Value Score No Data
Good For Business
We stayed two nights at this friendly family-run guesthouse on the western fringes of Nikko, near the Kanmangafuchi Abyss. It is an annexe of the nearby Turtle Inn and newer than it, with a pleasant location right besides the river. Our Japanese style room overlooked this river and we could hear its waters clearly as we lay on our cosy futons. There is also at least one Western style room.
The room was en suite but the guesthouse also has an onsen (indoors but overlooking the river) which can be used privately for a 20 minute spell – ample time for a soak in the hot waters. There’s no booking system; you simply wait for it to be free and then hang an “occupied” sign on the door. After a day spent seeing the sights in the rather chilly weather we experienced here, this was a great treat.
Breakfast was included in our stay though I believe you can also book room only. It consists of fruit, an egg, and toast (including a delicious raisin bread) – simple but adequate. There’s tea and coffee on tap, and even those not on the breakfast tariff can help themselves to the former. The inn has free wifi for guests, there’s information available about sightseeing in Nikko and surroundings and the staff are friendly, speaking some limited English. The lady who welcomed us gave us some useful tips about restaurants in the area, and when we left was happy to order a taxi for us to go to the station.
The one drawback is that it is about 15 minutes’ walk from the shrines (but no hotel is very near these), about 20 minutes from the top end of the main street and more like 40 minutes from the station. The nearest restaurants, just two of them, are about ten minutes away – a Chinese, which we didn’t try, and the Bell, which we did (see tip). There’s also a small grocery shop near these. For everything else you have to go into the centre which will take about 30 minutes on foot or cost about 600¥ by taxi. There is a bus service from the main road about 15 minutes away but we didn’t use that as we walked everywhere apart from to and from the station when carrying bags. On the plus side it’s very handy for the Kanmangafuchi Abyss. For us the quiet and pleasant location, and the pleasure of walking Nikko’s residential streets, more than made up for the distance from town but it’s something to consider before booking.
After checking in here on the morning of our arrival, and leaving our bags as our room wasn’t to be ready until 2.00 PM, we went out in search of lunch which we found in a nearby small café.
Directions: See map and directions on the inn’s website
Annex Turtle Hotori An
We spent one night in Nikko recently, and we chose the Annex Turtle Hotori An because it is walking distance to the temples, it has free parking, each room had a private bath, and we wanted to stay in a Japanese style ryokan rather than a Western-style hotel.
We found the hotel easily, with help from our GPS. The hotel is somewhat isolated, across the river from the temples and most of the other hotels and restaurants in the old area of Nikko. To get from the hotel to the temples takes about 10-15 minutes on foot, and a walk to the train station would take at least 30 minutes.
We checked in quickly, with the friendly, English-speaking staff, and he showed us the room and the onsen (Japanese spa). We also decided to make reservations for their Western-style breakfast the next morning for about 1000 Yen per person.
We got the last room at the hotel, and it was a Japanese style room with straw mats on the floor, and a thin Japanese bed on the straw mats. The room had no decorations, and the only furniture was a tiny table for two. The paper screens over the windows opened to a view of the river just a few meters away. As you might expect, a bed as thick as a sleeping bag is not all that comfortable, and I had a restless night.
Before bed we went to the onsen. The innkeeper advised us to lock the door while we were using it, so ti was basically a private spa, overlooking the river. It was amazingly hot in the onsen, and I was sweating profusely even after opening the windows and sitting next to the fresh, cool mountain air.
The next morning we had our breakfast at the hotel. It included a hard boiled egg, fresh bread with butter and jam, a half grapefruit, kiwifruit, a banana, and orange juice, coffee and tea. Not spectacular, but filling.
Overall, the hotel is clean, friendly and comfortable, but with few frills. It is someone out of the way, but close to some unique sites like the Abyss and the Hundred Buddhas. Our bill was about 13,000 Yen for the room, plus 2,000 Yen for two breakfasts. Rates sometimes run as high as 40,000 Yen for a small Japanese-style room.
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