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“Fantastic!”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Aitoku

Aitoku
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Aitoku
Gold Coast, Australia
Level Contributor
13 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Fantastic!”
Reviewed March 20, 2013

2 friends and myself went on a ski holiday to Nozawa-Onsen in January (peak season). We found accomodation at Aitoku and were extremely happy with our stay.
We were welcomed late in the evening (missed the train from Tokyo) by the owner (who is known as "Nice Guy"). He happily showed us round and to our room which was a tatami style room for 4 people. The furnishings were basic but were exactly what was expected from this style of room. The bathrooms are always clean and the breakfasts are great!
Nice Guy and his family are always cheerful and, although speaking very little English, will always stop for a chat.
Nice Guy was an olympic ski-jump coach and the memorabilia and trophys in the dining room are spectacular!
Recommend sharing a meal with the hosts (amazing food!)
Also recommend Banri (BBQ style restaurant in town). Need to book for most places during peak season as they fill up fast.
The onsens are also fantastic. Definitely a must after a day on the slopes :-)
Free WiFi also available from your room

Room Tip: You have the option of traditional Japanese or Western rooms. I recommend the traditional rooms. I a...
See more room tips
  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Bandageman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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9 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room Tips
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed March 3, 2013 via mobile

I was headed to Aitoku Lodge because I'd decided on Nozawa Onsen within a week of traveling and unfortunately the lodgings available through nozawa holidays were all filled up, Mark directed me to the Aitoku and took care of all the bookings. I have to say, I was very pleasantly surprised, upon arrival I was welcomed by "Mrs. Nice Guy" and about 20 minutes later her husband got home from doing the shopping. Mr Nice Guy speaks enough English to get by and was happy to sit around with his patrons in the evening and constantly fill your glass with Asahi or Sake. If he doesn't know what to say his Casio phrase computer is not far away and the language barrier actually becomes distant and fairly enjoyable.

The place is "old" but not shabby, its tatami floors for the rooms and breakfast are in excellent condition and its carpets, though lacking style are clean (likely due to the fact that you'll have your shoes by the front door from the minute you enter!). As a solo 21 year old I guess this all seems a bit bland but in spending my nights chilling with the other guests playing cards and conversing with Mr Nice Guy the stay was relaxing, and lets face it, nozawa onsen isn't exactly the right place to be if you want to have a party. In saying that, the locals do have cheap booze which I certainly took advantage of each and every night. (Primed with Asahi from the lodge this meant a few chilly but warm walks home.)

The bedrooms are all quite large and would certainly fit a family, but as a solo there was more room than I could have needed, the futons are comfortable once I piled 4 of them, but that's probably due to my weak western sleeping rituals. The rooms were always comfortable, I was only cold one night when the snow was so heavy we walked around the corner for dinner, of course there is a heater in the room and a traditional table with heat lamp underneath for your legs if you're sitting at your laptop.

The location is on the outskirts of town, it takes 10 minutes to walk to the centre, though not particularly grueling due to the heated roads it was a hassle occasionally. Anything you might want is relatively close by, a small restaurant around the corner serves nice japanese food with tatami seating at around 500Y a dish, a small butcher shop + some limited convenience store style products is at the bottom of the road about 2 minutes away and the ski lifts were about 2 minutes away as well, though up the hill. This is not ski in/out but close enough that it isn't really a bother. The layout of the village is such that there are 3 main lift bases, karasawa is the closest to Aitoku, this is largely a beginners groomer, but a short lift and ride down an access slope will get you to the main gondola (with access to the peak) in about 5 minutes all up. If you are a beginner, karasawa is generally quite empty compared to the other beginner slopes so its a nice place to have to yourself and usually has some powder to the sides if you want to get a feel for it without going into the more difficult runs.

Aitoku has a roomy drying room and a few stools for boots, pretty standard.

