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Reviewed 27 May 2018 via mobile

We were just strolling around the Kamenoi. We bumped into Mr Kentaro Nakaya, a chairman of the hotel. He kindly enough showed us around the hotel and offered us a coffee.

He is one of leaders who decided to promote Yufuin as remote resort with country experiences.

I would like to stay there next time.

Stayed: May 2018, travelled with friends
Thank NYLON_nomad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 April 2018 via mobile

Kamenoi Besso is a great experience for children as well as adults. The traditional style Japanese houses and library was a cozy relaxing place to stay and the houses were very private and tranquil. The staff were very helpful, speaking a little English when possible. Even though we only stayed one night the food we got to eat was great, serving food not only appetizing to adults but to children as well. You could chose whether you wanted a western or Japanese style dinner and breakfast.

The rooms were very roomy and the baths were great. Not only was there a shower but there was an indoor as well as an outdoor onsen with adjustable temperature. The living room could be transformed into a bedroom if you asked your Nakai-San (staff member) to lay out the Futon (traditional Japanese bed).

If you wanted there was a library near to your room with a antique gramophone and records covering the walls. There was even a fireplace and free coffee or tea if you wanted to have a drink.

This is definitely a 5 star Ryokan!!

Stayed: April 2018, travelled with family
1  Thank Ewan S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 March 2018

This ryokan is supposedly one of the best in Yufuin, so on our trip there we decided to stop by and have lunch at its restaurant Yunotake and it turned out to be a huge disappointment. We didn't have a reservation and were made to wait over half an hour while groups and groups of guests left and there were empty tables everywhere in the restaurant. We asked the reception why they kept us waiting while there were so many empty tables, the old man at the reception was cold and simply told us to keep waiting. We left in the end without lunch. Maybe they don't care because we were not in house guests but they completely forgot that walk in guests could someday become in house guests and their attitude just made sure that we will never set foot in this ryokan again. A truly great place would make sure their service is always up to standard to any type of guests and this place just proved that it is not such a place.

Stayed: March 2018, travelled with family
Thank LuciaW663
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 April 2017 via mobile

Great place to have a drink and listen to a little jazz. It old wood beams are beautiful and give a comfortable warmth to the place. There is a library upstairs and old jazz albums on the walls. The wait staff speaks a little English and was very helpful.

Stayed: April 2017, travelled as a couple
1  Thank lancestairs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 March 2017

Located in Yufuin Onsen in Oita Prefecture, this ryokan is one of the three most famous in the area, with many rating it as the top of the three. Many people regarded the success of these three ryokans as the reason why this small town was so popular for visitors. The ryokan has more than 80 years of history, covering 30000 sq.m with traditional village style houses, and adjacent to the beautiful Lake Kinrin.

Hearing our car approaching the staff came out already to greet us, and taking our luggage inside. The reception area is beautifully decorated, having a renovated contemporary feel in a traditional village home construction. The staff were able to communicate nicely in English and check us in without any problem.

There are only a total of 15 houses and the staff led us walk through the corridor to our house, while at the same time explaining the location of the public bath and library. Our house is No. 6, on the outskirt of the complex, and approaching the door it gave me a good feeling of going home.

The house is huge in size. The Japanese style living room is spacious, and an interesting facility is the pot heater at the side. This heater is fueled by charcoal pieces, prepared before we entered the room, and the metal pot sitting on top already got hot water waiting for us. The staff helped to brew us some wonderful green tea while confirming our dinner and breakfast time, and also explaining the neighborhood for us to walk around.

Adjacent to the living room is a small balcony looking out into our private garden. Apart from two comfortable chairs, there is also a water basin and small pantry at the side so we can prepare coffee and tea. An interesting modern contrast to the charcoal heater in the living room.

The bedroom is Western style, with two comfortable beds and also windows on two sides, again looking out into our private garden. It is cozy and warm, and even before sleeping I already knew it would help me relax and giving me a sweet dream.

Like most such luxurious ryokan, the toilet, changing room and bathroom are separated. The bathroom has two water basins so you don't need to fight in the morning, and there is also a towel heater to ensure you got a warm one after enjoying your bath, which is so thoughtful in the chilling season.

The bathroom has a semi-open bath, with the wooden bathtub big and allowing a good stretch to relax during the bath. And the windows on the sides can both be completely opened, adding the glass rooftop it is a wonderful and highly soothing space to enjoy your time.

