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Reviewed August 16, 2015

Tsuru-ya Hotel is a traditional Japanese inn (ryokan) located in Zao Onsen (spa). There’s a long, winding drive up the mountain to get there. We were six in a van, and the people in the back-most seats had to have strong stomachs.
You leave your shoes at the front entrance, and use their slippers. Whenever you want to go outside, the staff will get your shoes.
All the staff were very, very kind and helpful, although none of them spoke English to me (everyone else in my group was Japanese).
There’s a big lobby with places to sit and relax, and interesting art works. Also, here and there throughout the hotel, there were attractive Japanese-style flower arrangements.
The flooring in the rooms is tatami mats. The room charge includes dinner and breakfast, plus the use of the large communal baths, both indoors and outdoors. For a small extra charge, you can use a private (indoor) onsen bath. That one is big enough for at least three adults, maybe four. I went by myself to the private one, and enjoyed it very much. The water was hot, but not excessively so, and whatever natural chemicals were in the water didn’t bother me. To use the private bath, you get a key to the room from the front desk staff.
Both the large and small public baths have soap, shampoo, and hair dryers.
The room (really a suite) where my friend and I stayed was very spacious, with a lovely view of mountains in the distance and greenery close by. There was a long, low table with two chairs, and a more ordinary table, also with two chairs. The room lighting was exceptionally good, better than most hotels. In the suite, there was a bedroom with two twin-size beds. We were given the choice of using the beds or sleeping on the floor on futon. The staff laid out the futons at night and took them up in the morning while we were at breakfast.
Our room was very quiet. Even though there were many other guests in the hotel, I heard no noise from them, other than occasionally from small children running in the hall.
The in-room amenities were excellent (soap, shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste, hair dryer, and so on). The water pressure in the in-room shower was lower than I like, so I especially enjoyed being able to shower in the private onsen room. There was a refrigerator in the room (but the freezer part didn’t freeze), a safe, clear instructions on how to use the in-room telephone, and a TV with easy-to-understand instructions. We were there in August. The air conditioning system was easy to use and worked well. There were ample electrical outlets, but I didn’t have my computer with me and don’t know whether there was Internet access.
We had three breakfasts and two dinners. Everything was delicious Japanese food with ample portions and lots of vegetables. We negotiated the menus with the hotel staff.
The hotel’s web site, which is in Japanese, includes many wonderful photos of the hotel, the food, the rooms, and the surroundings.

Room Tip: best views are from the higher floors
  • Stayed: August 2015, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Ms_Yokohama2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 25, 2015 via mobile

Styed here for 4 nights with a lot of friends.
We came here for snowboarding.
This hotel is very clean and suitted in tranditional Japanese style.
The onsen is great. Food is too delecious to describe.
The service can't be great. Everyday we finished the snowboarding , the 女將 served us a cup of sweet wine to warm up our stomach. This is the most unforgettable part of the hotel.
Very very enjoyable stay in this place.

Stayed: April 2014, traveled with friends
1  Thank pppeko
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 31, 2014 via mobile

I will be ever thankful to the owners and staff at Tsuruya Hotel. When I injured my back skiing, they were so kind calling the ambulance, giving me a ride back from the hospital to the hotel, and being so caring and generous... Will definitively come back!!!

Stayed: December 2014
4  Thank Gaston S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 22, 2014

A pleasure to stay at Tsuruya. The staff provide a wonderful service and are fantastic. If i get the chance to go to Zao Onsen again I will definitely stay here. Tsuruya provide a transit service to the ski lifts and there is a drying room at the hotel, making it extremely easy to get to the snow.

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank MrRobertofWater
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 21, 2014

First, hotel is just located opposite the Zao onsen bus terminal.
I m not able to comment for all if the hotel is good location because for those who ski or snow boarding will need to walk a distance either 7mins to the nearest ropeway or about 15mins to the second ropeway for their activities.
A convenience stall is located about 5 mins away.
Quite a number of restaurants around Tsuruya if not having dinner at Tsuruya but I feel the dinner should not be missed.
Note: The restaurants closed pretty early.
Had beef sukiyaki for my dinner and my wife had beef shabu shabu.
The zao beef they use for sukiyaki is heavenly taste and unforgettable even till now.
Since its an onsen hotel, a review on the onsen cannot be left out.
There are 4 private bath(fee required but half price for guest) and 1 public bath
I have only tried 2 private onsen and my recommendation is give the cave type private bath a miss.
Whether if its worth to pay for the private bath depend on individual.
My wife prefer some privacy therefore we only tried the private bath.
Do note the onsen water is PH1.5 therefore the sulfuric smell is pretty strong.
From an article I read, Zao onsen is the 2nd most acidic in whole of Japan.
Room wise, nothing to shout about with all the basic necessity in the room.
Though i have a choice of sleeping in futon or western bed, futon is my only choice as the western beds are at a separate room without heater.
The futon they used is very comfy, kept me warm in winter but not to the extend of perspiration
Service is good though having a tough time understanding them when they serve dinner.
I will stay in Tsuruya again for my next trip to Zao Onsen for hiking during the spring or summer season and of course the onsen again. And not forgetting the Zao beef prepared in sukiyaki!!

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Traveller_SV0591
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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