My experience was honestly pretty mixed but overall positive. Though, I can see how for some people this can easily go one way or the other.
Pros: Location, Staff, Showers, Free breakfast
Cons: Bathrooms (toilets), Thin walls
Neutral: Price, Hostel atmosphere
LOCATION: The location is very good because it very near the Happo Information Center. This is the main hub for all the free shuttle buses to the various resorts in the area, as well as the terminal for buses to/from Nagano and Tokyo. And of course it’s an information center, which is can be useful for obvious reasons (English-speaking staff are available). Between the hostel and information center, it’s an easy 2-5 minute walk. Look for the large “Woody’s Rentals” sign around the first corner on the left—can’t miss it.
HOTEL STAFF: I only talked with two members of the staff, but they were both very friendly and polite. They are Japanese but can speak decent English.
ROOMS: The building and rooms seem pretty old. The rooms are pretty standard for hostels (I stayed in a 4-person shared room) but the linens were below average in my opinion. The two big issues I had were the pillows (no covers and slobber-stained) and the base layer (not enough cushion). In my case, I was the only guest in the room so I took an extra base layer to make my bed softer, and covered the gross pillows with a soft blanket (seemed new so that’s a plus). The room heater worked well.
Side note: My room was located between the “dry room” (for guests’ boards, boots, etc.) and the “play room” (TV, couch, etc.). Nobody every used the play room and nobody was in the dry room at night so my room was always very quiet. Except one night when a guest was talking on the phone in the play room next door—and I could hear everything extremely clearly. It was like he was talking right next to me. This leads me to believe that the walls are very thin, but I can’t speculate if it’s true in the other rooms.
TOILETS/SHOWERS: The toilets and showers are completely separate (good thing). The toilet rooms (one for men, one for women) are old and cold but fairly clean. The showers on the other hand, are much better. There are two showers (separate but not by gender). They are newer and supply good hot water—perfect after a day or snowboarding of skiing.
BREAKFAST: Breakfast is provided free every morning and includes cereal, eggs, and bread. There’s also milk, juice, jam, and butter. It’s all do-it-yourself and you’re expected to clean up after yourself. This is typical of hostels so no surprise there.
PRICE: I thought the price was reasonable compared to the other nearby hostels, but I didn't like that you had to pay to use the lockers. In my experience, this has been free at other hostels.
RECOMMENDATION: Maybe! If you've stayed at hostels before and cost/location is a high priority then this is a great place. Otherwise I hope my review helps you make a decision!