My wife and I stayed for 5 nights in Feb 2012 for our ski trip in Shiga Kogen.
The hotel is perfectly located in Ichinose
- The bus stop for the Nagano Express Bus, the bus from Yudanaka Station, and the Shiga Kogen Village bus is less than 20m from its doorstep.
- On its ground floor is one of the few convenience stores in town.
- There is a restaurant on the ground floor opposite to the convenience store. It was one of a handful that were open to the public at night during our stay. It served nice noodles and rice dishes at reasonable prices. It also did a very nice Shabu-shabu for 3,000 Yen per person (which we had). Shabu-shabu and Sukiyaki requires booking a day ahead.
- Downhill almost the whole way to the ski lifts. It backs onto the slops so one can ski right back to the lodge (right behind the ticket booth - see map)
Ichinose itself is very centrally located in Shiga Kogen. The slops there have good variety and are well suited for both family and beginners. We found it very easy to ski from it and back to other parts of Shiga Kogen - just one word of caution. While skiing to Hasuike direction from Ichinose has "Green" route options, skiing back requires going on "Black" and "Red/Blue" runs. The last free village bus finishes before the last lifts of the day so one needs to be aware of the time for the last bus if one plans to catch the bus back instead of skiing back.
The staff were very helpful. Yuichi Sato spoke very good English as did one of the staff there. A lady from Perth as well as another guest from HK hurt themselves when we were there and Sato-san sorted them out with the local clinic (and in the case of the lady helped her liaise with the travel insurance company).
It has an in-house tuning shop that will wax your skis/board for free. Handy if required. It also provides all guests with complementary ski/board storage lockers.
However, the hotel is let down mostly by its facilities and to a limited extent service.
The worst was uncomfortable bedding. We had the Japanese room. This is our second ski trip to Japan and the forth time we have stayed in a Japanese room sleeping on futons. All the futons we have slept on before Villa Ichinose were very comfortable. The futons at Villa Ichinose were very thin and very hard. I had to layer 3 futons and my wife 4 futon on top of each other to get some reasonable cushioning (see photo). One of the other guests layered 7 together! They do have Western rooms available (not sure how good or bad the mattresses are).
Villa Ichinose indicated that they only perform partial room services on a daily basis. We didn't mind if the beds weren't made every day or if we didn't get fresh sheets every day. However, we did expect the following daily, which was not the case.
- Toilet was not cleaned daily
- Hot water for tea was not replenished daily
- Dirty tea cups were not replaced and tea bags not replenished daily
Food. We were disappointed by the full board. Both the breakfast and dinner buffets were very simple - much simpler than what we had at Diamaru in Myoko Kogen (similar grade of Japanese run hotel at a ski resort) and had very little variety. The saving grace here is that there are a number of restaurants in the village open to the public. My recommendation is not go full board and dines out (such as dinning in the restaurant located on the ground floor of Villa Ichinose).
For first time visitors who don’t speak Japanese I would recommend Villa Ichinose despite its faults, predominately due to its English speaking owner (or son of the owner), has its own in-house onsen (not all the lodges do), and central location. For my wife and I, we plan to become more fluent in our Japanese before visiting Japan again so that we can overcome the language barrier. If we visit Shiga Kogen again while we are likely to stay in Ichinose town we most likely will stay in a different lodge.
- Also Known As:
- Villa Ichinose Japan/Nagano Prefecture - Yamanouchi-Machi