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“Real Japanese experience”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of Wald Berg

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Wald Berg
Ranked #14 of 83 Hotels / Ryokan in Yamagata
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Real Japanese experience”
Reviewed March 2, 2014 via mobile

We spent 4 nights at the Wald Berg in February/March 2014.

The staff were all extremely accommodating and friendly, despite our lack of Japanese. They were happy to pick us up from the bus station and drop us down at the rental store. We were the only westerners staying in the hotel which was otherwise full of Japanese groups, families and couples, so obviously a popular choice.

The room was big for two people, Japanese style with 12 tatami mats and a separate carpeted area. Great views over the mountains. Western toilet (with the Japanese addition of heated seat and washing facilities!) and a Japanese bath room were both small but very clean and functional. The room has iced water and Japanese tea making facilities, which was great. While at dinner the staff clear away the table and chairs and make up your beds- you do sleep on the floor on a futon mattress, but they have the best duvets in the world!

Getting to the lifts from the hotel is easy - just 30 seconds walk across the bridge and then ski down to the lift station (Chuo ropeway). After skiing all day, one of the best things was the hotel's own onsen. Gender segregated, there are inside and outside pools, the outside overlooking snowy forest (the other side of the hotel to the ski slopes luckily!) The onsen were a great way to relax after a day on the slopes. There are also private onsen in the hotel that couples can use together but we did not do this. Although separated, the male and female areas are adjacent and we were the only people in there so we could still talk through the wooden fence.

Yukata gowns are provided for the onsen, and these are standard evening wear for dinner as well! Dinner was included in the price and was a minimum of an 8-course affair, with the main event being Shabu-Shabu, Sukiyaki or other equivalent with fish or chicken- all DIY-cook at the table style with other courses all being served at once, including sashimi, miso, ubiquitous rice and some other more strange items (to our western palette, that is- chicken and mushroom creme brûlée anyone?!) The evening food was good quality but was slightly repetitive. We would have given this place a five star review but for the breakfast. While this was again plentiful it was a bit too much to have such traditional Japanese food early in the morning- rice, fish and raw egg amongst other things. However, this hotel is a real Japanese experience and this is just down to our personal taste. We loved the Japanese-ness of the rest of the hotel so it seems a bit unfair to complain about the breakfast being too Japanese, but some tea and toast as an alternative would suffice to rectify this!

One last bonus- when we came to pay our bill we were told the one alcoholic drink we had had with our dinner each night was included- a great touch. Not sure it would have been the same result if we'd been on the whisky hard though!

Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
4 Thank Chezza247
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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32 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Japanese first
  • Thai first
  • Any
English first
Perth
Level Contributor
36 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
Reviewed January 12, 2012

A group of friends and I stayed here for 3 nights in January 2012. We went during the peak ski season, with this onsen providing great accessibility to one of the slopes, once your kitted up you can literally be on the slope in under a minute it's that close. At the bottom of that slope in a chair lift and a cable car, leading to many other slopes around Zao. In the off season it looked like, from pictures around the onsen, a nice place to stay as well.

This place is a strictly a Japanese affair, our package included the cost of the room with breakfast and dinner included. I'm a big lover of Japanese food, but I am inexperienced with much of the food. All the food they serve is Japanese, and much of it food that is served in that particular region, so my friends, who live in Japan, hadn't experienced much of this type of food either. To be honest I didn't know what I was eating most of the time! You don't order off a menu, you organize what time you want breakfast and dinner earlier in the day, and by the time you arrive to the dinner hall, your meal is already waiting for you, so a set menu. The only options you have are the style of dinner you prefer, Shabu-Shabu was a favorite of ours. If you have a strict western pallet, this place wouldn't be suitable, most of Yamagata serves similar food as well, there is no KFC or Mc Donald's, but they do have some very tasty ramen noodle joints on the main street.

We also organized our ski-rental equipment through the onsen, they drove us to a local place that gave reasonable rates, it cost me $60 to hire a snowboard and boots for a couple of days. Other equipment and clothing was also available at additional cost.

The staff here are very helpful and friendly, and will provide lifts to many of the places around Yamagata, otherwise you'll have to walk down this twisty road to the main street. It's quite a walk when your in snow boots and covered head to toe in layers of clothing, it can be quite exhausting.

One of my favorite things was the on-site hot springs, wow they were just perfect after a day on the slopes, help ease the muscles after a vagarious day. They have separate male and female public hot springs, both having an inside and outside hot spring, and of course you must follow proper Japanese cleaning and etiquette before use. The outside one is very liberating and refreshing.

The other type of hot spring is a private one designed for two, this can be booked at the front desk, and comes in 45 minute slots at a cost of 2,100 YEN.

The rooms are Japanese style and are fitted with western styled bathroom and toilet. The rooms were cleaned and set-up twice a day, while you are at your meals. During the evening they set up your beds, which are the thin mattress type, I found the beds and pillows a little hard, but doubling up on the mattress helped a bit. Something interesting, the first night, I doubled up my mattress, they had many spares in the wardrobe, my other friends, who I mentioned earlier you live in Japan, and were used to these types of rooms, did not. The next day, after we returned from dinner, all the beds had double layered mattresses. A real eye for detail, something that gets a big old tick in my book.

Other important points, no LAN or wireless in rooms, wireless in lobby only. Only one channel has English on the TV, and that is only sometimes! No room service or mini bar which would of been nice. Vending machines, including beer, are located near the public hot springs and lobby.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Hertz01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
singapore
Level Contributor
25 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
Reviewed March 30, 2011

We had our two night stayed in Wald Berg in March 2011. We enjoyed our stay very much! Wald Berg is not a big hotel but it is cozy and very comfortable. Location is good for skiers for you are able to reach the Ropeway Station in seconds. Room is clean and big just for the two of us and dinner is value for money. Service in Wald Berg is out of this world!
Good service is easy to aspect everywhere in Japan. But Wald Berd serves you with sincerity and a personal touch. I have a special request which I have asked Mr. Hiroshima if he could check if anyone can fix my ski boots? He made a call and drove us to a well established Ski Pro Shop called Best Rental located at 上の台. He spent an hour with us there and then drove us back to the hotel again. My painful boot had hurt my shinbone and Mr. Hiroshima even offer me his pain relief plaster to ease my pain.
The drive from Wald Berg was very helpful too. He would offer to drive us to and fro the #1 Ropeway Station because he notice we walk back from there during the 1st day. How sweet!
No complains and will sure be back again!

Marilyn Ng.S.S.

Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
4 Thank ng.s.s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Wald Berg

Property: Wald Berg
Address: 889-1 Shimizuzaka, Zao-Onsen, Yamagata 990-2301, Yamagata Prefecture
Location: Japan > Tohoku > Yamagata Prefecture > Yamagata > Zao Onsen
Amenities:
Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #14 of 83 Hotels / Ryokan in Yamagata
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 36
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