As mentioned in my earlier post, Lake Akan Tsuruga looks like any city hotel, only more dated. The service provided quickly dashed any disappointment we had at first sight of our ‘resort’. As we drove up, the staff ran out and ushered us into the lobby, served us tea and tower and assured us that the luggage would be taken care of while we rested at the sofas. This was the first time that we hadn’t need to do any unloading ourselves.
What also made an impression was the female restroom in the lobby. The carpeted restroom was posh beyond words, with the dressing room befitting for a star.
Our host, the handsome Ishigawa-san took us on a tour. He was the only English-speaking staff available at that time and we were amused as he entertained our numerous questions with serious consideration before answering.On the ground floor, there is a steamed potato corner where guest can sample (or gorge) themselves with steamed potatoes, served with butter and a dash of salt, accompanied with green tea. There is also a small shopping arcade where you can purchase all the tourist souvenirs. On display was a tank of marimo, the ‘moss ball’ that is famous in Lake Akan. We can hold and feel the moss ball, like in a science lesson.
On the second floor are the huge dining halls and a restaurant where we had venison at very reasonable price.
On the eight floor, there is an outdoor and indoor onsen (hot spring pool), which alternates between the men and women based on a time-table. (I shall describe my onsen experience in another post.)
When my friend SF booked the rooms for us on the internet, she was stumped by the varied choices of rooms – western, Japanese, western and Japanese, lake-facing, in-room onsen, etc. In the end, she booked a fusion – two Japanese and western rooms for 4 and 2 people. Depending on which room you book, you would have different ‘door’ of entry.
Our wing had a private auto door. Upon entering, one has to changed into the slippers provided in the lockers. There is a small sitting area and a private onsen for soaking tired feet.
In our room sleeping four, there were two platform beds and a Japanese sitting area. Ishigawa-san assured us that the futons (Japanese sleeping mattress) would be set up in the sitting area during dinner time. A coffee machine and pot of Japanese green tea completed the hospitality.
In the bathroom, there were an array of shampoo, conditioner bath gel, hair tonic and lotion for man and woman.We had booked the room which included breakfast and dinner buffet. The buffet spread was spectacular, with Japanese and western dishes to choose from. If we thought we had too many king crabs in Sapporo, we were wrong as we each took a few more during dinner.
Our Tsuruga experience was thus: upon settling in, we changed into our yukatas and proceeded to the onsen before dinner at seven. After onsen, still in our yukatas, we headed straight to the dining halls and joined hundreds of other yukata-clad guests for dinner. After a leisure dinner, we returned to our wing to enjoy a feet soak in dim romantic lights, overlooking Lake Akan as we chatted in the cozy corner before retiring for the night.