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Traveler (317)
Room & Suite (264)
Dining (20)
Certificate of Excellence

About

#2 of 99 hotels in Minakami-machi
Location
Cleanliness
Service
Value
Certificate of Excellence
Property amenities
Free parking
Hot spring bath
Baggage storage
Non-smoking hotel
Room features
Non-smoking rooms
Smoking rooms available
Air conditioning
Refrigerator
Good to know
HOTEL CLASS
HOTEL STYLE
Classic
Great View
258Reviews
12Q+A
4Room tips
Traveler rating
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It is a wonderful Japanese ryokan with one of the old original hot springs in Japan. In fact this place is geographically not so far from Tokyo but it is not easy to get to. As you know Japan is heavily industrialized and one of the most densely populated countries in the world. But as 70% of the land is covered in deep forest, you will have to be prepared to have a bit of adventure. We took a Shinkansen line (12:40) from Tokyo Central to Jomo Kogen Station and then took a local Kanetsu bus (14:52) No. 3 to Sarugakyo, from where we took another small local bus (15:35) to Hoshi Onsen. There is only one ryokan in this deep mountain area in Gunma Pref. As soon as we arrived we noticed that there was a warning that some bears had been sighted recently. We were greeted by friendly ryokan people and first invited to tea at an old fashion Japanese fireplace, called irori. After that we were taken to our room through corridors and stairs. The entire building is well kept although most of the sections were built at the beginning of 20th century. The breakfast and dinner were so fantastic and generous that we skipped our lunches. (it is recommended that you reserve your room with full pension because there are no other places in this part of the mountain). The bath halls are very nostalgic and beautiful. The main bath hall is old and its wooden building was built directly on the hot spring itself. There are two other bath halls built later, which are also nice and relaxing. I would not say it is the most comfortable hotel, however, modernization is slowly reaching this mountain place as well and you should visit this place now than later if you want to experience a real Japanese Onsen ryokan.
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My brother in law has been talking about this place for years. He lived and worked in Gunma im the nineties learning Japanese and building log houses. He'd always said he wanted to return to stay at this Onsen when he could afford to do so. Therefore we joined him on a holiday to Japan that included a few nights at this hotel. It was an amazing experience - such a tranquil place high up the valley with hardly any nods to modernity. The rooms were simple but comfortable, the food was a daily exploration of tradional Japanese menu. And of course the baths were hot and relaxing. Make sure you're not expecting a Marriott! It is a totally different experience and very Japanese - so different to anything we'd experienced in the west. It probably helped to have a guide to help set our expectation and to advise on local customs and culture. We'd love to come back again one day.
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Out in the middle of the Gunma nowhere, at the end of a road that with snow can be treacherous, this rustic wooden spa is not for older folks who can't sleep and sit on the floor or who have dietary restrictions. The rooms are unpretentious but overlook the simple gardens and forested hills and other wooden buildings dating from what looks like the Taisho era,. There are several baths but all are in varying states of wood and if you are squeamish about cleanliness you may find the discoloring both attractive yet disturbing. The baths and wooden buildings are evidently continually maintained, so the architecture looks original. You get endless servings of tiny twiddlybits of unidentifiable Japanese dishes on cute little dish ware, for both dinner and breakfast. Breakfast was plentiful in variety but not for western guests who need coffee, toast and eggs to start the day. Service is traditional Japanese inn style, conventionally gracious but confining, and if you intend to take a nap, it gets problematic as futons have to be laid down, dressed and after napping returned to storage. Flexibility is not a characteristic at such places. Mixed gender bathing hours are in effect at all the baths and done with effortless discretion so it's not uncomfortable if your are reasonably versatile with your washcloth. There is nothing new here, which is the appeal if you are pleased by ample rusticity. Try to go off season when there are no crowds; we were there after New Years and it was quiet and serene. Cost for double occupancy with dinner and breakfast was around ¥47,000 per night.
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Very beautiful old traditional buildings . The rooms we had ( 2 deluxe ) were spacious and comfortable - if you like sleeping on futons which we did . We drove there . It was an easy drive from Tokyo but a bit of a worry as no snow tyres and it was starting to snow as we left but we made it no problem. Location is in the countryside and there is not a lot to do except enjoy the experience. Three onsens , tried and loved them all .The biggest and most beautiful onsen is mixed but has some allocated hours for women only ( only men seemed to be using it so possibly not so comfortable for ladies to enter during the mixed times ) . During the later evening no one seemed to be using it . Outdoor onsen is great. Staff friendly and kind . Food was very good but not fantastic . Would go back especially in autumn or spring as I am sure it would be lovely in other seasons .
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We stayed two nights, soaked in the traditional wooden onsen, watched snow falling across the cedars and ate superb food. Smooth and unobtrusive service, lovely old building, just enough modern conveniences. We love you Hoshi Onsen!
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PRICE RANGE
$299 - $463 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
ALSO KNOWN AS
chojukan hotel minakami-machi
LOCATION
JapanKantoGunma PrefectureMinakami-machi
NUMBER OF ROOMS
35
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