Thursday, March 29, 2018

Chugoku Sanyo, San-in 中国地方山陽、山陰 - Mansuirou 万翠楼

Stayed 19.04.2015 (1 night)
Reserved thru' Jalan.net.
3 pax/room with half board = 47,430 yen; inclusive of 150 yen/pax (bathing tax)

Mansuirou, seen from Misasa Bridge. 
Radioactive waters. Misasa Onsen is situated in Tottori Prefecture and was discovered almost 800 years ago. A small town hidden in the suburbs, it takes approximately 25 minutes by bus to reach Misasa-cho from Kurayoshi JR Station. What is unique about the hot spring waters here is it contains high level of radon. Radon (or represented by Rn in the Periodic Table) is actually produced by the decay of a naturally occurring radioactive element called radium (Ra). There has been some controversies/debates with regards to the health effects arising from radon inhalation. Radon gas is scientifically known as a hazardous gas which can lead to lung cancer from long term exposure. Having said that, radon level in hot spring waters when it reaches consumers is considerably lower than the source and the effective dosage may eventually be the same as background radiation. Historically, mankind has used radon therapy (i.e. soaking in radon containing hot spring waters) to treat illnesses. Tiny amounts of radon inhaled is said to have radiation hormesis effect, by"stimulating and increasing the activity of the body’s cells, resulting in the activation of our metabolism", thereby improving "the immune system and natural healing ability". 
Read more about Misasa Onsen here: http://spa-misasa.jp/eng/radium/

View from our room!
Facilities and room. Mansuirou is mid scale hotel with 44 rooms and strategically located at the end of Misasa Bridge (三朝橋) and the infamous public outdoor hot spring bath - Kawaburo (河原風呂), constructed in the open river. Front desk and lounge are located on the second level. The lounge is pretty spacious and grand looking, with wide glass panels overlooking a landscaped Japanese style garden. The lounge also offers drinks and snacks to guests (at a fee) during stipulated operating hours. There is a shop located on the same floor, where guests can purchase local/regional souvenirs and specialties anytime before checking out of the hotel. As for the room, we were extremely delighted to be given a wide one with 12.5 tatami mats, which has more than adequate room space to fit three futons. The balcony became one of my favourite corners in the room because a panoramic view of the tranquil town can be seen clearly from here. In fact, the location was what I like most about Mansuirou - very scenic view could be seen from the room and only separated from the local streets by a river. 

Top right: lounge; Bottom right: Shop; Bottom left: Rest area after soaking in hot spring.

Bottom left: Tottori Prefecture's crab senbei placed in our room.
Radon onsen. The communal bathhouses, named Oyakushisama no yu お薬師さまの湯, are beautifully constructed and spacious. There are two bathhouses, each dedicated to a gender, and are swapped for the opposite gender to utilise on the next day. Each bathhouse has both indoor and outdoor pools. Guests get to soak in radon containing waters, which is exclusive to Misasa Onsen, and piped all the way from the source. The hot spring waters are classified as sodium chloride, sodium hydrogen carbonate and simple type, and has proven to have beneficial effects in alleviating illnesses such as bronchitis, emphysema, arthritis, lower back pain, etc. 

Top right: Assorted tempura; Bottom right: Seafood cooked on hot stone; Top left: Sashimi platter of the day; Bottom left: Appetiser.

Top: Hataka oshi style layered cabbage and tomato, grilled rainbow trout and dessert. Bottom: Beef sukiyaki and dinning area.  
Meals. Enjoyed a sumptuous and delicious kaiseki or multi course Japanese dinner in their private dining rooms. Started the course with a small glass of nashi (or pear) wine to warm the body and aesthetically plated appetiser dish. For tsukuri (sashimi), it was a fresh seafood platter comprised of salmon, tuna, squid, sea bream, sweet shrimp and shell fish. We were surprised to see the next dish served was also raw seafood (Japanese tiger prawn and squid) but only enlightened after the staff placed a hot stone on our table, which we were supposed to cook the seafood on. This was my first time employing this method of cooking for seafood instead of meat. Different from meat which contains oil, the seafood got stuck on the surface of the hot stone while cooking. Therefore, we had to peel and flip the seafood to the other side constantly to prevent them from getting burnt.
Tempura was amazing and we were particularly elated to see a crab leg served together with seasonal vegetables. For yakimono (grilled food), we each had a rainbow trout harvested from nearby Mitoku (三徳); loved particularly the crispy and lightly salt rubbed skin, which enhanced the sweetness of the meat when eaten together. Next was sukiyaki with thinly sliced, slightly marbled beef. Layered cabbage and tomato pressed together like sushi, known as Hakata-oshi style (博多押し), was something special on the menu. Dessert was yellow grapefuit jelly and this finally wrapped up the 11 course kaiseki dinner.

Breakfast.
Breakfast was less extravagant than dinner. A slice of grilled dried fish and kombu, tofu soup, a few slices of sashimi and various salads were served for breakfast. Overall, I was quite satisfied by both meals served by Manisurou. 

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Mansuirou 万翠楼
〒682-0122 鳥取県東伯郡三朝町山田5

How to get there? 

(1) Utilise the complimentary pick up service.
An act of hospitality demonstrated by many hotels/ryokans, Mansuirou provides both pick up and return bus services from and to Kurayoshi JR Station. Please inform the staff (at the point of room reservation or via email) beforehand if you intend to utilise this complimentary service (state the time you would like to be pick up from the train station).
Email: info@mansuirou.co.jp

(2) Hinomaru bus (日の丸バス) via Misasa line (三朝線), from Kurayoshi JR Station (倉吉駅).
There are regular bus services (hourly) commuting between Kurayoshi JR Station and Misasa Onsen. Board the bus from the train station and alight at Misasa Onsen Kanko Shoko Center Mae (in front of Misasa Onsen Tourist Information Center; 三朝温泉観光商工センター前). Bus journey is about 25 mins; fare = 470 yen. Takes another 5 mins to travel by foot from the bus stop to Mansuirou via Misasabashi (三朝橋).
Bus schedule
- Weekdays: http://www.hinomarubus.co.jp/kousoku_rosen/pdf/jikokuhyo/k-004.pdf
- Weekends: http://www.hinomarubus.co.jp/kousoku_rosen/pdf/jikokuhyo/k-104.pdf

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