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My Stay in Nakatsugawa: Ryokan, Food, and Nightlife
I recently had the opportunity to spend a night in historic Nakatsugawa. And it was among the most satisfying nights I’ve have in recent memory. I had the opportunity to meet some truly kind and interesting people. During my time in Nakatsugawa, I had my first experience of staying at a traditional Japanese Ryokan. I was able to have dinner in the area, as well as explore the area after dark. As interesting as Nakatsugawa is during the day, it really comes to life at night. Many of the locals, make their way to the numerous restaurants, izakayas and bars surrounding JR Nakatsugawa Station. If you are fortunate enough to stay the night in Nakatsugawa, then experiencing the local nightlife is a must.
The unparalleled Service of Tamayoshiya Ryokan
My accommodation for the night was at a local ryokan, which coincidentally happened to be my first time staying at a ryokan. For those of you who do not know, a ryokan is a traditional Japanese inn. Ryokan have existed for centuries in Japan, with the first ones appearing as far back the 8th century. Japanese ryokan are synonyms with both outstanding service and delicious food, and Tamayoshiya Ryokan satisfies that expectation.
Tamayoshiya Superb Service and a Friendly Host
I have been fortunate enough to stay at some pretty nice hotels in my life but have never experienced the level of customer service that I was lucky enough to experience at Tamayoshiya. From the moment I walked into the building it was obvious that Tamyoshiya was no ordinary hotel. My hosts were waiting to greet me with a smile and offered to take my bags up to my room. Although my host did not speak any English, it was obvious to me that she cared a lot about my stay. And she did everything possible to make sure I was comfortable.
Tamayoshiya Ryokan: The Room
Upon entering the room I noticed that my host had warmed the room to a very comfortable temperature, something I really appreciated because it was a very cold winter day. As I filled out the necessary documents, my host sat down at the table and prepared a cup of tea for me. All the while she smiled and attempted to communicate with me in a mix of verbal and not verbal language. Later that night, when I returned from having dinner, she greeted me at the entrance and informed me that my bath was ready and waiting for me upstairs. The hosts are masters of customer service, but provided it in a way that was not intrusive. When I returned to my room for the night, I found that a warmer had been placed under my bed, my hot water had been refilled, and the room had once again been heated to a comfortable temperature.
Tamayoshiya Ryokan: The Food
The following morning at 7:30, breakfast was prepared for me (my host had asked what time I would like to have breakfast the previous night). I was served an assortment of traditional Japanese food and it was absolutely delicious. In addition, it was also very nicely prepared and seemed as though thought had been put into the placement of every item.
Nakatsugawa Nightlife: Uotami
While definitely not the most aesthetically traditional looking izakaya in Nakatsugawa, I was very satisfied with what Uotami had to offer. It’s immediately visible upon exiting JR Nakatsugawa Station. However, one detail that does make Uotami stand out is its accessibility for tourists. The staff were all very friendly, and although they did not speak English the restaurant menu (a touch-screen tablet) was in English. The food was very good, and as someone who doesn’t speak Japanese, I welcomed the innovative ordering system. If however, you are interested in more of a local feel then look no further than the izakaya that is next on my list!
Nakatsugawa Nightlife: Dodonpa
The next izakaya I stopped at was Dodonpa, a small but lively izakaya a short distance from the station. If you’d like to eat and drink with the locals then this is the place to be, though it may take a bit more enthusiasm as the menus are entirely in Japanese, and workers do not speak English. However, the owner and the employees are more than willing to communicate in other ways. A very entertaining display unfolded when then owner tried to explain the menu using gestures. For example, he did a kind of chicken dance and gestured “wings” to indicate that a specific menu item was “chicken wings”!!
Locations Mentioned in this Article:
E-brochure | STAYING IN NAKATSUGAWA