Saturday, May 11, 2013

Winery Hot Spring Resort

Would you like to soak in an outdoor hot spring at a winery? Can you do this in Japan?  Yes, but perhaps only in Niigata Prefecture. The baths and other facilities at  Cave D'occi Vinespa Winery Resort are elegant, tranquil, and luxurious. And the cognac produced and aged on the premises is smooth and flavorful.


No detail has been overlooked in the process of creating a refined hot spring experience. The baths were all designed to provide views of greenery, open sky, and a nearby mountain. Each tree on the grounds has been perfectly pruned and each rock on the bottom or the edges of the baths was laid with precision. The washing areas and changing rooms are spotless; considering its popularity, that is impressive.

The immaculate baths alone are enticing enough for me to go there, but there are other allurements: wine and cognac tasting for just one hundred yen a glass; restaurants with gourmet sausages, cheeses, and condiments; a cool wine cellar;  yoga lessons and much more. 

Kiichiro Ochi is the name of the owner, and  Cave D'occi reportedly means cellar of Ochi. Wandering around the winery's grounds is a relaxing pastime. You can even descend down a metal spiral staircase to the actual cellar where bottles of wine are aging.  At Cave D'occi one can spend an entire day  enjoying the baths, taking a walk, returning to the baths, sweating in a sauna, getting a massage, having another bath, tasting various delicious Western and Japanese foods, and experiencing other sensual pleasures. Admission is 1,000 yen. Rooms are also available for overnight guests. 

The rustic buildings, plush chairs and sofas, and soft lighting within the buildings all contribute to a refreshment that is more than skin deep, a feeling that you will take home with you.

The address is 1661 Kakudahama, Nishikan-ku, Niigata-shi, Niigata. Telephone: 0256-77-2226. Unfortunately, the Cave D'occi website is not in English.

This positive review is an honest review. I have not received any money from Cave D'occi, whose owner is probably unaware of this blog's existence.

To read about another luxurious Niigata hot spring that I recommend, click here.  This one has ocean views and a funky lobby.





6 comments:

  1. This is definitely a very innovative place to relax with its unique facilities for the discerning guests. At first I thought they have revived the ancient bathing pools filled with wine like those mentioned in the history books of China and Korea.

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    1. There is a hot spring amusement park in Hakone with baths that are filled with wine, sake, and other unusual liquids. I have not been there yet, so I have not written about it, but I will go someday. My impression, though, from the photographs is that the wine bath and other such baths were created more as a tourist attraction than as a result of a belief in the efficacy of bathing in such substances.

      However, many years before I really became addicted to hot springs, I did bathe in a green-tea bath in the town of Ureshino. Large tea bags were in the bath and smaller bags were on the side for people to use to rub against the skin. Unfortunately, I do not have any photographs of that hot spring, but I intend to return and write about it.

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  2. Sounds great Greg, Thanks for sharing your experiences.

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    1. Please feel free to write about your experiences in the comment section. I would like to learn from you about good springs to visit.

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  3. Greg you are the Onsen guru. Looks like an amazing place. How do you find these places?

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  4. I always ask people around me for their recommendations. Whenever, I overhear strangers discussing hot springs, I jump into the conversation and express my interest. Japanese people are always very pleased to learn that a foreigner is taking a deep interest in Japanese culture. For example, a few weeks ago, I was sitting at a coffee shop when I noticed that the owner and two customers were evaluating hot springs. I politely (I thought) interrupted and expressed my interest in the topic. They got so excited that the owner brought out his computer, turned on the Internet, and they all showed me some great Japanese onsens, explained how to reach them, and advised me on the best times to visit. For example, they insisted that I visit one at sunset, and they recommended that I visit another during autumn.

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