Lamp No Yado Aoni Onsen: Relax Off-the-Grid Style
Electricity, the Internet, and phones have made our daily lives very convenient, but sometimes it’s refreshing to take a break from our modern lifestyle. So, for those who want to be under the radar and experience the countryside then head over to Aomori’s Lamp no Yado Aoni Onsen.
Established in 1929, this Japanese traditional inn (or ryokan) is nestled up in the lush mountain stream of Kuroishi City, therefore making phone receptions impossible to get. On top of that, this place has no Internet nor electricity. But you don’t need to be scared at night because Lamp no Yado Aoni Onsen uses around 160 oil lamps (when it’s fully booked) to brighten up its surrounding.
The golden light emitted by the lamps creates a dreamlike atmosphere especially when you explore the outdoors, distracting you from using too much technology. Moreover, the ryokan’s rustic wooden structure and furniture that seemed to have endured the test of time, the grassy-scent from the tatami mats, and the sound of the rustling leaves and flowing water of the mountain creates a cozy atmosphere, making you appreciate the simple life in the countryside.
4 Hot Spring Baths!
Despite not having the usual amenities and entertainment of your typical hotel, Lamp no Yado Aoni Onsen has four hot spring baths (or onsens).
First is a gender-separated indoor bath called Kenroku-no-yu. The next one is Roten-buro (also known as an open-air bath in English) which is mixed-gender. However, don’t worry ladies because from 11:00 am- 12:00 pm and 5:00 pm- 6:00 pm this slot is for you. The third is also an indoor hot spring namely Honkan-uchiyu where you can see a big waterfall. And last but not least is the indoor bath Takimino-Yu that is made out of Hiba Wood. This wood has a fragrant scent and a part of the cypress tree family that is endemic to Aomori Prefecture.
Lamp no Yado is more than just an Onsen
Aside from hot springs, Lamp No Yado also has a shop with a wide selection of souvenirs! It sells books, sweets, snacks, sake (Japanese alcohol), toys, and many more! So, for those who’ve forgotten or no time to buy gifts for their love ones, this onsen got you covered.
In addition, this ryokan also has a traditional Japanese fireplace where its guests can rest and mingle with other guests. This makes you feel how the globetrotters of the distant past take a break from their long journey and make friends along the way.
Things to Remember
Although Lamp no Yado states on its website that they don’t have shampoo and conditioner, it does. They even have body soap.Nonetheless, bring your own just to make sure, better safe than sorry.
When it comes to payment, it’s cash only. For those who prefer to use a credit card, you can pay in advance through the booking service you prefer.
Lastly, keep in mind that this place is isolated and there’s no signal nor electricity. Therefore, bring or buy the things (eg. medicine, extra batteries for your camera, etc.) you need before heading here.
NOTE: When my husband and I went here, my husband brought his book and I brought my tablet so I could draw. We knew we were going to arrive early, hence we wanted to be a bit productive while waiting for dinner. We didn’t want to go directly to the hot spring once we arrived. Both of us wanted to go late at night to avoid the crowd. It’s more relaxing that way.
In addition, this ryokan is in the mountains, hence you might encounter some bugs both inside and outside. There are bug sprays in the hallway and rooms. So, whenever you see a bug, you can just spray them or put them back outside.
Best Time to Visit Lamp no Yado
Any season is good!
During spring, you can enjoy the vibrant colors of greeneries and flowers. Then in summer, fireflies start to fly around, creating nature’s very own illumination (light displays) show. In autumn, the leaves change their color to amber and it’s a great place to experience Koyo (autumn foliage) in Japan.
Meanwhile, winter is (of course) the coldest season, making it the perfect time to take a dip in a hot spring bath. However, Aomori is one of Japan’s snowiest prefectures, so the steep and narrow road leading to the ryokan is going to be covered with snow. For those planning to go here by car during this season, you need to leave it in the Nijinoko parking area and then catch Lamp no Yado Aoni Onsen’s private bus at the Nijinoko-kouen bus stop.
NOTE: We visited this place during autumn. Even though some of the leaves have withered, Lamp No Yado still had a wonderful view. I highly suggest checking the Autumn forecast, for those who are planning this place during that period. Just keep it in mind that trees on the mountains change much faster than the ones in the lower area.
Per night, it can be around 11,000 to 14,000 yen per person and dinner and breakfast are included. Lamp no Yado Aoni Onsen serves a Japanese traditional meal. This includes fresh and pickled vegetables, warm soup, and usually grilled fish.
NOTE: Although the food in here is very simple, it taste like a home-cooked meal. It makes you feel like you’re visiting your grandma’s home at the province and she prepared food especially for you.
How to go Here
The most convenient way to go here is by car and there’s free parking.
For those who prefer to use public transportation, the closest train station from Lamp no Yado Aoni Onsen is Kuroishi Station. Those who are coming from Shin-Aomori or Aomori Station, you need to go to Hirosaki station first and then transfer to a train that is bound for Kuroishi.
From there, take a bus that goes to Nijinoko-kouen bus stop and once you arrived at Nijinoko-kouen, you can then wait there for Lamp no Yado Aoni Onsen’s private bus to come.
For more details, please visit their website https://www.aoninet.com/ (it’s both in English and Japanese)
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