Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Kyushu Spring 2014 九州春季之旅 - Tsukimisho 旅館月見荘

Stayed 25.03.2014
Reserved thru' email.
- Half board (dinner & breakfast), twin sharing Japanese style room: 14,850 yen/person

View of Tsukimisho from Saraku.
Spent some time searching for a hotel/ryokan in Ibusuki and decided to go with Tsukimisho, a family operated ryokan located just opposite Saraku, the public sand bath facility. Most of the accommodation here are located near the coastal area, about 20 - 30 minutes walk away from Ibusuki JR Station. Wanted to avoid large scale hotels which are normally crowded with tour groups such as Shusuien (秀水園) and Ginsyou (吟松), yet stay close to Saraku, and Tsukimiso fulfilled both criteria aptly.

Hospitality. Tsukimisho is a small scale, half century old (founded in 1957) ryokan operated by a family. Currently the business is managed by the third generation. With only seven rooms available, do make sure room reservation is arranged as early as possible especially during peak holiday seasons. Sent my enquires and reservations through email and the owner was prompt in reply. Upon request, he also helped to arrange a sightseeing taxi for us to visit several attractions in Ibusuki. Majority of the staffs here are not proficient in English, but they are patient in their explanation, coupled with hand gestures and always seen to be full of smiles and energy. Met the family - the owner's parents, his wife and adorable children on the next morning, who greeted us warmly and gathered the reassurance that our stay had been pleasant so far. Tsukimisho also provides shuttle service to/from Ibusuki JR Station - just need to inform them beforehand to enjoy this complimentary service (service is available after 3 pm, departing from Ibusuki JR Station and before 10 am, departing from the ryokan). 

Facilities. During our 3 hours long sightseeing journey in Ibusuki, our driver stopped by a coastal road and explained to us that several of laydown pipings seen here were used to transfer hot spring waters from the source to hotels/ryokans in Ibusuki, including Tsukimisho. Frankly speaking, hot spring facilities in Tsukimiso is not at its best. There are two communal public bathroom, separated by gender, each having an indoor and an outdoor section. The outdoor pool is actually a sheltered extension of the main building to the road and is totally covered, therefore you won't get to see the nearby beach despite the close proximity. Room was typical Japanese style with tatami mats. As this ryokan is only two storey tall and is separated from the nearby coastal area by Saraku, we could not get enjoy a sea view from the rooms.

Food. A good spread of food was served during dinner, and this included some dishes which I have not eaten before. Like their signature pork spare ribs which were stewed in shochu, brown sugar and miso - well-caramelized on the outside, tender and moist in the inside. Had my first taste of banded blue sprat sashimi (きびなご) as well; though it looked slimy, the sashimi was fresh without any tint of fishy smell. Other dishes served include an appetizer platter, chicken tataki, sashimi, tempura, kurobuta (black pig) hot pot, etc. Breakfast was much simpler - rice accompanied with salad, pickled vegetables, soft boiled egg, meat balls, grilled fish and miso soup.


Tsukimisho 旅館月見荘
891-0406 鹿児島県指宿市湯の浜5-24-8天然砂むし温泉「砂楽」前

How to get there?
(1) By taxi. Approx 4 mins from Ibusuki JR Station.
(2) By foot. Approx 25 mins from Ibusuki JR Station.

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