Take a combination of heavy sliding doors, thin walls and wooden floors, and you have the perfect recipe for a noisy hotel. That is what you get at Ichinoyu Shinkan.
We spent two nights here in October 2010. The first night we were kept awake until after midnight by people moving around above - the noise only stopped when we asked the reception to help. The next morning we asked to move to the top floor, and thought it should be fine when told that all the other guests were leaving - but no, the staff said all the rooms had already been "allocated" for the next night, so we had to stay put. And we endured another bad night's sleep - except this time the noise began at 4am, and carried on until breakfast. And I don't mean vague sounds in the distance - when the people next door shut their metal bedroom door, it sounded like a wooden mallet being slammed on the wall next to my head.
And it is such a shame, because (as other reviews point out) there is a lot to like about the hotel. The rooms are comfortable, nice and clean. The outdoor bath was real fun, we lazed about in it for hours. Food was pretty good - dinner really nice, and breakfast okay. Best of all is the location - on a hill above Hakone Yumoto station, a very quiet neighborhood with hardly any traffic. The local train station of Tonosawa is fantastic - reached by a lovely walk along a hillside path, with giant green and black spiders hanging in the trees, a raging river in the valley below, and a lovely little shrine on one platform (!) - this is one of the few train stations I have seen where there is no road access.
The staff were mixed. There was a young man who tried to be helpful, and the lady in the restaurant was nice. But as other reviewers have noted, the main gentleman at the reception was very brusque and offhand - unlike anybody else we met in Japan. (He wouldn't let us check out 15 minutes late, for example, despite the awful sleep we'd had, and got very uptight when we asked for a bit of flexibility).
So my rating is based on the fact that, if you can't sleep at night, a hotel isn't much use. Do visit the Hakone region, which is beautiful and a lot of fun. Do stay near Tonosawa if you can, as it has real charm (there are other hotels nearby). But avoid Ichinoyu Shinkan, unless you have experience of sleeping through thunderstorms and earthquakes.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Ichinoyu Shinakn is located in a quiet neighborhood surrounded by beautiful mountain view. There are 15 rooms with private out door bath.Please enjoy high quality "Tonosawa" hot spring any time you want. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Tonosawa Ichinoyu Shinkan Hotel Hakone-Machi