Yumesaki-cho Maenosho 187, Himeji, Hyogo, Japan
"Great traditional-style Japanese hotel, with baths and multi-course meal. You get there fairly easily, either by a free shuttle, or by bus, though it doesn't come so often. Check the schedule with the tourist info center. The front desk staff don’t speak any English, but we were able to just tell them our names and get the key. After we got to the room we changed into yukata, a traditional but casual robe worn around ryokan. Normally, at this point you’d then head to the baths for a relaxing soak … but, unfortunately, we arrived at 6, so we had to go straight to dinner. Dinner was excellent. Many, many courses seated in our own private room. We were served very high-quality sashimi, tempura, yakiniku beef, and crab nabe (a traditional soup you cook right at the table), among other things. The chefs designed the course according to seasonally available foods. After living in Japan for almost 4 years, this was still one of the best Japanese meals I’ve ever had. If you’re still hungry at the end (I still eat American-sized portions!), make sure to ask for more rice by saying “go han, ku da sa i”. We opted for the room with the private outdoor bath. It adds on about 15000-20000 yen to the price, but if you can afford to splurge, you won’t regret it. We looked out on the night sky in the middle of winter and enjoyed the fresh air. The view could be a little better (probably nicer in the late spring, when the many rice fields in front of the hotel are growing) but it was still really memorable. Aside from the bath, the room itself offered a comfortable sitting room with reclining chairs and floor-to-ceiling windows, a nice place to watch a sunrise. The main living room was a traditional Japanese tatami room, nothing too special. The beds were quite comfortable, though the pillows are the bead-style ones that some Westerners don’t like. In the morning, we had a great buffet with both Japanese and Western food. There had to have been at least 30 or more options, and none of it was overcooked or rushed like you see in some buffets. Note that you can still wear your yukata at breakfast but if you do, you’ll be part of a small minority. Make sure to get up early, too. I think the breakfast service ends at 9:30 or so. Checkout is unfortunately a bit early at 10. Would have loved to get a bath in before leaving. Asked about late check out but it’s an additional 5000 and you can only stay until noon. So we just got the free shuttle at around 10. It can drop you at Mt. Shosha (highly recommended) or Himeji Castle on the way, but we just went back to the station. All in all, a great stay! It’s a little tricky to navigate with minimal Japanese, but if you’re feeling adventurous and want to have an authentic Japanese experience, you won’t be disappointed."
"There are quite a few onsen hotels in the area but I found Yumenoi a very nice hotel in the area. It is located up on the low hill over looking some beautiful farm lands. There are ample parking in front of the hotel. The lobby has a high ceiling, relatively big and nice lighting. Staff speak limited English, but are trying very hard to explain to you the detail, in Japanese. The hotel gave us JPY 500 each person to spend on the store. My room is a nice sized Japanese room overlooking the pool and restaurant. But the room has a trap that you may hit your head above the TV and telephone where it is tucked in. Our dinner is served in the restaurant. The dinner is a sumptuous meal with beef and lobster, and other dishes which is of very high quality. After the meal, we wandered around the lobby where there is popsicle available for free to guests. A nice sitting area next to the lobby and a Hi-Fi playing soft music, overlooking the garden. There are two bath areas. A main bath and a "starry bath" as it is called. The starry bath is actually lights on the bottom of the bath and is open air, so you can look to the star over your head and on the bottom, that is what I guess it means. Breakfast is also served in the restaurant, but closed rather early at 8:50am. There are quite many different local specialties, including eel rice, almond toast, and curry. The hotel room itself is a bit dated, but overall it is a good hotel to stay."