Stay @ Hotel Kazurabashi
Tokushima, Miyoshi, Nishiiyayamamura Zentoku 33-1 [Google map link]
徳島三好市西祖谷山村善徳33-1 Tel: 0883-87-2171
https://www.kazurabashi.co.jp/ Booking via their website, Hotels.com, JAPANiCAN
I paid ¥39960 for my share of 2 nights there, including drinks during dinner. (There were two of us in a room)
Arrived at 6pm from our visit at Unkai Terrace. We got lost on the way back. We ended up in a residential area, beautiful scenery, but went around in circles. 😂
When we finally reached the hotel front, one of the front desk personnel was waiting for us. He took over my car and parked it for us. 👍🏼👍🏼
Why did I pick a Ryokan? When I did my research on Iya Valley, I noticed a dearth of restaurants and convenience stores, hence I turned to look for Ryokans which provides meals. For our stomach's security.
Hotel Kazurabashi came tops on my list to stay at, and is now one of my favourite ryokans because of the view from their lovely outdoor onsen, warm hospitality, and delicious meals. I’ll explain more about these points.
Their outdoor onsen is gorgeous. It is located high above Hotel Kazurabashi. Guests access it via a 2minute cable car. From the bath pools, you can enjoy unobstructed views of the mountains, dressed in all shades of red, yellow, orange and green.
Our dinner course is hearty and generous. The quality of the chopsticks used is exquisite. The tip has a good grip. Great for stuffing food into my face!
There is a number of local elements in the meal. Ayu 鮎 and Amego あめご are locally caught in the clear clean streams of the valley. They are often skewered, and slowly grilled in an Irori 囲炉裏. The slow cooking process tenderises the meat. You can find these at diners near the sights.
The other skewer, which looks like it has a doll's head, is called 'Decomawashi' でこまわし, which means 'a spinning wooden doll' in Tokushima dialect. A ball of mashed soba, a cube of tofu, and an odd-shaped piece of konnyaku are smothered with a paste of home-blended miso (the proportions of the mix of miso is dependent on the chef), then slowly grilled by the charcoal fire.
Iya Valley has its own version soba, made from buckwheat grown in the region. The soba noodle strands are short and thick. Our bowl came warm. Wonderful for the chilly evening.
I really appreciated that they didn't pressure us to quickly finish our dinner, although we were the last seating. After we ate, we sat for a while, feeling bloated (perhaps slightly drunk) and satisfied. All this while, the staff fussed around with tidying up the dining hall.
In the evenings, after dinner, Hotel Kazurabashi arranges a bus ride for guests who are interested to visit the Kazurabashi after night fall. It looks so different compared to day-time.
Breakfast is a huge spread, which is great! That got us pumped so that we could see lots, and push lunch til late.