Their onsen contains some sulfur. When I first visited there, I ran a half-marathon the day before. Therefore, I must admit that I was very tired when I arrived there. However, once I soaked myself in a large bath for 10 minutes, the fatigue was gone. Indeed! I felt so relaxed and loosened.
Their in-room two-hour-long dinner course was also superb in that every single dish served was very well made with local ingredients. Nowadays, there are not many ryokans that offer in-room dinners, but Sanshuyu is one of them. It is good to have a special dinner at a fancy restaurant but for a special occasion, what Sanshuyu offers indeed makes us feel special.
In a word, Sakurayu Sanshuyu, located in Akayu Area of Yamagata, is one of the most "Japanese" ryokans. As you drive through the city centre of Akayu, you will find a fine single-story building with a nostalgic atmosphere. When I stepped into the ryokan, I sensed the "make yourself at home" feeling from the staff and the building itself. There is no excessive welcome service, but that did not at all make me feel bad or unwelcomed. Rather, it was evidence of good ryokan.
Furthermore, their liquor selection is excellent. They have popular Japanese whiskey, wine from Yamagata, and of course sake. On their sake list, there are famous Juyondai and other local sake from nearby cities/towns. What I especially liked was the set of six small glasses. When I ordered it, I had sake from six different sake breweries throughout Yamagata: namely,
Kudoki Jozu from Kamenoi Sake Brewery;
Asahi-daka from Takagi Sake Brewery;
Tenkyu from Azuma-no-fumoto Sake Brewery; and
Iwaki Kotobuki from Suzuki Sake Brewery.
Three out of six are Story of Sake’s partner breweries; it was amazing to see them!
To summarise, Sanshuyu is a great ryokan suitable for a relaxing stay. If you are a fan of gorgeous restaurants or fancy service, this may not be a ryokan for you. However, if you look for a real Japanese-style hotel with good onsen, in-room dinner and sake, then this is the place that you should not miss.