Part of the Itoen Hotels Group, the ryokan-hotel Hekizantei is a wonderful choice for visitors to Dake Onsen in Fukushima Prefecture. The hotel boasts lovely indoor and outdoor hot spring baths containing water that is rather acidic and is touted as being a good treatment for skin problems. Although not much English is spoken, the staff is extremely friendly and welcoming to non-Japanese.
With a total of 45 rooms - 38 Japanese, 3 Western, and 4 'special' - Hekizantei has the amenities of a large hotel, without a significant number of guests per night. Meals are served in a Western-style dining room - dinner is usually half-buffet; breakfast is a full buffet. The food is tasty and many local, seasonal delicacies can be enjoyed. The wide selection is popular with children and picky eaters. Contact the hotel in advance if you have special dietary requirements and they will do their best to accommodate you.
Hekizantei has a comfortable 'woody' lounge with large picture windows overlooking green space just outside. Most (or all) of the rooms have an excellent view of the 'mirror pond', Kagamigaike, and visitors can enjoy strolling around it during the day. There are also some short hiking trails in the forest behind the hotel, with one leading to an observatory and another to a small, hidden shrine. Inside the hotel, visitors can also enjoy singing karaoke, playing ping pong or mahjong, and/or shopping in the hotel's souvenir shop.
Rates are very reasonable, starting as low as ¥8000, with two meals, if you book well in advance of your visit. There are even lower rates for groups that book in advance during the off season or if you prefer not to include dinner. Although if you are arriving late, be aware that there may not be anywhere else in town to eat dinner if you do not dine at the hotel.
Hekizantei sits in a great location for travelers visiting the ruins of Nihonmatsu Castle and the beautiful mountain areas of central Fukushima. Dake Onsen is especially beautiful in autumn and during cherry blossom season. Although small, the town contains a nice shrine and some small shops & cafes.
Dake Onsen, and the hotel itself, can easily be reached by car or by public bus. From Tokyo, the best way to see the area is to travel by shinkansen to Koriyama Station and have a rental car waiting.
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