The bathroom for men (I'm unsure of the ladies, I think it may have been refurbished more recently) was Japanese style, the door can be locked, but there are multiple showers in the room itself, there are generally few enough guests that you won't have a problem with sharing, or I didn't after 6 nights. The bathroom itself has a drying room with faux bamboo mats, you then step into a fully tiled room which has about 4 shower heads in it and a small Japanese style bath. The showers have temperature gauges on them and are fairly aged but more than sufficient, the bath however is brilliant. Though its temperature seemed to vary occasionally it was always quite warm, the water flowed from a rock in the corner of the room and it was probably about a meter deep like a tiny swimming pool. This was much like an onsen, but a little bit different (or at least I believe it was because the water was actually clear) it was exceptional after snowboarding (or skiing, if that's your thing) for a full long day. The only issue with the bathroom is the "opening time", I believe in the morning it is "open" for a couple of hours, and in the evening it is open from 4.00pm to 10.00pm. I assume this is to conserve power or water as outside of these times the water for the "onsen" wasn't running which meant it was cold. Mr Nice Guy explains these rules when you arrive, essentially it is much like a B&B, as his family lives there and I think the hours give them time to prepare for the day without clashing with the guests. I think the bathrooms could do with an update, the men's was a little bit dirty and the lemon tree covered in mold, while "traditional" feeling was a bit erk. In saying that it didn't detract from the stay and the comfort of the onsen was such that it was easy to ignore.

A few extra little tidbits:
• If you're lucky Mrs Nice Guy will make some food for you while you're drinking with Mr Nice Guy in the lobby. We were lucky enough to get food 3 times and included pizza, Gyozas (the best I ate), a Japanese omelet and some other bits an pieces that I can't remember now.
• there is a local onsen within maybe 1-2 minutes walk.
• it only stopped snowing twice throughout my 5 day stay, powder every morning.
• if getting the local busses/train get your luggage delivered, otherwise get the Shinkansen to Nagano and then the direct bus from Nagano to Nozawa Onsen, it's a few dollars more but far easier with suitcases and snowboards.
• get off at Nakao Busstop. This is NOT obvious. As you come into the town, on the left hand side there will be a "butcher shop" and a tall sign for the now bulldozed Big Mouth convenience store. This is where the stop is, at night it is a little more confusing, and I was rescued by some Aussies that had just come into town from Nagano. There is another stop that sounds quite similar to nakao, the bus driver will say the stops out loud, if you ding the bell too early just check with him as you hop off.

From here, walk directly up the hill to the right it is a t-junction. The first left on the road you're walking up has a local onsen on it, the second left has villa Nozawa on it. Aitoku is on the road you are walking up on the right, it has a blue sign with a white dove/pigeon on it. The rest of the sign is in Japanese. It is about 20-30m past the road with Villa Nozawa on it.
• I recommend you request a dinner at Aitoku, Mr Nice Guys mother andwife make it for you and at 1800Y for a Multi-course meal you can't go wrong.

  • Stayed February 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank bruint
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Caloundra
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed January 19, 2013

My family stayed at this Minshuku in January and I have to say that it was the highlight of our trip regarding the accommodation. The hosts were outstanding, the traditional Japanese breakfast was delicious and different every morning, the rooms were large and we slept on futon. Wifi was available in the rooms and there was a great bathtub to soakin after skiing. We were able to virtually ski right back home. Only a 10-20 minute walk into town and numerous restaurants. Highly recommend book directly to the hosts.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Kvoy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed January 3, 2013

Very pleasant stay at Aitoku. The manager is very hospitable and the place is run by his family which made it even warm and cosy. This hotel has a local flavour so it would help if you spoke a bit of Japanese too (but does not matter if you do not). The walk to town is not too far and through local back streets so one would experience a good vibe of the neighbourhood as it might feel a bit more touristy towards the Nozawa town centre. We recommend having dinner at Aitoku too which is especially hearty and good value after a day at the slopes!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank ssjjtt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Aitoku

Property: Aitoku
Address: 6570 Toyosato, Shimotakai-gun, Nozawaonsen-mura 389-2502, Nagano Prefecture
Location: Japan > Chubu > Nagano Prefecture > Shimotakai-gun > Nozawaonsen-mura
Hotel Style:
Ranked #21 of 139 B&Bs / Inns in Nozawaonsen-mura
Number of rooms: 11
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Also Known As:
Aitoku Japan/Nagano Prefecture

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