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“Excellent hotel but more expensive if booking via Rakuten Travel”
Review of Hinanoza

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Hinanoza
Ranked #5 of 47 Hotels / Ryokan in Kushiro
Certificate of Excellence
Bangkok, Thailand
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Excellent hotel but more expensive if booking via Rakuten Travel”
Reviewed January 4, 2012

I stayed in room 407, 601 and 401. Room is very good. Food is good but not the top. Amanoza room is larger than Uminoza room but I think the layout and space of Uminoza room is better than Amanoza room. The view from Uminoza room is better than Amanoza room becuase there is a building near Amanoza room which obstruct the view. Room 407 is the best and cheaper. Service is excellent especially concierge(Ms.Ogawa). She speak good english and willing to help everything. There is free shuttle bus between hotel and Kushiro. I impress this hotel but I am very disappoint about booking with Rakuten Travel.

I have used many agents for hotel reservation such as Agoda, Booking.com, JAPANiCAN etc. All of these agents always offer cheaper price or sometime hotel list price. I made reservation with Rakuten Travel for Akan Tsuruga Bessou Hinanoza hotel in Hokkaido on 23-29 December 2011.

I stayed two nights in Uminoza room. I stayed four nights at Amanoza room.

Hotel list price for Uminoza room is 69,300 Yen for two persons per night but Rakuten Travel sold 79,980Yen. Rakuten Travel sold 10,380 Yen higher than hotel price list to me for 2 night.

Hotel list price for Amanoza room is 77,700 Yen for two persons per night but Rakuten Travel sold 94,500 Yen. Rakuten Travel sold 67,200 Yen higher than hotel price list to me for 4 night.

I could save 77,880 Yen(around USD1,000) if I make booking direct to the hotel.

Hotel price list http://www.tsuruga-g.com/price/price_hinanoza.html

Rakuten Travel price http://web.travel.rakuten.co.jp/portal/my/en_jyouhou_page.main?f_no=37362&f_teikei=&f_flg=PLAN&f_kin=0&f_kin2=&f_heya_su=1&f_kaiin_no=&f_kaiin_tel=&f_hak=&f_tel=&f_nen1=&f_tuki1=&f_hi1=&f_nen2=&f_tuki2=&f_hi2=&f_target_flg=&f_tscm_flg=&f_p_no=&f_custom_code=&f_search_type=&f_camp_id=489310&f_syu=amanoza&f_hizuke=20120104&f_otona_su=2

I knew the hotel list price when I stayed at the hotel so I am very disappoint with Rakuten Travel. I do not expect to get the lowest price from Rakuten Travel but the price from famous agent like Rakuten Travel should be FAIR and RIGHTEOUS. So everyone should be careful to check the price before make booking with Rakuten Travel. It was my mistake to trust and believe their reputation and honor. I have written email about the price to Rakuten Travel but they said they cannot do anything and they still sell that price.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Prawit_WT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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151 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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  • Sleep Quality
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (9)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Hong Kong, China
Level 4 Contributor
22 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed July 7, 2010

Made famous by a Chinese film featuring Ge You and Shu Qi. This is a real gem, Ryokan at its best.

It is located in a remote area in Hokkaido, which is a hassle unless you are driving or coming from Kushiro airport. Train travel would be time consuming, since it is around 1 hour by car from train station.

As soon as you enter the premises, you are met with bells ringing lightly in the background and a sense of tranquillity. The lobby has a good view of the Akan Lake (but that is nothing compared to the view of the Lake view room I chose), and on the side of the lobby, there is an onsen for your tired feet.

The lakeview room is an absolute gem, once through the door to the apartment, there is a hallway that is sensitive to weight, once you step on it, the lights turn on. There is also a toilet room on the side of the entrance hallway.

The view of Lake Akan is fantastic from the tatami sitting room. There is also a separate sitting area with a massage chair, Bose sound system and sofa. The bedroom is also separate from the sitting rooms. There is a second toilet room, and also a private enclosed onsen. The room is very tidy and well equiped. I got there at around 2p.m. and just refused to go out.

