Located near the river and easily accessible (as the staff can come and pick you up from the train station), Higaki hotel offers a fine Ryokan and Onsen experience. The Rooms are very big (though divided with paper slides), and are equipped with a fridge, a kettle for making hot drinks and a good Wi-Fi connection.
A big plus is that the staff speaks rudimentary English (uncommon in rural areas in Japan) and the hotel offers an explanation sheet about Onsen opening hours and other hotel features in English.
Unfortunately, the dinner and breakfast (though beautifully served and arranged) are only medium quality, so if you seek a gastronomic experience you might be a bit let down. Moreover, as everything in Minakami closes early (around 17:00) you'd might like to buy a sandwich or two upon arrival).
Another thing, the Open Onsen (at least in the men's section) has a roof so it's only "half open" though still enjoyable.
Allover, Higaki hotel offers the Onsen experience and receives the rank of 7 on the Daniel Scale.More
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