We stayed at Daiichi Takimotokan for 2 nights while on our 5 night jaunt through Hokkaido. It was an experience, especially since we had stayed in a Japanese Onsen before.
First impressions count. The lobby is grand, but a little dated. We had a local guide that helped us through the registration process and other arrangements, so that was useful as the staff spoke little to no English. We had also been briefed by our guide on Onsen-etiquette, so that at least we were not too in the dark. Japanese hotels do not have bell-hops; expect to roll your luggage up to your room yourself!
Rooms were a tatami- style. In the day, the room is a dining area. By nighttime, the area is converted to sleeping quarters with foam mattresses that is unrolled and a heavy down feathered quilt provided. One side of the pillow is buckwheat and the other side is foam. The room is a bit small, so expect to squeeze around if you have lots of luggage. The hotel can install single beds for those not used to sleeping on the floor. We thought the tatami rooms were a unique part of a Japanese ryokan.
Local TV stations only; don't expect BBC or CNN. Rooms have heating, and the windows do open.
Note that the rooms are not designated smoking and non smoking. It's the luck of the draw. Also, we thought the room had a faint musty smell, but we realized later after going to the Onsen that it was the sulphur from the volcano that the hotel sits on!
The toilet is typical Japanese. The shower is an enclosed fiberglass affair with a bathtub and a standing shower area complete with stool and wash basin. The sink area is small but useable even with lots of face washes, shaving kits and what-nots. The toilet has the usual back-side washing implements that you would expect from a local hotel.
The indoor pool was great for the kids and my son enjoyed it very much. The pool is heated. There is a long slide that my kid enjoyed very much. Bring swimwear, or rent or buy a pair from the hotel. the pool is part of the Onsen area.
There are about 7 hot spring baths to choose from. One should clean oneself thoroughly at the bathing station before going into the hot springs. Expect to go into the hot spring in only a small 'dish cloth'. No swimming costume is allowed. The hair and skin products in the Onsen was also first-rate. We met a Hokkaido native who was staying at the hotel and enjoying the Onsen. It is by far one of the most popular hotels for the locals.
Dinner is taken in your room, 'Kaiseki' style. There is about five courses and the kimono clad ladies will bring the flood to your room one course at a time. This is good fun and with some sake, the meal goes down well. The food was good quality and we were very full after the meal.
Breakfast is taken in a huge communal hall. A large local buffet spread is lined up along a long wall. Pick your dishes and put them on the plate on our tray. This is just like living in an university college. Lots of half-awake people in their PJs, or in the Japanese robes come down direct from the warmth of their beds to meet the breakfast cut off time of 9am.
The hotel is close to convenience stores and local ice cream joints. There is a main street which we walked down and up in the cold blowing snow.
Don't get me wrong about this hotel. It is quite quaint, very Japanese, and good for Onsen loving people. But in the whole scheme of things from a Western perspective and from my other hotel experiences, this is an average hotel. Very little English is spoken by the staff, so you should make the arrangements through a local English speaking tour guide or through a Japanese friend. Also, Tatami style rooms and walking around naked in the onsen may not be for everyone.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Where Onsen Heaven meets Hell Valley, Dai-ichi Takimotokan extends a warm Hokkaido welcome. At Dai-ichi Takimotokan you step into the very special world of the Japanese onsen ryokan. A world of hospitality that extends a warm welcome, steeped in over 150 years of history. Where active volcanoes feed healing onsen waters, beautiful natural vistas signal the changing seasons, and refined Japanese cuisine is made from the freshest Hokkaido produce. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Daiichi Takimotokan Hotel Noboribetsu
- Dai-Ichi Takimotokan Noboribetsu, Hokkaido