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Reviews (449)
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All reviewslion dancesnow monkeystrain stationprivate rooftopthe ownertaiko drumbreakfast and dinnertravel agentshiga kogenhot springsmanaging directortatami matstraditional japanese mealenglish speaking stafffree shuttleminute drivesister hotel
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Reviewed 4 December 2017

It was the snow monkeys that brought us to this part of Japan, then we picked the town and hotel backwards from that, and we (us from the UK, and our friends from Australia) were mighty pleased with our choices, as it gave us a fantastically immersive 24 hours in an older and more traditional way of life than in the big cities.

We arrived from Tokyo by train around midday, and had a very warm welcome with drinks. We were too early to check in, so took up the offer of an immediate transfer to the monkey park gates, where we had a great light lunch in the cafe there. Then a half hour or so walk to the monkey park, which is absolutely great, but you only need an hour or so there. Our pick-up from the hotel was at 16:00, and they dropped us off at a sake museum/shop on the edge of the town, Shibu Onsen. It was approaching dusk, when we left, and we had a delightful walk through the main street with it's several quaint shops and public onsen baths.

We however had each booked the two private onsens on the hotel roof (Y1,800 per couple for 40 minutes). It was fantastic sitting in these hot tubs on a cold night overlooking the twinkling lights of the town, and the odd star peeking through, but then it was a very fast turnaround to don our yakutas and be at dinner for 19:00, where we'd pre-booked the traditional kaiseki multi-course dinner, including one vegetarian, as one photo shows. Our hostess explained the dishes, and the protocols. The local sake brewery also do craft beers, so we had one of those each, then wine, and the whole thing was just fantastic.

Even better was the traditional breakfast. Whilst we had some idea of what we might be getting for dinner, we had none for breakfast...and as the other picture shows, it was spectacular, and made the people's Western choice breakfast on the next table look very paltry and ordinary.

The rooms are of course traditional tatami mats with roll up mattresses and duvets and whilst they might be ever so slightly dated, it really didn't matter one iota, and certainly don't be put off by the gaudy colour of the hotel, which commands a great hillside location plus views.The staff at all points of contact were just great, and we were taken by the hotel's courtesy minibus for our 8:30-ish onward train journey to Kyoto.

We put our own trip together, and the Lonely Planet kind of makes it seem like a bit of a slog to get out here, but whilst some train travel time is of course required, the reward to effort ratio fully justifies it, and this hotel is a well priced and very comfortable and welcoming place from which to experience all of the above.

  • Stayed: November 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank BazLoz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 November 2017

I felt so at home with the warm hospitality of owners Yuki and Masao. My room was incredible. Nicely designed and with an onsen overlooking the mountains on my private patio. The food was delicious and the introduction to traditional culture had the right touch--it's there for you to explore, but not in an overbearing way.

The region is quite beautiful. I loved seeing all the snow monkeys nearby, exploring the shrines around town, and the availability of hiking, skiing, etc.

Room Tip: Request the room with private onsen
  • Stayed: October 2017, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank 2017JLB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 November 2017

Good food and good service do not make up for shocking rooms that do not look like they have had a penny spent on them in 20 years.
Poor hot bath- very tired compared with similar establishments in Japan
Good location

  • Stayed: November 2017, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank J7834ARjoeb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 November 2017 via mobile

We have just stayed here for 2 nights and had the most amazing time. From the moment you step off the train the people are so helpful. We were asked if they could ring the hotel for them to collect us.
On arrival at the hotel itself checking was easy and we were shown to our room. The room was Japanese style and offered comfort and a chance to have an authentic experience. We chose to have the Japanese dining and it was beautifully presented. We had fantastic food throughout the stay. We wore the yukata provided by the hotel as did everyone else and this was so comfortable.
You must try the Onsen if you stay. Hot spring bathing inside and outside. It is so relaxing and there is nothing better than sitting outside staring at mountains whilst bathing in hot spring water. The sides change so you can experience both onsen. Toiletries are provided.
The hotel provides free transfers to the monkey park which is a must do.
The thing that really sets the hotel apart though is the wonderful staff. The wonderful lady who was looking after the onsen, the fantastic lady who guided us through our meals and all other staff were absolutely great. Go here and you will have a stunning time.

Stayed: November 2017, travelled with friends
Thank Helen W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 November 2017

From the moment we arrived at the local train station (short ride from Nagano Station - just need to research the platform as it is down the escalator to the right outside the main station), everybody was wonderful. Greeted by a volunteer guide, he quickly confirmed where we were staying & called the Ryokan for a lift. At the same time somebody else relaised our shuttle was already there & we were quickly taken to 'home' - only a couple of minutes drive.

The checkin was very friendly, sit down at a table, a cup of tea, before selecting your dinner time, whether breakfast was western or Japanese style, if you wanted a free shuttle to & from monkey park, and to the railway station. All was planned to optimise your time.

Then being shown to your room and having everything explained - what to wear & when, the onsen, the room. The staff were so friendly & helpful.

Whilst the hotel is not old, the rooms are furnished in traditional style, with sleeping on the futons. The room was basic, had a small balcony overlooking the river and town and the mountains all around. There was a shower, a separate toilet, and a separate handbasin. The room had a safe, was warm, and very practical.

The onsen was traditional, fed by thermal water, with a males & females. They swap over during the night so you can enjoy both if you wish. Both had indoor baths (with a small bubbly section) & an outdoor bath (one was larger). Good idea to take your modesty towel when accessing the outdoor bath. Tried the bath morning & night.

A quick pre-dinner drink in the bar on the 3rd floor lobby. Dinner was served on level 8 - each room had a designated table. Most people wore the supplied gown to dinner (was nice to see). The meal was beautiful to look at & eat. From picking your mushrooms & putting them on the grill, the the theatre of pouring the water into the 'cooker' for steaming the meat & vegetables, it was a lovely experience & our server made it even better. She was great!

Back for breakfast, same table, same server, we tried the Japanese style & again it was beautiful. Some things not to our preference, but overall another wonderful meal.

The checkout process was quick & simple, a quick minute to check out the gift shop, then into our free shuttle to Monkey Park (a wonderful experience), then a free shuttle from the park back to the railway station (they collected our bags & loaded them into the shuttle whilst the guests were at the park). Great service & again the driver was professional, friendly & so polite.

I would recommend it. A wonderful stay. Great staff. Not old, no history but all you could ask for.

  • Stayed: November 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank 188petere
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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