This past weekend we enjoyed a night at Sugishima onsen in Itadori Village in Gifu. Our first trip there was in June of last year, and one of the staff recommended that we return in February to enjoy the snow on the mountains. We obviously followed up on her recommendation, and I'm so glad we did. It was the perfect way to beat the winter blues.
The inn is really lovely. The halls are lined with antiques, and the complex seems to go on and on, with twisting hallways leading to rooms and private dining rooms. The inn has newly opened public baths, as well as 2 private baths that can be reserved, and a couple of the rooms have their own private bath as well. In the winter (from early December to mid-March) there is a free shuttle bus from Gifu station, which is a really nice option. It was less than $5 (USD) for each of us to get from Nagoya station to Gifu station on the train, and then with the free bus ride we were able to relax and read for the hour and twenty minute ride instead of worrying about whether we'd need to put snow chains on our tires.
The staff is really friendly, and some speak English, so it is pretty easy to call and get a reservation. They also sent us a map in the mail ahead of time showing us where to find the shuttle bus, and it was covered with English notes - really thoughtful. They are happy to accommodate different diets, so I didn't have to worry about whether any of the dishes are vegetarian, and the food is fantastic and plentiful - worth the trip for that alone in my opinion. So if you are in the area, take a holiday at Sugishima onsen!