We LOVED this place. A typical Japanese Ryokan writ large. Each room is made to look like a classic inn but it's all brought into the modern world. At check in yukata clad staff greet you warmly and take you to your room for a nice tea ceremony you are pampered. Though the outside could use some work, the ryokan itself is lovely. We had the family room with a balcony hot tub, outside, enclosed shower, nice bathroom, entry alcove for shoes, refrigerator, tea service etc. The public baths upstairs are spotless, brand new and they offer a nice twist by switching male and female access each evening so each can appreciate the other's uniquely styled bathing areas. Open baths take in the mountains (though views around the hotel aren't so nice. I sat out under the roofed (and I hope lightening protected) bath during a thunder storm and deluge, it was totally cool.
A couple of downsides: we didn't realize that the meals needed to be booked with the reservation and were unable to add it after checking in. (Why not?) Did I say the town is sleepy and tired? A real disappointment. We went to the recommended sushi restaurant and it was one of the worst meals we had in Japan. At check in, a staff member took my passport and driver's license and then forgot to return it -- I was caught up in the excitement of the place and failed to notice when I only got my license back. Fortunately, ryokan forwarded passport to next lodging after we noticed it was missing. .
I enjoyed my stay and have no complaints. The room and onsen had amazing views. The staff were friendly and helpful. The breakfast was Japanese style which was delicious. There was also fruit and yogurt. There is a shuttle bus that takes you too and from the ski hill or transit station. Not many foreigners but I did meet a few and skied with them the next day. I will be back to this one.
It was a fantastic experience. Staff is so generous that you feel treated like a king. Having a bath in the outside pool sorrounded by snow was one of the best experiences in my life. Food good. Walking distance to the Snow Monkeys Forest. A+.
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