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Kaneki - An Old Folk Style Inn

Kaneki is a casual family owned old folk style inn with a natural hot spring, it has been modernized,  but the charmming sooty ceilings still retain some remnants of a life with open hearth. Wind blows in and out freely through the shoji-screens. It is well-ventilated, an ideal place for summer relaxation and the hard wood floors are cool and comfortable to walk on.


Acording to the familys written record, the Sawatari Hot Spring, which means water flowing through mountains, was discovered during the Ansei era, Edo period. Four generations ago the family secured rights to the water source and started Kaneki inn. Since the Edo period, Kaneki Inn had a long history of providing rest and relaxation to travellers. The entire area lost everything in a wildfire in 1945. However, the area was rebuilt, and the hot spring has kept flowing ceaselessly, bringing pure mountain water to the area.


Sawatari - a hot springs resort with over 800 years of history     


The kusatsu area is one of the most popular spa resorts in Japan. Sawatari is on the Romantic Road, which was the name of the way to Kusatsu.  So many people who went to Kusatsu for "Tooji," or bathing in hot springs for medicinal cures, used to travel the road and stop by Sawatari on their way back.


The hot springs in neighboring Kusatsu have highly acidity waters, so the hot springs of Sawatari have been well known as "a finishing bath" for those with skin which may be irritated by Kusatsu's water.


The hot springs of Sawatari are mildly alkaline and have very clear water.  It feels soft on your skin and seems to embrace the bather with gentle warmth. It helps make your skin smoother, and soft to the touch.


Times have changed,  and now you can go to Kusatsu directly by "Shinkansen" or bullet train. The road from Kusatsu to Sawatari and to Edo - many people used to walk all the way - was forgotten a long time ago. Sawatari is now off the beaten path to Kusatsu, and though rich in history, only little known.


Here, time goes by as slowly as ever. With over 800 years of history as a hot springs resort, you feel old Japan while looking down the road from the inn at moonlit night.   In former days travellers walked through this area in a race against dusk to reach their lodgings for the night.  You can experience the whispers of this history, as you share what people from  Minamoto-no-yoritomo ( the first shogun of the Kamakura Shogunate of  Japan) to Jippensha-Ikku ( a Japanese writer active during the late Edo period ), once felt as they looked forward to a hot relaxing bath and soft comfortable bed.



A Hot Springs Area with 800 Years of History

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