Bettei Senjuan is simply the best accommodation in the Minakami area, a superb Relais & Chateau member onsen retreat in a glorious forest park setting above the Tanigawa river. You look straight up the river valley to Mt Tanigawa’s impressive alpine peak.
From the stunning architecture to the service to the cuisine, never mind the rooms – there are just 18 of those, all with private indoor/outdoor onsen baths – Senjuan defines getting away from it all.
We visited in winter, and with snow all round it is very beautiful. But we couldn’t help wondering how gorgeous it must be in other seasons as the colours change in the surrounding forest.
The forest guest house, a short walk away, has a fireplace, library and coffee lounge.
Attention to artistic detail is everywhere, even in the lifts. Harmonising nature into the structure, pools reflect the views at every turn. A panoramic vaulted glass corridor links the accommodation areas to the restaurant. Art work by Nobuko Kawahara is painted on the wall of the corridor, approximately 40m long, depicting the passage of the four seasons in space and time.
Seasonal menus reflect local produce and specialties. Breakfasts offer a choice of western or Japanese. Both equally delicious.
Apart from the alkaline waters, in either your in-room private or the public indoor and open baths, which are effective for soothing neuralgia, muscular and joint pain, a variety of spa treatments are available.
Minakami’s best skiing is just up the road, but get settled in at Senjuan and you may not actually want to go anywhere. This place is special, the experience highly recommended.
Obviously it’s not cheap, but for couples it’s worth blowing your budget for a night or two here. Second (or first) honeymoon anyone?
If you are doing that, it actually makes an ideal last night or last couple of nights option – firstly because anywhere else you stay will likely pale by comparison, and secondly because it’s so easy to get back to Tokyo and either airport that you can linger on your last day till mid-afternoon for evening flights out.
Managing Director Hidehiro Kubo and his attentive staff can’t do enough to please you.
Getting to Bettei Senjuan
Quickest way to Bettai Senjuan is on the Joetsu shinkansen to Jomo-kogen, in as little as 66 minutes from Tokyo, then a 30 minute taxi ride to the hotel from the station.
Or it’s less than 10 minutes from Minakami JR Station, with hotel pick up or taxi.
Driving the hotel is 15 minutes drive from the Minakami IC on the Kan-etsu Expressway, with Tokyo – Minakami interchange taking 90 minutes in good conditions.
Bettei Senjuan rates and bookings
Rates ¥39,138 – ¥73,330 per person depending on the package.
For bookings go to Bettei Senjuan’s Relais & Chateaux booking page
Bettei Senjuan area info
For Minakami area tourist information check www.enjoy-minakami.com/en
To keep up with Gunman prefecture check out their great english facebook page here https://www.facebook.com/visitgunma.En/ – you might see a few @SnowAction videos there!