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Smile Hotel Otsuseta

Traveller (24)
Room & Suite (17)
Traveller (24)
Room & Suite (17)
Dining (3)
1-13-11 Ogaya, Otsu 520-2144 Shiga Prefecture See on map
Name/address in local language
Free Wifi
Breakfast included
Air Conditioning
Non-Smoking Hotel
Dry Cleaning
Self-Serve Laundry
3 Star accommodation
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26 Nov27 Nov
1 room, 2 adults, 0 children
Standard Room
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Hong Kong, China
Reviewed 9 Nov 2017
Good value for money hotel. Near the JR station. Room was a decent size. Came with a great little breakfast. And the staff continually smile just like the name of the hotel. Stayed here only one night but perhaps we should have stayed longer as Kyoto was way too expensive.
Thank silverthoughts
Sparky B
Reviewed 17 Jun 2017via mobile
Stayed just for one night. Room was small but most in Kapan are. TV and AC were good. Windows were openable which was nice. Good food options nearby. Easy to park nearby which was 800yen for the night.

Would stay again.
Thank Sparky B
Bangkok, Thailand
Reviewed 3 Jan 2017
Hotel in Kyoto during high season is very expensive. This hotel is a bit far from center of Kyoto but it is closed to JR station. It is about 20 minutes to Kyoto station. Hotel is not really clean but it is not much dirty. There is only few breads and egg for breakfast. The awkward experience is you have to return a room key to reception every time when you go out.
Thank bokong
Ron W
Melbourne, Australia
Reviewed 2 Nov 2016
I booked this place when the hotel I had stayed in on a previous trip was three times the price. JR Seta station is a bit over a quarter of an hour from Kyoto and the commute is OK if you don’t mind a Japanese commuter experience (think crowded trains at most times of day, and lengthy peaks). One morning during my stay there were no trains for more than an hour, and loss of service can apparently happen for extended periods on JR lines more than you might expect, so allow plenty of margin if you are planning time critical journeys, such as returning to the airport.

It cost me Y640 for the commute in and out of Kyoto each day, and considering the money I saved on accommodation, it was OK. The station is on the Biwa line; Biwa line trains leave from Platform two at Kyoto station — look for the “Local” sign on your train before you get on. “Rapid” trains might take you someplace else. Stops are announced (listen for “tsugi wa" — next stop is — followed by the name of the station), and also shown on electronic indicators within the carriage, in Japanese and English.

Japanese commuter trains are obviously public spaces, but are also places where people somehow retreat into their private selves. It’s easy to unwittingly become offensive or intrusive by not doing what the Japanese do: refrain completely from talking on the phone or making any other noise which others can hear (headphones, notifications or games that go beep). The only noise that is acceptable is quiet face to face conversation. If you’re with someone, talking quietly into each other’s ear is perfectly fine.

I find one of the most stressful parts of checking into a new hotel is carrying luggage around while looking for the place. Thankfully, this was a very easy place to find. From the platform, take the escalator up to the station concourse and then turn left. Go down the steps and then follow the road around in the same direction that you came down the steps. The road sweeps around and on your left you will soon see the Seta Urban Hotel. Smile hotel is on the opposite side of the road, on the same side of the road that you’re walking on. You’ll find the relatively small entrance almost directly opposite the Seta Urban’s. It really is only a couple of minutes walk from the station.

You’re not in a tourist hotspot, so don’t expect people to speak a lot of English. For the most part, locals don’t have a lot of spoken English ability.

Other posters have commented on the English skills of the staff — OK for checking in and checking out but not necessarily for a lot more than that. I dropped in a pair of pants and a shirt for laundry. Later in the day they were given back to me and it was suggested that I use the coin laundry (Y300, soap supplied) on the second floor instead. OK, I washed the pants but somehow managed to forget the shirt. Then there was a call from reception asking about “cleaning” to which I foolishly managed to reply “yes” - I truly didn't understand what was being asked. Then I became deeply puzzled when I was unable to find the shirt in order to wash it — it had disappeared. It was given back to me at reception a day later with a Y460 bill. After the phone call, the staff had removed the shirt and cleaned it; the communication was confusing, sure, but when I thought about it I realised that what happened was primarily about careful attention to detail and my well-being as a guest.

The small room is like most other Japanese business hotels (think two hooks and some coat hangers on the entry hall wall rather than a wardrobe), but unusually the entrance still requires a metal key, that, like a card, has two uses — entry to the room and electricity for the room. It took me a while to work out that I had to put the key into the internal lock in the room if I wanted to be able to see.

