Awanoyu is an interesting mix.
The hotel itself is lovely - probably the best Japanese style rooms I've stayed in. they are clean, modern and stylish, with all the amenities you would expect in this price range. Having stayed in many ryokan over the years, accomodation-wise at least, this was the standout.
Awanoyu falls down in other areas, however.
Firstly, the baths themselves are pretty awful - old, run down and screaming for maintenance, and only a very limited selection of bathing options. Worse still, my sons and I both developed horrible skin reactions to the water, with dry skin cracking and bleeding for days afterwards. I shudder to imagine what the chemicals in these onsen are! Water temperature was tepid, and with an air temperature of minus 10 degrees was far too cold to enjoy for long.
Meals were interesting rather than good - perhaps they were trying a little too hard. Menu items such as raw horse sushi are an experience that you can't find in many places, but they don't make for a particularly pleasing meal, either. Likewise the broiled fish heads or grilled flathead roe...all 'traditional' ryokan fare, but not even the Japanese would seek these out as a meal in normal circumstances.
As far as the area is concerned, you really need to accept the fact that you are there for the baths and nothing else. There is a microscopically small village about 30 minutes walk down the mountain, but there is absolutely nothing there. At Awanoyu, you are pretty much a captive.
Internet was fast and free, so long as you are close enough to the lobby to access it (our room was).
There are many onsen/ryokan options within a few hours of Tokyo....I can't see a compelling reason to choose Awanoyu.
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- Also Known As:
- Awanoyu Hotel Matsumoto