Last of the Iwanoyu at Seni Onsen saga. Phew. Breakfast was served from 7:30-9am, and checkout time was 12pm. We expected another gigantic meal and opted for 9am, as late as possible being still full from dinner the night before.
We both breathed a collective relief when we saw our breakfast, thinking, wow, okay, we can definitely do this!
And then as soon as we sat down, they brought out more food, one after another, until we were looking at this. Did they really expect us to eat all of this at 9am?!?
We were hoping this would be just soup, but it had tofu in it.
The left photo here is soba porridge, a regional specialty of Nagano. It was super filling being soba after all. We took a couple of bites and that was all we could take. So we focused on eating the rest of the stuff and abandoned this porridge, which we felt terrible about.
And of course there was some sweets to accompany the gigantic breakfast.
Anyway, after eating we walked back to our room to pack up, and while hubby checked out I did another walk-around to take photos.
One more shot of the mini waterfall in our room's backyard then down this covered walkway to the front lobby.
Here's looking down from the 2nd level walkway over a fountain, through the ground level walkway towards the lobby with a koi pond (at the upper left).
From the fountain looking back up at the 2nd level walkway. The fountain had a waterfall too. In the right photo, look towards the upper right by the tip of the green branch. See that dark-colored koi? Yeah, this fountain was connected to the koi pond that ran beneath the ground level walkway.
Another mini fountain and yes, it had tiny goldfish in it also! The fountain had chairs and a table for guests, and steps away from them was a cafe that sells some delicious cakes and pastries, or so we were told. I really wanted to try some but we didn't have time :(
Looking towards the cafe, which we didn't even know existed until the staff pointed it out to us!
Standing by the mini fountain with the chairs looking back at the lobby.
Front lobby with koi pond. This was where the hostess sat us down, served us some wagashi and matcha while they checked us in.
After checking out, I decided to do a quick tour behind the ryokan. There was a flight of stairs right behind the mini fountain above, and coming down those stairs the path split. Standing on the stairs I could see a dead-end ahead, so I chose to cross the bridge instead.
On the other side of the bridge, I just followed a foot-path along the Senigawa (Seni River). Just look how lush and green it was!
At right below is a path to the front entrance and parking lot of the ryokan.
So I kept walking, and it felt like I was getting lost on the set of Princess Mononoke. Gorgeous is all I can say. Just look at that bench in front of the mini bamboo grove.
More stair steps up another bamboo grove, but I chose to keep walking still until the path split again. At this point I turned back, because going left would circle me around to the ryokan's parking lot, and I had no idea where going right would take me. We had a bus to catch, the only bus back to Suzaka Station which couldn't miss were we to go home to Tokyo. Next time, I told myself, next time.
I came upon the bridge I crossed earlier but decided to keep past it to the second bridge ahead. And the short walk there treated me to even more pretties.
There's that second bridge I was aiming for.
Crossing this bridge took me to the entrance of the ryokan.
Interior of the front lobby, at left is the porch with the koi pond earlier.
After checking out, I took hubby back to the bamboo grove with the wooden steps. Look at how a bamboo tree shed its old bark and how green the new bark!
Walking around, we found a rest pavilion.
Check out this moss! And some of the surrounding plants and flowers.
Is this a dandelion? But but but...it's purple!!! O.o
Young pine needles. They're cute, aren't they?
We made it back to Tokyo and decided to stop by Kanoko Ginza for an early evening snack. Got a shot of these bluish-periwinkle flowers in the neighborhood.
Souvenirs from Iwanoyu at Seni Onsen and Nagano in general.
This pair of tea cups are presents to ourselves, to remind us of our wonderful 10-years anniversary onsen date. Would we go to Iwanoyu at Seni Onsen again? YES. In a heartbeat.
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