There is something that Ms Buddha and I both very much enjoy when traveling to Japan, and that is stay at Onsen Ryokans, these are normally inns which include dinner, bed and breakfast and the price range can be very large between low to high ranged ones.
After our experience at Takinoya, it was we were keen to try another higher end Ryokan to see how different the facilities can be in terms of quality, and Seikai (潮騒の宿 晴海) in Beppu did not disappoint.
Seikai is located nice to the main road in Beppu facing the ocean and to get there you need to be traveling South, otherwise, you need to tour around as the road is actually quite busy.
Once you arrive, the staff outside have a guest list so you just tell them that you are checking in and they will tick you off and guide you to park in a spot right in front of the building so that they can grab your bags and guide you in.
After a long drive and tired from walking through Yoshinogari Historical Park, it was very pleasing to see that we were checked in very quickly (although I think the tea was missed though) – and Ms Buddha was taken to a special room where she can choose which yukata (traditional Japanese dress) she wanted.
The staff were incredibly efficient and took us to our rooms almost immediately – one staff in particular was brought to us to converse in English to us – she spoke absolutely impeccable English and confirmed that I’ll be having vegetarian the whole day the next day (more on that later).
I’m a sucker for luxury and gimmicks like a fancy plaque gets to me 🙂
Once inside, we were completely stunned, Ms Buddha was speechless and I was delighted that we had made the right choice. When you entered, first thing that hits you is the view.
Before we went inside to inspect the rest of the room, we did the traditional Japanese thing and changed to our indoor slippers.
Once your footwear is appropriate, we were ready to roam the rest of the room. Firstly, there are two living area, one which is Japanese themed which we actually never took full advantage of but was very nice none the less (we used it for our suitcases).
Outside the Japanese themed area, there was the more western looking living room, which was well equipped with a nice couch that Ms Buddha took full advantage of during our stay by falling asleep several times.
Then closer to the entrance, there was the bedroom, which was simple yet very efficient – the beds were incredibly comfy although the room got a bit stuffy midway through the night because the air con was warm and the sheets a little too thick.
Like most properties we’ve been to, the toilet is normally separate from the rest of the bathroom, and this one was no different, with the small bar area outside stocked with water and daily snacks.
Then came the best thing about the room, I know the view was fantastic, but there is something that can improve upon the view, and that is to be able to enjoy the hot spring (onsen) while looking at the view. Most rooms at Seikai had rooms that had their individual hot springs, so the spring water is constantly pumped into the bath, you adjust the temperature by adding cold water to it.
What is great about this private onsen is that because it is open air, you actually don’t get “over heated” like you do in the enclosed ones and you actually get to breath in the fresh cold air from the ocean – definitely something that I did at least twice a day while there!
Because there was the mesh (I am thinking to keep birds out) – the view is slightly obstructed, so for the most unbeatable view, the living room was still the best spot if you don’t want to be too cold.
And if you don’t mind the cold.
Because the balcony is quite big, it is also a fantastic spot to get a panoramic shot of the sea.
In addition to the excellent property itself, at ryokans, you’re normally provided with traditional clothing that you can wear within the property, I tend to not wear them because I enjoy my T-shirt and shorts, but to help you carry your phones, gadgets, wallets, wifi, etc. Seikai provides their guests with bags they can use during their stay.
Service throughout our stay was excellent, and they made sure you’re looked after as well with checking when you wanted breakfast and dinner on a daily basis, they also remember your car if you drive to make sure you get a spot outside the building, I parked in the car park one night but then realise that might have been a little silly since that it was incredibly windy next to the ocean!
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