We'd been driving for what seemed like 4.5 hours and the snow was coming down in big dinner plate sized flakes. As we wound our way through what was probably Sounkyo Gorge in this beautiful rugged wilderness we rounded a bend to be confronted by a huge multi-storey building. It is like that in the bush in Hokkaido. One minute you're in wilderness the next a huge hotel jumps out at you. In fact there was more than one hotel. Sounkyo is a resort town and most of the buildings are hotels. Our ryokan, the Sounkyo Choyotei, is one of the largest and is perched high on the side of the gorge looking down on the river and the rest of the town.
We started calling the Choyotei, Chakotay... the Star Trek Voyager character? Choyotei sounds like Chakotay? Sigh. Cha. Koh. Tey.
As we drove up to the hotel a horde of yellow raincoat clad hotel staff rushed out to greet us and take our bags. Then the formalities begin. We're lead to lounge area to fill out the paperwork and have tea before we are issued with our key and lead to the 6th floor of this seven storey hotel to our room. This time we have a semi-western Kuzahiro room. Essentially it a tatami mat room with a raised platform with two western style mattress on the floor. On the way up to the room we passed the buffet eating area and I hoped I'd got our booking correct and not booked the buffet. If worst comes to worst at least they have a hot food vending machine and a games room.
The Caffe Latte depicted in the picture below is shit and is only shown so you know what to avoid if you ever come to Japan.