After our visit to Hell Valley, we proceeded down the mountain to our accommodation for the night at the Kojohama Spa Hotel. We chose a Japanese style room with tatami beds which provided a more authentic local experience compared to the western style rooms we are more accustomed to. The only issue with our room was that we could not find the bathroom, even after opening every single door in the room. There was a toilet, a sink, but no bathroom. After going back downstairs to check with the reception, it turned out that the rooms literally DID NOT have bathrooms, and it was expected that the guests would use the onsen facilities, shared with other guests, to shower and bath. Interesting indeed. The only issue being the inconvenience for my wife, who suffers from Cerebral Palsy. Having poorer balance, it would not be easy for her to manage on her own in the shared bath with steps and slippery floors and all.
Thankfully, the hotel staff, after some consideration, offered us a complimentary upgrade to a bigger family-sized room, which had a shower facility inside the room. We were eternally grateful for their kind gesture, a real unexpected blessing indeed!
After settling down in our new room, we proceeded out to a nearby Izakaya restaurant そばの池田 for dinner.
This was a quiet place, where mainly the local people hang out, with hardly any tourists. With no English menu, it was a little difficult to figure out how to order, but the staff were very patient and helpful. With the food pictures that were available and whatever limited Japanese we knew, we made our orders. Man, the food was amazing!
The tempura was the most well prepared we have ever tasted in Japan, fried just right, delicious, crispy but not oily or soggy. The sashimi set was amazingly fresh, and well presented.
All in all it was a wonderful place to have our final dinner of our road trip, before heading back to New Chitose Airport in the morning. The prices, while not cheap, were still reasonable considering the quality of the food provided.
This is one of the greatest advantages of doing a road trip, you have the flexibility and convenience to drive out to find good food!
After dinner, we returned to the hotel, where I had a long soak in the onsen. For the first time for the trip, I tried the outdoor pool. It was an interesting feeling, being completely naked outdoors in the freezing cold. Surprisingly, although the temperature must have been around zero degrees Celsius (it was snowing lightly at that time), it didn’t seem all that cold, perhaps because of the heat emanating from the hot spring. It was certainly a good way to unwind and relax, and I begin to understand why the Japanese love their onsens!
This is part 8 of my Hokkaido Winter Drive blog series, click HERE to read part 9 where I share about the final leg of our road trip as we head back to New Chitose Airport.
- Part 1 – 2017 Hokkaido Winter Drive
- Part 2 – Sapporo to Jozankei
- Part 3 – Jozankei to Otaru
- Part 4 – Otaru City
- Part 5 – Otaru to Niseko
- Part 6 – Niseko to Lake Toya, Noboribetsu
- Part 7 – Jigokudani (Hell Valley)
- Part 8 – Kojohama
- Part 9 – Back to New Chitose Airport
- Part 10 – Concluding Thoughts
My wife and I enjoy having guests over at our place for fellowship over a nice home-cooked meal. If you would like to drop by to try some of my wife’s wonderful cooking and to talk more about travel and life, do drop me a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a dinner date! Everyone welcome!