Relaxing in Tsutsuji-tei’s comfortable lounge area, somehow it feels like you’ve been transported to a cozy, remote mountainside cottage. Bookshelves are lined with rows of books waiting to be perused, and soft armchairs are arranged around the central fireplace. This very inviting room was designed by the Tsutsuji-tei’s founder and father of the current owner.
After Masao Miyazaki, the 22-year-old, second-generation owner inherited the family business at a young age, he devoted himself to a serious study of hotel management in order to provide guests with a thoroughly professional level of service. While Miyazaki runs the business, his mother works as the inn’s manager and is in charge of guest relations – a fine example of family teamwork.
A small, charming country inn, Tsutsuji-tei has embraced the simple goal of providing its guests with a traditional Japanese kaiseki dinner and the opportunity to relax in the hot springs overlooking its picturesque garden.
Maintaining old traditions isn’t easy, but we try very hard to do that with Kusatsu Onsen, while also exploring innovations to meet the changing needs of our guests. However, that doesn’t mean we need to make large changes, as we realize that reliably maintaining our old traditions is far more important, and also a more difficult goal for Tsutsuji-tei in the future.
Perhaps as a result of this attitude, many regular guests treat Tsutsuji-tei as if it were their second home, with repeat customers making up sixty percent of all visitors each year. Some guests are so devoted that they book their next stay at the end of their current visit, and some come to the inn as many as six times a year. Developing such solid, stable customer loyalty is indeed an achievement that every inn hopes for.
Although the surrounding environment may change as time passes, two things will remain unchanged at Tsutsuji-tei - the inn’s beautiful blooming azaleas and the management’s genuine devotion to providing outstanding service to its guests.
Generally considered to be one of the three great hot-spring resorts of Japan, Kusatsu Onsen takes pride in a history dating back more than 1300 years, having greeted generations of visitors with its pungent sulfurous aromas. Tsutsuji-tei Inn is located within this historic resort area, just a ten-minute drive from the main shopping street of the town of Kusatsu. Recognizable by its mass of colorful azaleas marking the entrance, Tsutsuji-tei awaits your visit.
Justifiably famous for its kitchen, Tsutsuji-tei changes its dinner menu on a monthly basis to showcase the best that each season has to offer. The author of the book ‘Poissons - Un Art du Japon,’ published in France, praised the cooking of head chef Shigeru Tago as being among the finest representatives of Japanese cuisine. Whatever the time of year, guests can enjoy dishes prepared from a wide selection of luxurious ingredients sourced from all over the country, ranging from organic vegetables grown in local Kusatsu farms to fresh seafood delivered straight from Hokkaido.
Urara Hot Spring is a shared spa for hotel guests that includes an indoor hot-spring pool and an open-air spa with views of a Japanese-style garden. For a luxurious private-spa experience there is the popular Tama Hot Spring, which allows hotel guests to take turns reserving the entire facility for themselves. The semi-open bathhouse offers a scenic 180-degree view while providing ample privacy, ensuring bathers an unforgettable experience. When the water gets too hot, guests are encouraged to follow the Kusatsu Onsen tradition of stirring in slightly cooler hot-spring water to lower the temperature.
Beautiful in its simplicity, Tsutsuji-tei’s interior design embodies the ideals of understated elegance. Visitors first encounter the hotel’s welcome area, offering stunning views of the Japanese garden through floor-to-ceiling windows, followed by six private dining rooms and a uniquely decorated lounge area, which is fashioned to resemble a round wooden cabin. The names of the ten guest rooms on the ground and second floors were chosen by inn’s manager Masako Miyazaki and were inspired by her love of Noh theatre. In wintertime Tsutsuji-tei’s secluded private suite features a traditional Japanese kotatsu - a low wooden table covered by a thick blanket with a heat source underneath.
Unlike restaurants nowadays, traditional onsen resort hotels like Tsutsuji-tei prides itself with the most thoughtful services, preparing everything for the guests and yet keeping in mind to give guests maximum private space. Dressed in plain kimono, Tsutsuji-tei’s experienced staff work efficiently and take great care of their customers, there are also staff who can speak conversational English to communicate with overseas visitors.
Weave cushions and armrests are carefully chosen and interior walls are painted in lush green to coordinate with the luscious greenery outside. Living areas are carpeted to reduce walking noises, ensuring a peaceful environment for all guests.