Sunday, November 15, 2009

Japan - An 800 Year-Old Onsen: Araya Totoan

Our Japan tour included two nights at Araya Totoan, an elegant onsen (hot spring) near Kaga, about a half hour from Kanazawa. The family that owns this place has been in business on the same spot for 800 years (I was very impressed until we found out that the neighboring onsen has been in the same family for 1200 years - 50 generations!). The famous ceramic artist Rosanjin Kitaoji (1883-1959) lived nearby and was a friend of the house; as a result, the place is replete with Rosanjin ceramics and paintings, which are on view for guests.

A great onsen needs to have excellent common baths - generally separate men's and women's indoor and outdoor baths, and Araya Totoan does. But it must also have delicious and beautifully presented food, both for dinner and especially for breakfast. Judge for yourself.


Bobby Jay

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