It was also only on my third day here that I realised the door did not lock automatically from the outside when the door shut. Not that this caused me any problems, but I then had to remember to lock the door each time I left the room.

Apart from a double bed, there’s an office chair, a desk, lamp and small TV, plus all the normal accoutrements: electric jug and humidifier etc, and you can help yourself to a trouser press from the hallway.It wasn’t that hard to work out how to boil water despite the jug’s highly detailed instructions being only in Japanese.

The small ensuite contains a deep bath and shower, bidet toilet, etc etc, typical for this type of hotel.

The hotel practically begs guests to come down to its free breakfast, the Japanese version of a western breakfast — think yoghurt, eggs (boiled or scrambled, depending on the day), steamed chicken, potato salad, sausages, pastries, decent self-service coffee from a machine, fruit drink (which I didn’t try). There’s a toaster oven if you want to heat up your pastries, and a microwave. It might not be a de luxe breakfast experience, but it’s a solid start to the day, and it’s convenient to be able to eat in the hotel.

Eating breakfast is also an opportunity to see Japanese business types at the beginning of their work day. There are lots of small tables designed for just one person, or two. In the four days I was in the hotel, I noticed only one other European guest, and a couple of people from other parts of Asia.

The hotel only offers breakfast; lunch and dinner need to be bought elsewhere, although you can use the coffee machine in the late afternoon if you really want. Besides breakfast, I only ate one meal in Seta, and that was from a convenience store. Seta is one of many dormitory suburbs, and not really great eating territory, although I’m aware other posters have found good places.

One advantage of staying near Lake Biwa was that Seta station is just two stops away from the home temple of the poet Basho. The rather small temple is not even 500 metres from Zeze station, and for me was definitely worth the visit. From the temple, a somewhat longer walk takes you down to a park on the lake; the foreshore is very different from what it was in Basho’s day, but still a very relaxing place.

I noticed bicycles in the hotel lobby, presumably for rent. I didn't try them because I was in Kyoto for family reasons and spent most of my time downtown. If I had more time, I would have looked at exploring Lake Biwa around Seta, although I have no idea how practical that might be.

Overall, I would prefer the convenience of a downtown Kyoto hotel (not to mention the convenience of being able to eat in places where English is more readily spoken), but this place might be a good choice at times of high demand and high prices elsewhere.
2 Thank Ron W
Hong Kong, null, Hong Kong
Reviewed 8 Sep 2016
Stayed 2 nights in August for travelling around Shiga. Hotel is 2 minutes walk from JR Seta station very convenient, with a few restaurants around. Apparently this hotel is a bit dated you can tell from the lobby and the fact that you need to use key (not card) for hotel room, was nicely surprised when got to the hotel room as it looks quite modern & renovated. We booked deluxe twin and the room is so spacious, rarely found in Japan hotel, recommend you to pick this room type. Hotel staff is friendly and helpful. Simple breadfast included, and they provide free coffee at the restaurant until around 10 pm.
Thank Zoe-Lum
Parking: 15 Less
Hotel class
Hotel Amenities
Breakfast included
Free High Speed Internet (WiFi)
Air Conditioning
Dry Cleaning
Laundry Service
Non-Smoking Hotel
Refrigerator in room
Self-Serve Laundry
Room Service
Free Parking
Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room
Hotel Style
Best Value
Room types
Non-Smoking Rooms
Hotel class
Hotel Style
Best Value
Room types
Non-Smoking Rooms
Number of rooms
Price range
US$50 - US$128 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Also Known As
Smile Hotel Otsuseta Otsu, Japan - Shiga
Japan > Kinki > Shiga Prefecture > Otsu
Hotel class
Hotel Style
Best Value
Room types
Non-Smoking Rooms
Number of rooms
Price range
US$50 - US$128 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Also Known As
Smile Hotel Otsuseta Otsu, Japan - Shiga
Japan > Kinki > Shiga Prefecture > Otsu
Traveller (24)
Room & Suite (17)
Dining (3)
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Room Tips
"Deluxe twin very spacious yet good price"
8 Sep 2016
Read review
"The rooms are kept too warm - don't be afraid to open the windows."
21 Nov 2015
Read review
"Our 2nd floor room was quiet and near facilities."
20 Apr 2015
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