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Reviewed March 20, 2019 via mobile

It’s a good relaxing place, but need early arrive in order to enjoy all the facilities. Staff are nice, and the tram is nice.
Drive better than take train and shuttle due to it located at little bit far away from Tokyo.

Date of stay: March 2019
Trip type: Traveled as a couple
Thank choiwah
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hoshino_Resorts, お客様担当マネージャー at Hoshino Resorts KAI Kinugawa, responded to this reviewResponded March 25, 2019

Dear choiwah,

Thank you for taking the time to review Hoshino Resorts KAI Kinugawa.
We are very happy to hear that you were able to relax during your stay and that you were satisfied with our staff and facilities.
In KAI Kinugawa, you can enjoy a peaceful nature escape from the city.
Thank you for your suggestion, our guest can get 15% discounted car rental when they book through the KAI official website.

Thank you again and we welcome you to travel around Japan and to stay with us again in the near future!

Sincerely,
Guest Relations Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 2, 2018 via mobile

Excellent place to stay for spa. Very caring staff. Excellent japanese food. Nice Onsen. Beautiful autum leaves in the hotel garden. Gorgeous architecture and garden. Top notch rooms. The hotel’s monorail gives somewhat a James Bond-touch.

Date of stay: November 2018
Trip type: Traveled solo
Thank janliechti2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hoshino_Resorts, お客様担当マネージャー at Hoshino Resorts KAI Kinugawa, responded to this reviewResponded December 4, 2018

Dear janliechti2018,

Thank you for taking the time to share a review of KAI Kinugawa! It is great news to hear that you had a pleasant stay in our care, and that you could enjoy the beautiful colors of the season as well as our various amenities. We continually strive to provide authentic getaways from everyday life featuring authentic Japan as well as modern comfort. Thank you again for your kind review, and we hope to have the opportunity to serve you again on your next trip!

Sincerely,
Guest Relations Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 29, 2018

We stayed 2 nights for quick getaway. I wish not to write bad about my favorite Hoshino hotels but this hotel is away from my expectations as one of the leading luxury hotel resorts.

Resorts:
As you park the car there's beautiful entrance and guest are welcomed to use cable car to front entrance. This is beautiful approach and I was very happy with it. Guest may chose to walk the stairs and trail to the front desk. I personally loved this small trails, it was well lit and beautiful even at evening time.

Distance to Nikko Toshogu was about 30min drive. You do need a car to get around if you'd like be efficient. We rented a car from NasuShiobara station and it's about 1hr nice drive. 35min drive to Nikko Toshogu. For Kinugawa Onsen down town is very nice easy 10min walk and we enjoyed beautiful walk and view of gorge.

Room:
We booked a room with outdoor bath. View is ok, from 2nd floor you only can see the garden but it was beautiful(no river views). There's bedroom with 2 twin beds (can be put together as king), medium sized Tatami room with low 3 seater sofa, balcony with 2 chairs and small tub. Room/Tub was much smaller than I thought. I stayed in many Ryokan with private tub but this was the smallest I've ever seen. Twin beds might be ok for small Japanese, but for us as American we expected to be 2 full or 2 queen. We stayed Kai Aso in May and room was at least 70% more larger and mattress was way bigger, so as tub.

Shower room was nice overlooking views of garden. Toilet/Vanity is in same room, and it was very inconvenient. No double vanity. Morning time wasn't relaxing getting ready.

Also, room amenity was missing: Shower Cap, Rasor kits, Washclothes, not even body towels to wash your body, No Q-tips, No mouthwash. Only 2 bath towels and 2 hand towels total in room. Even 1/4 price business hotel like Tokyu Inn, Unizo, Solariar, Hyatt Centric has more amenities than this hotel.

Food:
1st day dinner was excellent. 2nd day: they changed the menu for 2nd night stay. Service was much slower than first day. Towards the end they'd supposed to make zosui (rice dish mix with eggs and broth). But nobody came to attend at least for 15min, I asked twice before we decided to leave the table without getting deserts. It was Monday night and it wasn't even busy day.

Quality/presentation was beautiful. But 2nd night's dinner: even it's different menu, ingredients are almost the same. Just changed the form and same fish, same beef. There's only 2 desserts to chose from so we ended up having same desserts for 2 days in a row. This was very disappointing.

Entertainment:
Kai Aso's milk tasting was very interesting and entertaining but this music entertainment was very boring and rather not to have at all. I respect local culture, Tochigi/Nikko has beautiful culture and farming, they have to come up with better idea.

Bath:
Public bath has nothing special features. It's just one rectangular bath indoor and one smaller rectangular bath outside, that's all. I knew how it looks from web sites but it was kind of boring.

Massage:
One of the male therapist speaks full English and very social. He was very good at Tsubo massage and worth every penny. No spa room, so massage is in your room.

This has beautiful setting and architecture but it is missing software. I really appreciate the staffs individually and I know they didn't try to have bad service intentionally. But I really think Hoshino should train the employees and check the software well for this price. I think most of the guest who pays this high price will expect more and this hotel is not serving well for the price, I think.

I love Kinugawa-onsen as it's proximately distance to Tokyo. It's lovely Onsen town. I love Hoshino resort's taste and design, but if software/service is will not worth anything for me to stay. I know they've trained to use nice words how to talk etc, but core part is missing I thought. This is beautiful hotel and I really would like to see the improvements.

