Perched perfectly above the banks of Kurobe River, hot spring hotel Enraku captures the sound of bubbling waters below. The beauty of the surrounding forested ravine has been on the menu of this longstanding ryokan for decades. Enraku has welcomed famous artists and writers through the years, and some of their gifted works still hang on the walls.
Take a Breath
All of the rooms at Enraku come with a view facing Kurobe Gorge. Slip into the ryokan’s yukata, pour yourself some green tea and gaze at the brilliant blue below.
The hot spring waters of Unazuki Onsen, where Enraku is located, are said to be one of the clearest in Japan. Here, you can soak in several different baths, all of them also overlooking the gorge. The fragrant open-air bath Hana is made from 400-year-old cypress and constructed by master shrine carpenters, while the stone bath Kotone borrows inspiration from the craggy rocks of Kurobe Gorge. Offering cozy misty comfort, there are two more spacious indoor baths in the form of communal male and female baths.
Alternatively, you can stay in a room with an ensuite open-air bath for a more private experience.
Take a Bite
Enraku’s charms were never reliant on natural beauty alone. Founded by chef Takejiro Hamada, the ryokan’s mouthwatering cuisine has even enticed members of the Imperial family to visit. To this day, the chef’s sensibilities and love of traditional Japanese haute cuisine have been passed down in Enraku. The ryokan uses seasonal, fresh and local ingredients, from Toyama-only white shrimp to the prized Hokuriku nodoguro fish. Its situation in the gorge and proximity to Kurobe Port ensures easy access to a great array of tasty produce and fresh seafood. The multi-course kaiseki dinner and sake, as well as the hearty complex Japanese breakfast, are served in the room, reflecting a longstanding Japanese hospitality tradition.
Take in the Beauty
Enraku’s interior is imbued with beauty in every detail. Japanese sensibilities are obvious even at the coffee lounge, which combines the pristine waters of the Northern Japanese Alps with quality Brazilian coffee beans.
While at Enraku, observe the gallery with works of famous Japanese artists such as Kawai Gyokudo, Kazumasa Nakagawa, Nanpu Katayama, Hoan Kosugi, Koun Takamura and Taikan Yokoyama. There are plans for another gallery to open in January 2023, where visitors can both view and purchase artworks. There is also a souvenir shop, so whether it’s the chef’s signature sauce or local craft beer, you can make some of your memories tangible and take them home with you.
347-1 Unazuki Onsen, Kurobe City, Toyama Prefecture