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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