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“There are better options for an onsen trip” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Awanoyu

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4181 Azumi, Matsumoto 390-1515, Nagano Prefecture (Shirahone Onsen)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #26 of 184 Hotels / Ryokan in Matsumoto
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Noosa, Australia
Top Contributor
164 reviews 164 reviews
141 hotel reviews
Reviews in 90 cities Reviews in 90 cities
201 helpful votes 201 helpful votes
“There are better options for an onsen trip”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 3, 2011

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.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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86 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Location
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Melbourne, Australia
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
30 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 7, 2010

You will reach this hidden treasure after two hours drive from Matsumoto along the beautiful scenic mountain drive. The bus service is available in winter season.

Awanoyu Ryokan is famous for mixed bathing - outdoor milky bath with beautiful natural surroundings which brings colours in each season. The scene of snow among the greenery around the bath was just breath-taking when we visited there.

The hot spring is piped up from 100m underground. The natural temperature of the spring is 39℃ which may not be hot enough for some people. But there is a warmer tub inside. Outdoor mixed bathing may be a scary thought for some but ladies are allowed to wear bath towel and once in the water we can not see through milky water. There are separate entrance to the outdoor bath for men and woman. The smell of sulfur and aged timber tub inside is just fantastic atmosphere of this onsen. We loved it. A private bathing is available on request for couples and families in annex which has both inside and outside bath.

The meals were fantastic. For dinner and breakfast we dined at the small Japanese room with a private waitress serving us. Using local produce, it is all chefs recommendation - ten courses degustation menu with raw fish, wagyu beef, nabe dish, soba noodle etc etc. Just divine!!! For breakfast they can make congee (porridge) - rice cooked in onsen water.

Fantastic experience - ample bathing, fantastic food, excellent service, the beautiful location, the natural surroundings... We will visit there again!

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Awanoyu

Address: 4181 Azumi, Matsumoto 390-1515, Nagano Prefecture
Location: Japan > Chubu > Nagano Prefecture > Matsumoto > Shirahone Onsen
Hotel Style:
#4 Onsen Hotel in Matsumoto
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Number of rooms: 23
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Also Known As:
Awanoyu Hotel Matsumoto

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