614 Tanigawa Minakami-machi . Tone-gun, Gunma
Senjuan sits beside the Tanigawa river in Minakami, Gunma Prefecture. It was built to be something completely different, to admire the majesty of Mount Tanigawa, and to be a fitting retreat for a spiritual master. It is a luxurious place and succeeds on all counts.
A Private Escape in Nature
From the moment you head down the drive towards Bettei Senjuan you feel as if you are escaping the normal world. A quaint gateway leads through a small garden with the sound of trickling water. Proceed through the low key entrance, and then suddenly everything is flooded with light as you enter the main ryokan and enjoy the stunning views out into the valley from the huge windows. The building which was completed in 2007 curves gracefully around with floor to ceiling windows to let nature in. This blurring of boundaries continues as the gardens are being upgraded with more relaxation areas outside to encourage people to engage with the natural environment. In summer fireflies can be seen in the gardens. This is a testament to the quality of the nature here as fireflies require pure water and pristine conditions to survive. Wherever you are in the ryokan, you are never far away from a view of nature.
Bettei Senjuan is a beautiful property and a wonderful place to relax. The design throughout is an interesting blend of traditional and modern, and the attention to detail means that you are constantly making new discoveries. The earthen walls use clay from different parts of the country. The local clay is much darker than the type from Kyoto that is used more abundantly. The door covers have been specially designed for Senjuan. Some of the pillars in the dining room are from old pipes that come from the family's connections to a company that drills for onsen.
Stewardship of the Area
Enjoying the changing colors of the seasons is a delight. Living alongside nature and protecting the mountain and environment are all part of running a ryokan in the countryside. Bettei Senjuan supports the local agricultural association by employing them to grow the vegetables for the kitchen. They are proud of the local produce and the expertise of the local farmers accumulated over many years. There is also a commitment to supporting the community, and several staff are now second generation employees.
Explore the life and culture of Yukiguni through one of the unique local experiences available.
Guided Tour of Bettei Senjuan
As is often the case with great design there are many things that the eye just does not see. Take a short tour of the facility to find out all the stories behind the design and art in the ryokan.
The level of comfort at Bettei Senjuan is superb, and you know as soon as you set foot inside the grounds that you are in for a very special stay.
Private Outdoor Onsen With Stunning Views
It is possible to sit in an outdoor hot spring bath attached to your room and gaze up at the face of Mount Tanigawa as each room has its own rotenburo. The ryokan has been built as a relaxation space so comfort and quiet abound. It is the ideal place to reset and refresh as you gaze out and contemplate the beauty of nature with the sound of the river close by.
Cleasing of the Spirit
The characters for the name Senjuan can mean a place for the long life of your spiritual master, and it is hard to imagine any master being less than delighted to find themselves here. The logo of the hotel is a pictorial version of the character for spirit. Look hard and you can find it in some of the original designs around the hotel. As well as the onsen and nature there are many other things contributing to a purifying stay. There is charcoal under the building which is an old belief in spiritual cleansing, and the feng shui of the building was carefully considered during planning to channel the power of the earth. There is also a spa with various treatments to encourage harmony between body and spirit.
Special Local tours occasionally run by the hotel that take in geology or fauna in the surrounding area.
The gardens are deliberately inviting the guests to wander outside. and are being extended year by year. A short stroll and you can find your own perfect style of relaxation in the outdoors.
The sister establishment of Bettei Senjuan is Ryokan Tanigawa which is situated further along the same valley and is the family’s original property.