Built by local artisans from traditional cedar and zelkova wood, the Hanaougi Bettei Iiyama is full of Japanese charm. In genuine Gassho-style, the ryokan has a steeply sloped roof, important in mountainous areas to allow the snow to easily slide off.
The warmly lit and welcoming lobby is crafted from natural timber, constructed without the use of nails, by experienced craftsmen using a huge keyaki tree. This is a lovely spot to relax and ponder the nishikigoi (koi carp) in the pond of the courtyard garden, or to enjoy a post-dinner drink around the cosy fireplace. In keeping with Japanese hospitality, guests are looked after by the same serving lady for the duration of their stay.
The 17 rooms are furnished in Japanese-style, with tatami mat woven floors, washi paper sliding doors and low wooden tables. The futon beds have been given a luxurious and Western upgrade and instead of the roll out mattresses found in other ryokan, these include deep and comfortable mattresses resting on low frames. Some rooms include a private terrace with an open-air onsen overlooking the verdant garden. There is also the option to choose a larger two-storey maisonette room.
A highlight of the property is the quality of the food and the chance to experience kaiseki dining. Using premium local ingredients including Hida beef, sweet river fish, wild vegetables, and mushrooms, these dinners can include up to 15 courses, prepared on an open hearth and served in a private dining room.
Along with the superb cuisine, another highlight is the natural spring water, drawn from deep below ground. The water is believed to have restorative and smoothing effects on the skin, with qualities and benefits akin to a premium beauty serum. There is a communal hot spring bath for those without a private onsen and exclusive rentals are available for two to three guests. After bathing, female guests can choose from an extensive range of beautiful yukata robes, ideal for relaxing in.