About Senami Hot Spring
Senami Onsen is located in Murakami, the northernmost town in Niigata Prefecture, and was discovered accidentally during oil exploration in the early 20th century. The hot spring faces the Sea of Japan, and is famous for its pine forest, sunset over the Sea of Japan, and delicious salmon and seafood dishes, all in one.
From Murakami Station on the JR East (East Japan Railway) Line, it takes only seven minutes to get off the train and follow the beautiful coastline to the Senami Onsen area, where various hot spring inns are lined up. Although Senami Onsen has different colors and charms throughout the year, winter is the most popular time for visitors because sea fish and seafood are usually better the colder they are and the fresher they are, along with the famous sake produced here, the more delicious they are. It is said that Akiko Yosano, a poet, writer and thinker active during the Meiji and Showa periods, visited Senami Onsen in February 1938 and was impressed by the beauty of the area. Although he stayed only one day, the poet wrote 45 short songs to praise it.
How to get there
Transfer at Niigata Station on the Joetsu Shinkansen, get off at Murakami Station on the JR Hetsu Line, and take a 10-minute cab ride.
I stayed at this ryokan for one night with breakfast during a sightseeing tour of Niigata Prefecture. The facilities are on the older side, but we had a relaxing stay with soothing service. We checked in at sunset time. The female staff kindly guided us to the lobby, where we witnessed the wonderful sunset colors seen through the full-length glass windows. There was a display of photos of the spectacular sunset view in the lobby corridor.
The room was a pure Japanese-style room, too spacious for one person to stay. The sunset view could be seen from the room as well. The bathtub in the large bathroom had a full-length glass window on the ocean side. It overlooks the Sea of Japan at night. The floodlights installed on the beach allowed us to soak in the bathtub while watching the waves lapping against the beach and the sand, and to relax from the fatigue of the trip. Breakfast had a wide variety of items on the menu: hot tofu hot pot, mini vegetable salad, cod roe, okra salad, and grilled salmon. We were also able to have a second helping of rice.
I realized that it is very cost-effective to have breakfast included for one night. In addition, the staff, who gave us a warm, homey atmosphere, were very kind and helpful. I was very impressed with their kindness and hospitality. If I ever come to Senami Onsen again, I will definitely stay at this ryokan.