On the 6th floor is 2 large indoor onsen baths and also a sauna with heated granite for people to lie on. On the 7th floor there is 1 large indoor onsen bath and 1 open air onsen bath. All of the Onsen baths are stone based (just like the one in the Lakeview room). There are only 25 rooms in this Ryokan, so I was fortunate that both times when I visit the onsen, I was alone. If you get bored with these facilities, you can also ask the front desk and they take you by car (2 min drive) to their sister hotel (a much larger establishment) to try their onsen facilities there.

The sister hotel also has a nice coffee lounge where they serve some great western desserts, and a large souvenir shop with local produce and goods. You don't need to go to the shops outside.

Dinner is on the 2nd floor in private rooms and the Kaiseki banquet was fantastic, even though it is not Carb season, the carb meat boild rice with mushrooms is great, but do leave room for their dessert.

I have been to many ryokans in Japan, Gora Kadan in Hakone, Kagaya in Noto Peninsula, SyuSuien in Ibuzuki, but this one remains on top of my list.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank golfplayer111
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
california
Level 1 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed November 1, 2009

This hotel is the Hina-no-za and is part of a group of hotels owned by the Tsuruga Group. Tsuruga owns another hotel in Akan-ko called the Yuku-no-sato. We were accidentally driven to this hotel from the bus station (they call the hotel to come and pick you up as there are no taxis in this very tiny town). This was due to our lack of Japanese and not realizing that Tsuruga had two hotels here. As we had our itinerary with us, the reception desk was able to get us to the right location (just down the street). Yuku-no-sato is much larger than Hina-no-za and looks to be a very nice hotel. But when you arrive at Hina-no-za (which is the more expensive hotel as the reception desk informed us) you can see a difference right away.

From the outside you can't tell what an amazing experience awaits inside. The entrance takes you down a walkway with the sound of wooden chimes and softly chiming bells. These sounds are triggered as you walk and they set the mood for the lobby of the hotel. The door slides open and you enter into a type of foyer which has a beautifully carved bench and quiet pools. Turning right into the lobby, you are greeted by an attendant kneeling next to the reception desk bowing you a greeting. You are helped out of your shoes to step up onto the reception area and from the point on, you do not wear your shoes in the hotel at all.
As part of check-in, an attendant takes you around the 1st floor to show you the lounge, bar, gift shop, computer room, the foot bath room, the unusual drinking fountain (water comes out of a carved dragon from an underground source) and the yukata room where you pick out yukatas and obis and then escorts you to your room. You then receive an orientation to show you what is available in the room, how to use the TVs (3 of them), how to use the computer, room temperature controls, location of closets, toiletries, toilets (2), refrigerators (2), massage chair and how to use the controls, lighting controls, bathing room, soaking tub room (ours was outside with a view of the lake - and this wasn't even their best room!), bedroom and kitchen area. You will then be asked what time you would like dinner and where dinner will be served.
At our check-in we were also asked if we wanted to attend the Ainu village fire show (very touristy but entertaining even though we didn't understand the language) or if we wanted to take the boat tour around Lake Akan. We decided that we wanted to take in the fire show that evening, paid for the tickets and told what time to come down for the ride to the show and were given discount coupons for the boat tour should we decide to do that later.

Dinner was a fabulous affair with the best seafood we had yet encountered in Japan (and we had had a LOT of amazingly good seafood the whole time we were in Japan!). There were 9 courses, each one a work of art in presentation and absolutely delicious. The timing of each course was paced so that you could take your time and enjoy each bite. The portions were also just right so that you weren't stuffed at the end of the meal. When we finished dinner, our attendant asked us what time we wanted to come down for breakfast in the morning. Breakfast turned out to be another elaborate meal, but not as many courses. Oh, and one more thing, the meals are VERY Japanese. I loved them, but you might want to think about that before committing to having the meal package when booking at this hotel.

After dinner we had time to freshen up and then went down to the lobby to catch our ride to the show. Our shoes were waiting for us and as it was becoming quite cold, the hotel insisted that we take the down jackets that they provide for all their guests, and glad we were to have them.