Date of stay: October 2018
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank Miracosta
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hoshino_Resorts, お客様担当マネージャー at Hoshino Resorts KAI Kinugawa, responded to this reviewResponded November 6, 2018

Dear Miracosta,

Thank you for taking the time to write such a thoughtful and detailed review as well as share your beautiful photographs. First, we would like to sincerely apologize that we were unable to meet your expectations as your favorite brand and for any inconveniences you may have experienced during your stay. We also appreciate your sincere comments on various aspects of our resort, including the room layout and size, amenities, and available activities. Your honest thoughts regarding our dining option variety and service time have also been duly noted and shared with the rest of the staff. While we regret that you had a less-than-favorable experience, we are nevertheless glad to hear that you did enjoy the beautiful setting of the ryokan, the nature views, the massage service, the first night's dining, as well as easy access to nearby sightseeing. As you mentioned, our services indeed strive to provide a local, authentic experience for our guests while offering the highest standard of modern comfort. Comments like yours help us as we continue improving our product, and while we fell short of your expectations this time, we do hope to have the opportunity to serve you again soon to show you just how we are evolving.

Sincerely,
Guest Relations Manager

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Reviewed October 3, 2018

Getting to the hotel was easy with GPS, and once we've parked the car, we took the cool cable car up to the hotel that's located atop a hill.

Once we're up there, we were greeted by the the beautiful lobby and spectacular landscaped garden. Check-in was efficient. The whole atmosphere and decor was modern Japanese, which was tasteful, elegant and welcoming throughout.

Both our rooms have their own outdoor onsen (huge plus!) at the balcony overlooking the quaint forest. The spacious room has a nice layout, cozy separate living room with sofa, and comfy beds on tatami floors in the bedroom area. The huge bathroom has great quality amenities. Everything in the room was pleasant and accommodating. The design is simple but very pleasing, we've enjoyed the room a lot!

The indoor and outdoor onsen were both clean and comfy. I enjoyed the outdoor onsen more with a nice view of a beautiful landscaped Japanese garden. Yes the onsen wasn't big (the outdoor onsen could probably accommodate 4-5 pax. without feeling too crowded), but both times I was there, there were only 1-2 other guests so I've enjoyed some great me-time there.

There's a tea and coffee area by the lobby where you can just sit and relax, we've spent some time there after dinner and the next morning just to chill and admire the garden, nice touch.

Food was good and adequate, but not great. The kaiseki dinner was nicely presented and ingredients were fresh, but the taste was rather "predictable" and standard. Still, it was a good dinner no complaints. Breakfast was also nice, a traditional Japanese dinner with rice and lots of little plates and condiments, but again, not great. Having been to other Hoshino resorts, I got to say I was expecting a bit more on food and we've definitely had better.

All in all, we've truly enjoyed our stay in this quaint and quality onsen resort, would definitely return if we are in the area again!

Date of stay: May 2018
  • Trip type: Traveled with family
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank greenwheat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hoshino_Resorts, お客様担当マネージャー at Hoshino Resorts KAI Kinugawa, responded to this reviewResponded October 9, 2018

Dear Irene I,

Thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed review of Hoshino Resorts KAI Kinugawa! We are thrilled to hear how much you enjoyed your stay, from the room amenities to the indoor and outdoor onsen, dining options, and surrounding scenery! It is also great to hear that you could find a peaceful escape away from the bustle of everyday life in our care. We also appreciate your honest comments regarding the kaiseki dinner service. Our services strive to provide a comfortably modern, yet authentically Japanese experience for all our guests. Thank you again for your kind words, and we would certainly welcome the opportunity to serve you again on your next trip to Kinugawa!

Sincerely,
Guest Relations Manager

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Reviewed September 28, 2018

The Kai Kinugawa is located near Kinugawa Onsen, up the slope of a mountain above the Kinugawa itself. The hotel is reached by a single-car monorail.

We had a tatami room with a private outdoor bath. The place was impeccably clean and the facilities comprehensive. There was a large-screeen TV but only with Japanese channels; not that one would need to watch TV anyway.

Half-board includes a set breakfast and kaiseki dinner. The food was very good - fresh local specialities. There is no choice, however - fussy eaters beware. Also, those who can't or won't eat Japanese food should note that there is no western food anywhere nearby. Bring your own if you have to.

We came at 15:00 to check in, expecting that there would be something available to eat (which had been our experience in other Hoshino resorts). To our consternation, there was no room service. However, they were very good about it and made us rice balls with pickles, though we had to wait some time. Just a small point to note for arriving guests - have lunch first.

The outdoor bath was the signature feature of the room. In September the leaves of the momiji were just turning - they should be absolutely stunning in October. Unfortunately, the view from our second-floor room was marred somewhat by the intrusive bulk of a modern hotel across the river. It wasn't so bad as the leaves hid most of it; but come winter, the view will be awful. I imagine that the third floor rooms would suffer the ugliness all year round, so be warned.

The staff were friendly and very polite, as one would expect in Japan. However, they have limited foreign language skills. Chinese appears to be more spoken than English.

All in all, a delightful experience, thoroughly to be recommended..

Room tip: Get one on the second floor so that the view is not spoilt by the ugly modern buildings across the river.
Date of stay: September 2018
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank ChangMing
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hoshino_Resorts, お客様担当マネージャー at Hoshino Resorts KAI Kinugawa, responded to this reviewResponded October 2, 2018

Dear ChangMing,

Thank you for taking the time to share such a detailed review of Hoshino Resorts KAI Kinugawa! We are honored that you would recommend our ryokan to others. It is also great news to hear that you enjoyed your stay surrounded by relaxing nature despite some minor inconveniences, and that you found our facilities, meals, and services satisfactory. Your thoughtful feedback on our services and language communication have also been duly noted. Our services continue striving to provide an authentically Japanese, yet comfortably modern experience for all our guests. Thank you again for your review, and we do hope you choose to stay with us again on your next trip!

Sincerely,
Guest Relations Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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