It has been 2 months since arriving home from our skiing trip in Nozawa Onsen yet the memories are still fresh in our minds as are the names and faces of the lovely staff we met whilst staying at Kawamotoya (KT).
We had a few options for accommodation in Nozawa but decided in KT as they had just undergone a renovation in Dec 2011. The prices were very reasonable as compared to other properties and inclusive of breakfast - which is quite common in Japanese ryokans / hotels.
KT is a ryokan which is a traditional Japanese hotel with tatami mats and futons as beds - the futons are thin but there is a plentiful supply so we just stacked ours high and created comfy pillow tops - our bodies thanked us after a day of skiing. KT has a communal Onsen for bathing, yes that's right, you separate male and female, but that didn't worry us as we were the only guests in the lodge for the week days. The weekend (sat night) are the busiest with locals travelling fromTokyo for their ski weekend.
The best part of our day (apart from the skiing and huge amounts of snow) was coming home to that hot hot hot Onsen and soaking the tired muscles.
The staff and their friendliness made this trip the most memorable. Nari Kwan, Misoey and the management went out of their way to ensure we had a great stay - this became most evident when at the breakfast table. We were able to choose from a western or Japanese breakfast the night before and request the time we would time to eat it. I alternated between the western and Japanese and it was nice to have variety. The western breakfast, very loosely termed at that, consisted of eggs, salad (yep salad), potato wedges (freshly made), a tasty fruit salad with home made yoghurt and a plentiful supply of fresh juice and coffee. They were very keen on getting our feedback on each dish which, I suspect, was due to a new chef they had employed to coincide with their refurbishment. We did suggest that most western breakfasts have bread and our requests were met in that they brought us English muffins and freshly backed breads without request for the rest of our stay (6 nights).
The japaneses breakfast consisted of fish, rice, miso soup and an Onsen cooked egg. ( my fave to mix in with rice). And the acquired taste Natto - fermented bean curd - I dare you to try it.
KT was only s short walk up the hill to the carpet and I really would have no hesitation on going back there. There is a lot of choice in Nozawa but if you want a memorable traditional Japanese ryokan experience that has a modern a tasteful edge then definitely stay here.
I hole the powder is as good for you as it was for us! Oh and make sure you see the snow monkeys.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Kawamotoya is a traditional ryokan located in Nozawa Onsen. A total of 13 public hot-spring bath houses, known as "Sotoyu", are a common asset of the local villagers who welcome visitors to share them. One of them, "Kumanotearai no yu", is just next to Kawamotoya and is famous for its effects on the beauty of women's skin.This ryokan has 23 guests rooms; 8 guestrooms have their own private bathroom and all have a private toilet.From the top floors on the East side of the Kawamotoya guests have a beautiful view of the Mt Kenashi and its winter ski slopes, while on the West side of the Kawamotoya guests will enjoy the panorama of the mountain range across the Chikuma valley.The restaurant TAMON is a unique concept within a ryokan, Popular with hotel guests and outside visitors alike, It offers avant-garde variations on classical culinary techniques, using the best local ingredients available. Our chef Yasunaga personally selects fresh mountain herbs, village rice and vegetables, local fish and meat, wild deer and boar, bakes home-made bread, and makes your experience of Nozawa Onsen complete. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Kawamotoya Japan/Nagano Prefecture