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“Traditional experience”
Review of Shibu Hotel

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Shibu Hotel
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 6, 2013

It was the small things that made a difference. Upon checking in I was directed to where the onsens were. I was taken up to my room and the on desk brochure and key to the town onsens were explained. Ladies in kimonos were there to assist with the check out the next morning. When I was checking out they asked if I was going to he monkey park and gave me an immediate lift and offered to pick me up when I wanted. Upon arriving back at the hotel by walking (my choice) they offered me a lift to the train station, once again immediate lift when offer accepted. Couldn't fault the place.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled solo
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2  Thank Megan L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 11, 2012 via mobile

We decided to drive from Tokyo to Shibu Onsen (a great experience), and we arrived at Shibu Hotel in the mid afternoon. We were welcomed warmly by name, and they took care of parking the car for us.

Staff were very friendly despite limited English. Our room was lovely, being on the corner meant we had double the view - a waterfall out one window and the mountains out the other. Being a traditional room, the bed is not set up until night time (it magically appeared while we were at dinner).

We opted to have both dinner and breakfast at the hotel, which was a very interesting experience and worth doing. If you're not a big fish eater you will find it challenging.

We tried a couple of the public spas but found them incredibly hot. We ended up using the private onsen at the hotel as being very small it was easier to regulate the temperature.

We checked out the following morning and drove up to see the Snow Monkeys - they are really beautiful. The hotel also offers a shuttle service for those without a car.

It is an expensive side trip, but worth it for the experience.

  • Stayed: August 2012
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1  Thank RosieTucker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 21, 2012

the smiling Japanese host turned up with a dictionary half way through dinner so we fully understood what we were eating - this typified this homely hotel 2 minutes from the bus that takes you to the snow monkeys - courteous smiling hosts, basic but comfortable rooms with free tea, snacks and sweets and an indoor and outdoor onsen on site - the formal Japanese dinner was amazing (chairs are available) in a private dining room and showed a full range of meat vegetables fish fruits and delicacies too numerous to mention - breakfast followed a similar route

yes the building looks underwhelming but once inside you won't be dissapointed - oh and we came here from Tokyo Park Hyatt so our expectations were high

  • Stayed: February 2012
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1  Thank moorhen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 3, 2012

Our main goal was to see the snow monkeys and the Shibu Hotel was a great location for this. Staff at the hotel transported us to and from monkey park. Painless! The monkeys did not disappoint.
The room was spacious and comfortable. We were not thrilled by the dinner - we did not expect so much red meat. Staff had variable understanding of English, but this was not a substantial barrier.
The onsen at the hotel is certainly hot but lacks much atmosphere. You are however provided with a key to the public onsens of Shibu Onsen so there is plenty of opportunity to find one that suits your mood.

  • Stayed: December 2011
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1  Thank enenbee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 8, 2011

This is a very nice yet basic Ryokan style inn. We stayed here for one night when we came to Shibu for the hot springs and snow monkeys.

Everyone at the hotel is very nice, polite, and does their best to help even with the very little English they speak. You would be surprised how easy it is to communicate with people by pointing and gestures.

There is a large lobby/common area where they have wifi internet. There is no internet in the rooms. They also have their own hot springs in the hotel, but we did not use it as we went to all the baths in town. Shibu is knows for it mineral hot springs so there are 9 public hot springs in town. You can only get into them with a special key you get from the hotel, you go out in an informal kimono and wooden sandals and go to each bath. Its a fun experience and feels really wonderful as well.

We had a nice room, very good sized with a nice view of the mountain on one side and the city on the other. The rooms are typical Japanese style with a table and chairs when you arrive and they put in the futons for sleeping. There is a TV in the room as well. The bathroom is a little challenging, there is a tub and a shower next to it, but its all one room. Its more of that funny Japanese type of shower where you are expected to kind of squat and bathe, but we just go into the tub and used the hand shower.

They offer breakfast with the room and it was amazing, one of the best we had the entire trip. They take you to one of the dining rooms where you are set up with you own private area and tables on the floor to eat. You do sit on the floor so be prepared if you have a hard time getting up and down. The food for breakfast was so wonderful.

