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Kissho Yamanaka
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Reviews (151)
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Reviewed 7 March 2017

We stayed in a traditional Japanese room for a couple of nights. The tariff includes breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner, so is very reasonable. Service was excellent and the food was great. We tried both Japanese and Western breakfasts and each was carefully prepared and presented. Dinner was a multi-course affair in the two restaurants we tried. There are baths for guests but also three private onsens which you have to book. The town itself is small but worth a wander. The walk by the river is definitely worth doing, very scenic. The hotel has regular pickups and dropoffs to Kagaonsen train station. Definitely worth spending one or two nights here.

Room Tip: Get a room with a river view
  • Stayed: February 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank DTSydney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 January 2017

This ryokan is located in Yamanaka Onsen, Kaga-shi, Ishikawa Prefecture. It was the last ryokan we stayed in the recent Chubu Trip and as a result we had already got a lot of good experience and likewise raising our expectation high when we arrived.

Just beside the beautiful Kakusenkai Ravine, the entrance to the ryokan is certainly impressive, with two big lanterns with the name of the ryokan greeting us. Going straight in there are two large gold lion statues welcoming (or guarding?) in the middle. The overall setting is very grand and impressive.

We were shown to the lobby, with the okami giving us a towel to clean our hands and a cup of green tea to relax, while she handled the registration and arranged the time for our meals. While waiting we took the time to check on the information, and found that this ryokan is part of a group with also ryokan and hotels in Izu and Okinawa. Maybe worth visiting some of them in the future.

Our room 爛漫 is located on the top floor, which is the special room in the corner. Once through the door there is a large area for changing shoes, leading to the Japanese anteroom, while on the side it was decorated like the outdoor Japanese garden with cobblestones, leading to other rooms, similar to traditional Japanese house setting. This is an interesting design which I think would bring up memories for many locals on their home when they are young.

Through the anteroom we entered the Japanese style living room, where there was some snacks, sake, and fruit prepared for us. If there is family this can be converted to a bedroom in the evening as well to accommodate more people, as the maximum the room can serve six guests, with two in the anteroom and two in this Japanese living room.

The wow came when we went into the bedroom. It was by far the largest I have ever been. In a western style setting, there are windows on two sides of the wall, a big comfortable bed, a sofa to relax and watch TV, and a state-of-the-art massage chair! Now we can relax after bathing and enjoy the massage.

The bathroom is quite nice too with high-end amenities, and leading out to the semi-open bath, which is a stone bath looking out to the river and at night it was a very calm and smoothing experience admiring the lights of the houses along the river and onsen street.

As part of the complimentary service the ryokan also had an afternoon tea, and we went to the teppanyaki restaurant, where the chef is preparing fresh pancakes for guests. We had a lovely afternoon tea with nice pancakes and coffee, before we went to the public bath.

The baths are big with a huge inlet dumping spring water into the pool, which is like a waterfall. On the day the ryokan is not too busy, so there is only a few people and I had a good privacy bathing in the big pool, before moving to the semi-open bath to further enjoy. Nothing particularly fancy or special, it was nonetheless a good public bath I have been to.

Our dinner is served in the special restaurant Chihiro reserved for guests staying in special and deluxe rooms. We are seated at the best table at the back, with the okami attending and explaining each dish. Starting with the famous Kaga plum wine, which is very good, we were fortunate to eat again the in-season female crab. The preparation in my opinion is of an even higher level than the previous ones we had in other ryokan, as the vinegar was prepared into jelly and then sprinkled on the crab, without having to dip the crab meat in the vinegar to affect the texture. There are also gold flakes sprinkled to add to the premium. A great start and putting us in heaven straightaway.

Then came the appetizers, involving eight different delicacies of the season. Unfortunately the okami's English was not very good and I could not make out most of what she said. Apart from the really fresh and tasty food, the plating is also one of the most beautiful in my experience. The utensils used to serve, how the chef used leaves and flowers to complement, the color of the different things is also a big feast and contributed to a phenomenal experience.

The boiled dish has some wild mushroom, with a tofu skin wrapping and crab meat on top, with some celery and yuzu shreds to add further flavors and freshness. It is light, delicate dish which is a great example of the finesse of the chef.

Next is the sashimi with big shrimp, squid and Japanese amberjack. The sashimi is very fresh and on the side there are also different condiments to pair, apart from the typical soy sauce and wasabi.

Then there are the sushi, with the two pieces being tuna and red seabream which are so good and fresh, with strong flavors of the fish and simply another explosion in the mouth bringing in huge satisfaction.

The grill dish is a fish grilled with miso sauce, but unfortunately I don't know what exactly is the fish. However, it is very tasty with a nice texture, firm but not tough and the flavors are not being sidelined by the miso taste.

Next we have the most interesting dish of the night, something I have never tried before. It is essentially a steamed seabream but stuffed with fillings. I could not identify the exactly are those, and the texture is kind of loose. On the taste it is quite light to balance with the fish meat. Not something exceptional but certainly unique.

Then we have the deep-fried dish which included green pepper, a Kaga signature dish with a piece of seaweed wrapping something like fish roll, and then a piece of seabream. Even though it is deep-fried, you won't feel a hint of oiliness as evidenced by the piece of paper underneath which you don't see a big oil stain. This is another testimony of the skills of the chef.

