Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Shikoku Autumn 2014 四国秋季之旅 - Funaya ふなや

Stayed 20.11.2014 (Thu)
Booked thru' Rakuten.
- Annex Standard Garden View Semi Western Style Room = 55,080 yen (3 pax) + 450 yen (bathing tax, 150 yen/pax) = 55,530 yen

Top left: The beautifully decorated porcelain vase created by Yuki Hayama.
Chose to stay in Dogo Onsen for a night to experience the vibes in one of the oldest hot springs in Japan. However, its prominence and popularity have raised the prices of accommodation correspondingly as well. Finally landed on Funaya when I spotted a promotional price featured on one of the hotel reservation platforms. Funaya traces its origin all the way back to 1627 and has undergone several expansions/refurbishments to arrive at its current modern state. Location wise, it is also one of the hotels closest to the streetcar station (approx 3 minutes walk away) and about the same distance away from Dogo Onsen Honkan (道後温泉本館), the prominent landmark which most visitors would come here for. Overall, my stay in Funaya has been a pleasant one; meeting my expectation in most aspects.


An honour to stay in "blue" - an outcome of Hotel Horizontal Project.
I want this bathroom in my house!
Surrounded by art. Dogo Art Festival was first held in 2014 to commemorate the 120th anniversary of Dogo Onsen Honkan. As part of this festival, both local and foreign renowned artists would come together, get the creative juices flowing and transform various parts of Dogo Onsen into contrasting pieces of art works. An art project titled "Hotel Horizontal" is extended to guest rooms in 9 hotels and Funaya is one of them. Yuki Hayama (有木葉山), a well known local porcelain designer, was tasked to transform a two room space in Funaya and the outcome was stunning. Titled "blue", beautiful traditional gyosomon (fish in seaweed) designs were imprinted on the washi on the sliding doors and ceramic tiles on wall. Was unaware that we have been assigned to this themed room, only upon arrival. When the staff was leading us to our room, she also directed our attention to this exquisite porcelain vase designed by Yuki Hayama and has similar gyosomon patterns on it, placed at the lift lobby. To us, it was an honour to be surrounded by the artistic flair of the creator. The guest room is semi-western style with a small living room, two single beds and a corner laid with tatami mats which can occupy up to two futons. The toilet was surprisingly modern looking and posh for a traditional Japanese inn; definitely one I would like to have in my house. Other facilities in the hotel include a shop selling local souvenirs and a tea lounge, all located in the main building.

Video: Behind the scene to create "blue" in Funaya.

Japanese portion of dinner course.
Western portion of dinner course.
Meals. Both Japanese and western elements were incorporated into dinner. Started off with a glass of ume wine (which made me slightly groggy), followed by a small sashimi platter, a fish head stewed with vegetables in sweet soy sauce, a potage soup, western main course of duck, beef or pork to choose from, a variety of tempura (pumpkin and fish), flavourful rice cooked together with mushroom and lastly ended in western style again with four different desserts accompanied with coffee/tea. I personally felt that the meat dish was very well executed especially for a Japanese inn. Chose the beef as my main course. It was very tender and cooked to the right medium well texture I wanted. On the following morning, we could choose either Japanese or western style breakfast course. Had the western course which compromised of salad, freshly baked bread, delicious and runny omelette with ham, and fruit platter. Overall, meals were quite satisfying on both occasions. 

Breakfast - Japanese and western style to choose from. 
Less crowded hot springs. Was glad with the decision to stay one night in Dogo Onsen. When we arrived at Dogo Onsen Honkan in the evening, it was packed with people and subsequent entry of visitors had to be disallowed. Though we managed to squeeze into this building early next morning, the experience was not particularly memorable as it was hard to enjoy a leisure soak in a rather cramped pool. Funaya has it own communal bathhouses, named Granite or Mikageishi 御影石 and Hinoki 檜), which are separated by gender and utilised the same hot spring source. Most importantly, the less crowded bathhouse never felt so welcoming and stress-free especially after we visited the Dogo Onsen Honkan. A footbath is also hidden in the Japanese style garden located just behind the main building.

Spacious lobby.
A showroom replicating the western style room which Emperor Showa stayed in when he visited Dogo Onsen in 1950.

Funaya ふなや
〒790-0842 愛媛県松山市道後湯之町1-33

How to get there? 
3 minutes walk from Dogo Onsen streetcar station.


Commemorative stamp: 

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