Nikko Sansui Hotel Posted 13-Mar-2011 on Hotels.com
We booked the Nikko Sansui without knowing much about the area and because it seemed like the nicest one with availability. We were looking for a traditional Japanese ryokan experience and found exactly that. The only thing we didn't realize was that it was at a lake that was one hour by Tobu bus from the Nikko Station and temples area. Luckily we arranged to arrive by train early enough to catch the bus so we could arrive by dinner time. We arrived when it was snowing and the road to Lake Chuzenji was a steep climb to a mile high lake with 43 switchbacks. But the road was safe, the bus driver cautious and really no problem. We got dropped off at the Chuzenji Onsen stop in the dark with no idea of where the hotel was. Luckily the bus driver felt sorry for us and dropped us at the hotel. It would have been to the left of the station and a ten minute walk through snow mounded sidewalks. The next stop (Tachikikannon-iriguchi) is closer, but the bus sometimes ends at Chuzenji Onsen. The hotel was across the street from the lake and had a beautiful view of snow covered streets and mountains. We were the only guests there, probably because of winter, but that was fine. The ryokan experience was well worth it, with the breakfast and dinner being traditional japanese food meticulously prepared and presented. You have to like Japanese food, especially fish at all meals, but we had the best trout there. They had two indoor and two outdoor onsen (male and female) which was great for warming us up for the evening. Sleeping on the futon was very comfortable, even with my old back. The room was a 10 tatami mat room with an extra "smoking" room by the window with refrigerator (it was a no smoking room, though). The hotel is run by a family, although the mama san showed up only on the last morning. They are very sweet people and we would love to return again some day. Be sure to buy the Tobu bus 2 day pass, not the World Heritage bus pass. If you have a hotel reservation, the ticket counter next to the Tourist Information counter in the Tobu Nikko Station will give you half off the price, which they don't tell you at the JR station. The Chuzenji Onsen stop is 5 minute walk from Kegon Falls, and the lake looks like a great walking, boating area in the sping and summer. It was easy to catch the bus back to the Nikko area to tour the shrines and temples for the day and return in time for dinner.