The marinated dish has some fish roes, turnips and cucumber. A refreshing small plate to help clean the palate after the different seafood earlier to prepare for the meat, which is a piece of duck cooked with yam, mushroom, tofu, carrot and ginseng. The duck is braised well not to feel tough or chewy on texture, with a nice gamey taste, and the vegetables provided a good supplement to enhance the flavors.

Wrapping it up there is a rice cooked with the crab yolk, with miso soup and pickles. We were all very full by then but the rice is so good that we finished the whole bowl and everything.


Dessert is seasonal fruit with a sorbet, with a piece of Japanese pudding. In terms of variety, food quality and plating as I mentioned this might be the best kaiseki I had so far.

After a nice sleep the next morning we had another wonderful breakfast, with assortment of fresh vegetable salad, grilled fish, pickles, egg and boiled tofu and mushroom, as well as fresh fruit. The two of us are really spoiled for such great food.

If I have to pick something to criticize is that surprisingly there was no one come to show us off when we were leaving. After settling the payment, we simply push our luggage and walked out, then I have to go across the street to get my car and drive back to pick up our stuff. All the while there was no one attending to us. For a ryokan I think that is simply unheard of and unacceptable, and got a big red mark unfortunately for our overall experience. Don't know it was an oversight or not but they must improve.

My spent 78,800 yen for the stay and meals, which is not cheap but considering the hardware, comfort and food I would say it is worth it. If only the service could be better and warmer towards foreigners it would be a ryokan I would definitely re-visit and recommend.

The overall rating is 7.3/10.

  • Stayed: December 2016, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
4  Thank Peter C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 January 2017

The location and the rating of the hotel made us to give it a try.
Every thing went well, we paid extra and got a penthouse room on the top floor with private onsen. The room even came with a small rock garden and a massage chair. Room was huge with 270 degree view of the nearby creek, mountains and a waterfall was just right below our windows.
Afternoon tea with freshly made pancakes on Teppanyaki grill top was provided as a complementary feature, free coffee and tea in the lounge with a foot bath looking out to the creek. Our day starts with many positive notes.
Dinner was spectacular. We had booked a fullboard stay with local crab feast and it was indeed, a feast. We must have done 6 large crabs and were asked if we needed more. Free flow of varieties of Tempura were all delicious. Crab congee was the finale of a unforgettable meal. Service was so good that we had to force our servers to accept tips from us as ironically tipping is not a standard practice in Japan, a country known to provide exceptional service.
As If our private onsen area was not good enough, the public outdoor onsen was another pleasant surprise. Nothing was more enjoyable than sitting in a onsen tub while listening to the sound of flowing creek just below your foot step.
Breakfast next morning was another show down. We opted for the western breakfast in the Teppanyaki restaurant. Every dish was carefully prepared by our chef. Fruits plates, soup, eggs, even French toast were cooked in front of our eyes by skilful chefs using freshest local ingredients.
We have stayed in many ryokans before and one suggestion is that in order to fully experience the unique Japanese hospitality, location location location is still a top priority, next to ryokan reputation and management quality which unfortunately is harder to determine prior to arrival. A ryokan in a major city somehow is not as heartwarming as a nice one in the countryside. The town Kaga is quaint and peaceful and it made our stay all more enjoyable. As full board is often offered by good ryokan, food quality is something not to be overlooked.
Well, what can I say about this Ryokan... first class. A must try bucket list type of holiday experience in a lovely countryside of Japan.

Room Tip: Creek side room
  • Stayed: December 2016, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank EELSM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 December 2016

A number of ryokans and ryokan hotels in Kaga Onsen area offers a comprehensive list of services, perks and facilities. I was skeptical of it at first, wondering if this meant a reduction of quality.

Fortunately, my anxiety is met with relief. Kissho Yamanaka, while a little dated, delivers. The service and hospitality was excellent which makes the entire stay great. The ryokan hotel is located at the start of a nature trail along the river at Yamanaka Onsen, it is not too far from the main street of the onsen town and it is located next to the river. After a snowfall, it is quite beautiful.

The hot springs might not have the best views, but Kissho Yamanaka also offers guests to soak in the hot springs of its sister property : Kagari Kisshotei which has nicer views. Food wise, as we only stayed for one night, we only got to dine at Benihana and it was decent as well as generous. For dinner, they served a variety of appetizers, there were crabs as well as it is in season, tempura was free flow and pretty good and the sashimi was rather tasty.

Also worth mentioning are the little details and perks at the ryokan hotel :
- fresh coffee beans and tea leaves for coffee and tea in the room.
- little desserts at the lounge (complimentary)
- coffee, tea and beer at the lounge (complimentary)
- complimentary shuttle bus service to and fro Kaga Onsen Station, they also offers transfers to Komatsu Airport.
- lovely pancake afternoon tea at Aotake, their teppanyaki restaurant.
- daily performances at the lounge

All these, at a very affordable and competitive rate in comparison to other hotels in the area.

My only complaint is they don't offer other drinks at the lounge after 8 pm to hang around and there is a slightly pungent smell in the bathroom.

  • Stayed: December 2016, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank xinli29288
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 July 2016

We stayed two nights in a room with a private hot spring bath on the balcony and a massage chair. The room was lovely and the hot springs were nice but the food was amazing. We had traditional Japanese breakfasts and one dinner at Chihiro and one dinner at Aotake. Both were excellent. We took the free shuttle bus from Kaga Onsen train station and they provided a box lunch to go on the day we left. Not much English spoken among the staff other than the general manager - still we had a lovely crafts lesson mostly in Japanese and sign language.

  • Stayed: June 2016, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Thank Megan F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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