Bettei Senjyuan – Autumn in Minakami, Gunma Prefecture
Bettei Senjyuan Hotel is the best choice to stay and see autumn leaves close by Tokyo. I have stayed in many luxury hotels in the countryside of Japan before but this is great. Not the mention that it is also a part of Relais & Châteaux.
For the year 2013, I have already started my coverage on autumn leaves in Japan with my trip to Hitachi Seaside Park (click here to see blog) but the leaves in Tokyo are not so vibrant yet so I have decided to go up all the way into the mountains of Gunma Prefecture for some rest and some autumn leaves.
This hotel has been so well designed to fully enjoy the landscape and the nature of Gunma. An autumn here means stunning picturesque views in every corner. The rooms at Bettei Senjuan and the lobby have gigantic glass window for this very purpose. The room also comes with a private outdoor hot spring where you can continue to enjoy the view. But if the private hot spring is a bit too small for you, you can also enjoy the sight of the red autumn leaves at the bigger public onsen hot spring.
To me the view here is like a mysterious fairytale land. It wasn’t raining when I was there but it was very cloudy and the clouds were so low among the mountain ranges. It is like a habitat for some mysterious creature beyond our imagination. If you walk out into the forest, the hotel also has a very cute tiny cabin where you can enjoy some hot beverages with some books next to a fireplace. If you walk a bit further from this cabin, you will reach a stream.
In Japan, the best thing about a trip to a luxurious hotel in the countryside has to be the set course dinner and the dinner at Bettei Senjyuan is magnificent. The ingredients were a combination of local products with a touch of imported delicacies. Examples of the ingredients used are trouts of the area, Hokkaido king crabs, and the seasonal matsutake mushroom. The preparation and the presentation of dinner are impeccable. I usually don’t eat beef but it was included in one of the courses and I just couldn’t resist the smell of it.
I really recommend Bettei Senjyuan. It is not too far from Tokyo only about 2 hours away by train and you can reserve a car from the hotel to pick you up from Minakami station.
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