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“A great escape, with the friendliest hosts we've had so far.”
Review of Kamesei Ryokan

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Kamesei Ryokan
Ranked #1 of 38 Hotels / Ryokan in Chikuma
Reviewed August 9, 2012 via mobile

We arrived on what seemed to be a particularly busy afternoon, with the town's annual fireworks happening that night.

After performing an admirable car shuffling act, Tyler sat down with us and gave us a very helpful introduction to the area, providing us with guides in English. As others have mentioned, the restaurant guide including translated menus is invaluable.

The room had a nice view over the garden from a sun room which could be separated from the main bedroom. We had a private toilet, but no shower, in our room. We could hear/feel children running around the corridors downstairs but this didn't bother us as we were there for the festive atmosphere.

That evening we paid to use the private onsen, which was well worth it. It's in a gorgeous outdoor area and is really clean and nicely designed, plus the temperature was just right for us inexperienced onsen-goers.

We opted to eat out for our evening meal, and tried the local spicy udon dish as recommended by Tyler - loved it! Then we watched the fireworks with the locals, a great night.

The traditional breakfast was lovely. We checked out soon after and headed off via the Piggy Bank Museum which was pretty cool.

I wished we could have stayed longer - the town is packed full of little restaurants and bars, and Kamesei is a great base to explore it all.

  • Stayed: August 2012
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2  Thank RosieTucker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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53 - 59 of 130 reviews

Reviewed July 23, 2012

Me and my friends are having a 10 day trip in japan. We traveled across japan and decided to stay here for one night. Although we stayed in a very short time, I enjoyed it very much. A traditional japanese room with tatami mat, sleeping on a futon, having a late night bath at onsen and tasted a delicious breakfast with a view of beautiful garden. And i really like the ambiance there. I hope i can visit again someday (and in longer time) ^^

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Dhania Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 12, 2012

We stumbled on this completely by accident. Tired and grumpy at the end of the day in Ueda, we couldn't agree on where to stay so hit google maps, zoomed out to a 10km radius of Ueda, and typed "hotel". Plenty came up, but by chance we clicked through to their phone number, called, and they had a room.

The ryokan is a rural style wooden building but now surrounded by a suburban neighbourhood. The welcome was a friendlier version of a standard ryokan welcome. We arrived too late for dinner, but made up for it with a soak in their private rotenburo (which I think we paid an extra JPY2,000 for), which was a really unexpected treat. It's nicely done, with a wooden deck and a small garden, and worthy of a ryokan a number of price points higher than this. By the way the main baths are also very nice, if small, with one of them also having a small rotenburo (they swap mens and ladies mid-evening so everyone can have a go!).

The room was the same as you have stayed in in hundreds of ryokan, and was perfectly comfortable. Breakfast was a good Japanese breakfast, and I spotted an espresso machine in the lobby for the really desperate! Generally the place is well looked after, and while completely traditional and "old fashioned", everything works and there isn't that musty waiting-to-die feel that so many out of the way small ryokans have.

As you'll have gathered, Tyler is full-on American, and his wife (whose family ryokan this is) speaks good English, so this would be a great place for visitors less familiar with Japan to get a very typical Japanese hostelry experience, without tears.

The location is a little random - we had a rental car which was easy, but I'm not sure how completely convenient public transport would be. And in early summer, I'd have liked to have bug screens on the room window so we could open to fresh air without welcoming the mosquitoes (was a shame to have to use aircon on a cool evening, as well as non-eco and an extra cost to the business!).

But all in all, a great little place, priced about right, with good hosts who know how to cope with foreign guests, and who can help them navigate northern Nagano (which is probably one of the best tourist regions of Japan).

Room Tip: if you need wifi, ask for a room close to the lobby
  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Peter D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 30, 2012

Five days of great hospitality, and we only saw half of what was in the area. Host Tyler was so helpful with maps and "how to get there" plans - and translated for us at one place. Excellent food and hot baths - what more could you want?

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank Julian W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 15, 2012

My boyfriend + i went to Chikuma City knowing nothing and returning loving every minute of it.

Kamesei Ryokan, a family-run inn, gave us the warmest hospitality we could ever have expected - with a perfect location, lovely room with many essential amenities, the patience and care of Tyler and his family, the well kept gardens and onsen, the beautiful city it is nestled within - we couldn't have asked for more.

Thank you for all the care and the fact that it was in Spring when the Cherry Blossoms were melting the hills pink with petals, every minute in Chikuma City was exceptional on bikes rented from the inn. A food trail from Kamesei to the skirts of the city left us with delicious soft cream ice cream, soba noodles, apple juice, onigiri and perfect meringue and cakes from L'Avenir bakery.

+++
Much love,
PAMM + V

  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank frompamm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 20, 2012

Kamesei has nice, well-kept facilities but what makes it a great place to stay is the hospitality of the host and his family. They are incredibly helpful and accommodating, and the Kamesei is a great choice in a pretty little onsen town easily accessible by rail. Plus the food is fantastic. You must, must have dinner there if you stay.

  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled solo
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2  Thank BeltwayAdvisor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 13, 2012

We had never been to a Ryokan before let alone an Onsen, so we didn't know what to expect. Having now been away from it for three ways we miss it terribly, and yearn to go back! That is largely due to the wonderful hospitality and support from the Manager Tyler and his wonderful family.

The Ryokan is situation in a wonderful traditional building, which is set back from the main road. It was a wonderful surprise to see our name outside the door, a fabulous personal touch. The rooms are traditional with low tables and matts, which make not only for an authentic experience but encourage you to relax and settle into the Ryokan experience. The baths are soothing, after days spend cycling and watching snow monkeys a very much welcome relief!

What particularly stuck my husband and myself was Tyler's tireless dedication to the traditions of the Onsen and duty to the community. I was warned by a friend of mine that he is very enthusiastic - luckily, this enthusiasm is infectious! He spent time and offered advice on any range of subjects with a knowledge of a local. Along with some other local community members he devised a map in English and even highlighted some key menu options in English from the top 20 restaurants - TOTALLY INVALUABLE!

There are a surprising number of restaurants and bars in the town, and it makes a good base for seeing Nagano along with other areas. Do try the outside baths if you get a change and definitately try the amazing dinner. Local dishes, served in sumptuous plates one tempting and amazing mouthful after another!

we speak of our holidays to Japan we shall always think of our time at your Ryokan

  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Randev123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Kamesei Ryokan

Address: 2-15-1 Kamiyamada Onsen, Chikuma 389-0821, Nagano Prefecture
Phone Number:
Location: Japan > Chubu > Nagano Prefecture > Chikuma > Togurakamiyamada Onsen
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 38 Hotels / Ryokan in Chikuma
Price Range: $75 - $216 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Kamesei Ryokan 3*
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Traditional ryokan featuring warm wood construction, gardens throughout, relaxing onsen baths and gourmet kaiseki meals. You can wear your yukata robe and use our wooden geta sandals to stroll around our town, Togura Kamiyamada Onsen, which has lots of appealing shops, restaurants, as well as onsen geisha. Centrally located to the best of Nagano. Our American owner is happy to share this slice of the Japanese countryside with you. Free pick-up at Togura Station. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Kamesei Ryokan Chikuma, Japan - Nagano Prefecture

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