The Ainu village is very attractive with wooden buildings which may be representive of Ainu culture (though we weren't sure as there isn't any English signage) and numerous totem poles and other wood carvings all around. The show is held in a small arena type section with low wooden benches in a semi-circle facing a stage. To our amusement we were were given thin pads of reflective thermal material to place on the benches before we sat down (they help because it got pretty cold!). There is also a large firepit in the center of the semi-circle of benches. The show starts at 9pm so it is dark enough for the firepit to be lit up in a spectacular moment when an Ainu warrior shoots a blazing arrow into it. This was actually a little bit funny to my husband and myself as all the Japanese tourists "Ahh'ed" on cue! There was singing and playing of Ainu instruments. Some sort of story was being told which I wished we could understand. At the end there was dancing and the audience was encouraged to get up and join in an Ainu dance. We were rather amazed that the Japanese practically rushed up to join in the circle to participate in a type of a line dance around the firepit. But they looked like they were having fun!

Of course, one of our greatest enjoyments during our stay was the onsen experience. As Americans we were uncomfortable with going to a public onsen. But we had our own onsen on a private balcony overlooking the lake. Loved it! This region is simple chock full of geo-thermal activity as are many other areas of Japan. The water flowing into the tub on our balcony was already very hot and required us adding cold water to reduce the temperature to be comfortable. It was amazing to us that this hot water runs 24/7. There is so much hot water running throughout the entire town that many shops have fountains beside the front doors with hot water pouring out. As we're from dry California, all this abundant water is a little astounding.

Getting to Hina-no-za is a bit of an adventure. As we don't speak Japanese it was a challenge. But we found that the Japanese were very willing to help us out. Our method of getting there was by using our JR rail pass and getting all the logistics worked out at a JR ticket office in the Sapporo. We took a train from Sapporo to Kushiro. We then took a bus from Kushiro to Akan-ko. Word of advice, try to travel lighter than we did! We had 4 suitcases and we got good at manuvering around, discovering elevators and escalators. But if I do this again, and I'm planning on it, I'd park my extra luggage in a locker at a station or if I have enough time (you need about 2 days), send them ahead. Trains and buses in Japan don't really accomodate extra luggage. Having said that, the bus drivers we had would help us get our luggage on and off the bus and didn't seem to mind that our luggage took up seating. Travel time from Sapporo to Kushiro - 4 hours. Bus trip from Kushiro to Akan-ko - 2 hours. I would probably check with the hotel the next time as they have a shuttle that goes from the hotel to the Kushiro bus station, but I didn't even think of it this time around. As I said, it was an adventure and a good experience. I might even think about renting a car from Kushiro the next time, but if I had tried that this first time, I think I would have gotten lost!

Another point to think about, Akan-ko is a really tiny town. Other than the Ainu village, the boat tour and a nature walk and eco museum (designed for children but really exceptional!) , oh, and tourist shops, there isn't a whole lot to do here. You'd need to go out of the town to take in some other tours or drive a car. We just enjoyed being able to relax, take in the beautiful area and not have to do anything else.

One last point is regarding reservations. Tsuruga has a website in English, but making the reservations is a little challenging. It requires sending an email to the company. If they can accommodate your dates they will send you an email with a number of attachments to walk you through the process, because you must make your reservations on the Japanese website. I found it easier to print out the attachments (6 pages worth!) in order to navigate my way through the Japanese reservation form. And then I made sure I had a confirmation printout (in Japanese) with me (it turned out handy when we were sent to the wrong hotel).

Hina-no-za is expensive, but my husband and I both felt it was worth it for the level of service, the absolutely beautiful hotel, the fabulous meals. It is a wonderful place to relax and unwind.

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank Pakkmom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hinanoza

Property: Hinanoza
Address: 2-8-1 Akanko-onsen, Akancho, Kushiro 085-0467, Hokkaido
Location: Japan > Hokkaido > Kushiro > Akanko Onsen
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Ski-In / Ski-Out Spa Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Romantic Hotel in Kushiro
#1 Onsen Hotel in Kushiro
#2 Spa Hotel in Kushiro
#4 Family Hotel in Kushiro
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Hinanoza 4*
Number of rooms: 25
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Hinanoza Kushiro, Japan - Hokkaido

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