Our table had a hot pot with fresh miso soup cooking, with lentils and other add-ins that made is so wonderful. Also on the table was a small grill cooking a piece of Salmon. There was a small salad, rice, and egg, and other Japanese nibbles. I so love the Japanese breakfast I have started to do one at home.

Since this is more on the end of budget Japanese style hotels, you don't get the full Ryokan experience but its wonderful and we would go back in a minute. If you have never been to an expensive Ryokan you would not know the what you are missing at the Shibu hotel, definitely give it a go.

Room Tip: Do the hot springs in town! Its a blast and like nothing you will experience outside of Japan.
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  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank AdventureTravelerEM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 13, 2011

Our party of five occupied two rooms for a one-night stay but the warmth and attentiveness of the staff made us feel as if we'd been there longer. This hotel is in reality a traditional ryokan with modern conveniences.

Thick snow lay everywhere when we arrived at Yudanaka Station. A van from Shibu Hotel was waiting for us and within eight minutes we were at the hotel, our pre-assigned traditional tatami rooms ready for occupation. The staff conducted a detailed briefing to ensure that we did not miss any opportunity to sample the delights of Shibu Onsen despite our avowed sole focus on visiting the Snow Monkeys at nearby Jigokudani. The briefing enticed us into donning yukata, tabi and geta before scurying across the town's narrow streets in search of its nine famous public baths. Each onsen has a rubber stamp for marking the souvenir cloths which the hotel presented to us, together with master keys for the onsens. This delightful pre-dinner activity kept us warm as dusk settled into a cold winter night. We ended back at the hotel's private onsen for a final bath, then enjoyed an excellent kaiseki dinner.

Next morning's breakfast was equally good. After checking out, we left our bags at the hotel and its van fetched us to and from Jigokudani for memorably close encounters with the Snow Monkeys. Then, we collected our bags and the same van dropped us off at Yudanaka Station.

Our short trip was made perfect by Shibu Hotel's staff. Highly recommended.

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled with friends
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Thank biketrekker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 23, 2011

Good base from which to visit the snow monkeys. Very friendly staff but with very limited English language skills, - but this can be managed. Try the set dinner in-house, - good value and very authentic. No western breakfast, and limited western rooms (2 ?), but rooms are very nice and spacious with western bathrooms. Onsen on-site is good. A great experience for us! Only one downside (as with many hotels here) - smoking allowed in rooms. Ours was 'deodorised', but of course this was not totally effective - the bedding although clean, still smelled of smoke, - grrrr !!!

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank Brett F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Shibu Hotel

Address: 2173 Hirao | Shibu-onsen, Yamanouchi-machi, Shimotakai-gun 381-0401, Nagano Prefecture
Phone Number:
Location: Japan > Chubu > Nagano Prefecture > Shimotakai-gun > Yamanouchi-machi > Yudanaka shibu Onsen , Shigakougenhoppo Onsen , Kumanoyu Onsen
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
#11 Top resorts Hotel in Yamanouchi-machi
Price Range: $203 - $425 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Shibu Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 22
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Offering a free-use reservable hot-spring bath, shared indoor and outdoor hot-spring baths, and traditional multi-course dinners with Shinshu beef, Shibu Hotel is 8 minutes from Yudanaka Train Station on the free shuttle. The traditional rooms have Japanese-style futon bedding on a tatami (woven-straw) floor. Yukata robes, green tea and floor-cushion seating allow you to experience Japan's unique culture. More universal facilities include air conditioning, a mini-fridge and a TV. Each room has a private toilet, and guests bathe at the hot-spring baths. Snow Monkey Park is a 25-minute trip (10-minute drive + 15-minute walk) from the hotel, and the Nakayama Shinpei Memorial Museum is a 20-minute drive. Zenkoji Temple is a 1-hour drive. On-site parking is free. When not luxuriating in the hot-spring baths, you can check out the gift shop. Free Wi-Fi is provided at the lobby. The set-menu Japanese breakfast and dinner are served at the dining room. You must check in by 18:00 to eat dinner at the property. Guests who check in after this time may not be served dinner, and no refund will be given. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Shibu Hotel Japan/Yamanouchi-Machi, Nagano Prefecture

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