Japan is a world-class hot spring country. In addition to the so-called “three great hot springs” of Kusatsu, Gero, and Arima, there are also Shirahama, Atami, and Beppu… In the book section of convenience stores, there are always magazines that feature famous hot springs that can be taken as day trips from Tokyo or Kansai, inexpensive bus tours, popular hot spring hotels with open-air baths and spectacular views, etc. You can find a lineup of magazines that feature hot springs…
Recommended onsen ryokan that do not appear in magazine rankings…the appeal of a solo onsen trip that I learned from staying at one.
In this article, we will introduce some recommended luxury onsen ryokan that probably will not appear in such magazine rankings. They are quiet and relaxing, the food is delicious, and the service is excellent. Why doesn’t such an onsen ryokan appear in the ranking? It is because those ryokan are not in Japan.
What was good about traveling alone to an onsen ryokan? I would say…
That luxury hot spring ryokan is the “Radium Kagaya Taipei” in Beitou Hot Springs, located in the suburbs of Taiwan. Originally famous as a hot spring resort in Taiwan, Wakura Onsen Kagaya, one of Japan’s most famous ryokan, moved into Beitou Onsen and built a Japanese-style luxury onsen ryokan.
This time, by some chance, I decided to stay one night at this luxury ryokan. However, in my own image, I had never thought of staying at an onsen ryokan alone. I was worried that other guests and staff would look at me with curiosity if I stayed alone.
But after actually experiencing the ryokan, that thought changed drastically. The one-person onsen ryokan is wonderful. It’s a real luxury. It costs a bit of money, but I would definitely do it again! I really want to do it again. What was so great about it? I mean…
Advantage 1: You can take a nap in a Japanese-style room with the scent of well grass.
As I entered the room on the ninth floor overlooking Beitou Park from above, the nostalgic scent of tatami mats filled my nose.
I took a break at the sunken kotatsu in the middle of the room. Then, a waitress greeted me with a hand towel and powdered green tea. She spoke fluent Japanese, just like in a Japanese onsen ryokan. It seems that at Radium Kagaya Taipei, all the staff involved in customer service can speak Japanese. So it is no problem at all if you do not speak Chinese or English.
It is time for a short rest before dinner. You can take a walk in Beitou Park or take a bath in the hot spring. But I also recommend you to lie down on the Tatami mats and have a good night’s sleep. It is very quiet, and you can stretch out to your heart’s content without disturbing anyone while feeling the fragrance of the well grass and a slight back ache.
Advantage 2: You can enjoy a sumptuous meal at your own pace.
Have you ever had the experience of being so distracted by conversation that you can’t remember the taste of the food? You were taken to a fancy restaurant as part of an entertainment package, but you were so focused on work that you couldn’t enjoy the food…you remember it after you get home and are disappointed.
Of course, if you travel alone, you will not have such regrets. You can enjoy your meal at a time of your own choosing, without being rushed by anyone, and savor it carefully. This is also an important time that can be considered a luxury in today’s world.
So I made a reservation for dinner at 7:00 p.m. and went to “Tensho” on the third floor. You can enjoy a Kaiseki dinner prepared by the Japanese Executive Chef while looking out the window at Beitou Park, where the streets are sparsely populated. After dinner, you can move to the bar on the second floor and spend the evening chatting with the Japanese bartender, which is also very tasteful.
Advantage 3: You can rent out the large bathroom for free now (maybe).
One of the great attractions of traveling alone is that you can use the hot springs anytime and as many times as you like. Unfortunately, however, the large baths at Nisshengsheng Kagaya cannot be used in the middle of the night. This is probably because the large baths are open during the daytime for day-trip plans, or they are maintained during the midnight hours. If you want to get up early in the morning and take a bath in the large bathhouse, unfortunately you will have to wait until 6 am.
But now, you can expect a big reward for your getting up early and going for a morning bath. Perhaps Taiwanese people do not have the culture of “taking a morning bath in a hot spring”. There is not a single other customer in the large bathhouse. In other words, the large bathhouse is reserved for private use.
If you are lucky, you can use the hot spring, jet bath, and sauna as much as you want in the morning! (Of course, this depends on other guests, so of course we can’t guarantee 100%). I was in the big bath for about an hour until 7 am and not a single other person came in. You might as well come to Taiwan early before the Taiwanese people know how good the morning baths feel.
By the way, if you really want to take a hot spring bath in the middle of the night… Radium Kagaya Taipei also draws hot spring water to its indoor bath (I did not use it…). In most Japanese onsen ryokan, the indoor bath is just plain hot water, but it is nice to be able to soak in the onsen 24 hours a day in the comfort of your own room.
PS: The quality of the hot spring water you can enjoy at Radium Kagaya Taipei is “white sulfur spring,” a mildly acidic sulfur salt spring with a PH value of about 3-4 and a slight sulfur smell. It is said to soften the horny layer of the skin, improve blood circulation, and make the skin glowing, as well as being effective for chronic joint pain, muscle pain, and neuralgia.
The Greatest Attraction of Taiwan Kagaya that You Cannot Get at Japanese Onsen Ryokan
If you have read this far, you are probably thinking, “Why bother to escape Japan and go to Taiwan?” You are probably thinking, “Why not go all the way out of Japan and visit Taiwan? It is true that the original Kagaya is located on the Noto Peninsula, and Taiwan’s Kagaya is, for better or worse, “just like a high-class Japanese onsen ryokan. If you are expecting something unique to Taiwan, it probably will not meet your expectations.
But the real advantage of going out of your way to stay at a Japanese-style onsen ryokan overseas lies elsewhere. It is that you can concentrate on being alone. In other words, you can shut out the noise that might distract you. This actually surprised me myself…
It really clears my head!
If this is an onsen ryokan in Japan, you can hear the entire conversation of the ryokan staff. Even unpleasant information, such as complaints from guests, can be heard. You can watch the usual news or variety shows on TV even at home, and isn’t it a waste of your precious time?
In Taiwan, however, all conversations between staff members and customers are ambient sound. For example, when someone at the table next to you at a restaurant starts talking about “Nozomi Sasaki…”, you don’t have your ears taken away.
So if you want to do something alone and focused… think about personal thoughts, generate ideas for new products or services, or even write a blog (laughs)… Taiwan Kagaya gives you the best environment to do so.
If you are tired from work, you can just fall back and lie down. Or you can put on a yukata and take a stroll around the hotel, or soak in the warm hot springs… Unlike Western-style luxury hotels, the surrounding area is a hot spring resort, so there is no noisy city noise at all. If you get hungry, you can even have a hot spring egg. Surrounded by forests, you will be refreshed by the negative ions. Isn’t this the perfect environment to concentrate on your work alone?
Radium Kagaya Taipei Out of 5
Address：No.236, Guangming Road, Beitou District, Taipei, Taiwan
From Taipei Main Station, take the MRT Danshui Line north and transfer at the Beitou Station to the New Beitou Station. From the New Beitou Station, it is a 5-minute walk to the hotel. For a fee, there is also a pick-up service from the airport, so please contact the inn directly if necessary.
P.S. While in Taipei, how about some rich beef noodle soup?