After checking out the room we went out on the backdoor to the private garden. And also from the outside we could better appreciate the look and feel of the house itself. The garden is very large, effectively surrounding the house on two sides. There is a tranquility in the air, with everything very quiet and peaceful. The weather on the day was also perfect, with good sunlight, cool but not cold, and also ideal for coming out to watch the stars in the evening.

We then decided to take a look at the other facilities in the ryokan. First we went to the library, which is a standalone building in the complex, When I took a photo of the building, the window on the top floor reflected the beautiful mountains at the back and it looked like a large painting indeed.

Inside there are some comfortable coffee tables and chairs, and a gramaphone playing nice music. But the most notable is certainly the smell of wood fire! At the side there is a fireplace and in it there are some logs burning, offering the warmth to the room and also the fragrance.

There are coffee and tea served in the library which are free for guests to enjoy, and as it is a library, there are also plenty of books on the bookshelves for one to spend a relaxing afternoon reading.

We decided to go to the public bath in the next morning, so after walking out to the main street for some sightseeing and snacks, retired back to the room before changing to yukata and went over to the restaurant Yunotakean for dinner. The ryokan guests were seated in a side room, and we were provided with menu.

The first and second course is Japanese Vegetable with Seasoning, and Home-made Sesame Tofu. The vegetable are very fresh and boiled in stock to bring out and enhance the original taste, while the tofu is rich in sesame flavors. However, on the plating and quantity it is a bit mediocre for me and let me wonder whether the meal would be anywhere close to what I had experienced in other famous ryokan so far.

The third course is Trout Marinated with Kelp. The kelp is a form of seaweed which is full of nutrients and the trout is fresh and tender, with the ginger mash and the yam paste giving a kick as well as the unique texture, though not particularly impressive.

The fourth course is Japanese Radish and Wild Boar. The radish has fully absorbed the stock so it is rich in flavors and tasty, plus the wild boar pieces has a more chewy texture, offering stronger pork flavors at the same time.

The fifth course is Watercress Soup. Similar to how a French restaurant would serve such soup, the staff used a small jug to bring the soup in, and the bowls were settled in front of us before the staff poured the soup from the jug. The color is a beautiful matcha green, and the aromas are really nice that you can smell it without even drinking a single drop. It is also served in a teacup.

The sixth course is Fried Surf Smelt, which are essentially tempura of fish, shrimp and vegetables. All the ingredients are very fresh and the tempura is able to keep the original good taste of them. However, it is a bit too oily with a clear oil stain on the piece of paper underneath after finishing the tempura, which I hope the ryokan can improve in future.

The seventh course is a Salad to cleanse our palate, and for my setting they brought me some pickled radish instead, mainly because I changed from the beef to eel for my main course. Even though simple, the radish is right in the sweet and sour balance and are nice and I can't stop eating.

The eighth course is my main course, which is Grilled Eel. The original menu is serving Steak of Japanese Beef but I opted for this, and without regret, as the eel is grilled perfectly, with the sauce giving a great savory taste. The quality of this grilled eel, in my opinion, could compete with some of the more renown restaurants.

The ninth course is Rice with Grilled Trout Fish, served with Miso Soup and Pickles. It is a really good dish, with the small trout light and tasty, grilled perfectly. After showing us the rice and fish the staff then helped to detach the meat from the fish and mix well with the rice, and then served us with them. A form of traditional village delicacies I believe, it is a great example of how the rural style can make some wonderful dishes.

The dessert is a Vanilla Ice-cream, plus a small glass of black sugar syrup(?). It is also a bit too simple and probably also sum up the overall feedback from me on the dinner. Frankly if this is what the ryokan can offer at this price level, it is a bit disappointing.

After a good night sleep we got up early in the morning to enjoy the sunshine, and then walked to the public bath to enjoy some private time. Ivy had the luck of having the whole bath for herself, but I have to share with another gentleman. The bath is comprised of indoor and outdoor part. With the indoor portion built like having a tree in the middle, branching out to hold the roof. The outdoor got a similar bath as the one in our house, plus another circular bath. Overall it was a nice setting and highly relaxing.

Returning to the room our breakfast is also getting ready. It is a traditional Japanese breakfast set, with egg, fish, salad, pickles, tofu, rice and miso soup. Not much frill for the dishes, but I like it even better than the dinner on the previous night. And having the meal served in our room also provided a good privacy and comfort as well.

Overall I would say the hardware for this ryokan in terms of the environment, the atmosphere of a rural village style yet offering comfortable houses are one of the best experience, only that the quality of the food could substantially improve to make this ryokan matched its fame.

The cost for my stay is 97,608 yen, and my overall rating is 7.5/10.

  • Stayed: March 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank Peter C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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