you so wish (not part of the price) and on this occasion our party went for Japanese rice wine. It is felt that Japanese sake is a drink that is well paired with Japanese traditional foods and I must admit I fully believe this to be the case. Beer and wine just doesn't seem to gel with the foods available and I would recommend that sake be chosen if alcohol is desired.
As for the hot springs, there are public but also private options as well. I took advantage of both options but feel that not all western customers would feel comfortable with only a public bathing system. Again, there is nothing I could fault with the overall experience. You will just have to try for yourself to see whether this is the best hotel experience that you could hope for.
Please click on this link to see Hanzuryo on a map:
Please click on the picture below to enlarge:
|Plenty of nature to enjoy|
|Simple but beautiful interiors|
|Public reading room|
|Japanese Gardens at night|
|The food was divine|
|Interior set up|
|Fit for a KING|
|Complimentary drinks after your bath|
|A very happy camper|
Please click on these video's below to see Hanzuryo Ryokan in more detail: