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“You wont be disappointed.”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Snowbird Pension

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Snowbird Pension
Ranked #9 of 365 B&Bs / Inns in Hakuba-mura
Perth, Australia
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“You wont be disappointed.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 March 2014

While looking around for last minute accommodation, I stumbled upon the Snowbird Pension. It had some of the highest rated reviews for any reasonably priced accommodation I had seen. Across trip advisor, booking.com and others, no one had one bad word to say about this place; surely it couldn't be that good right? It was.

I honestly don't have any complaints about Snowbird, from the rooms, to the location, to the food, everything was pretty much perfect. The hosts, Vaughan and Mayumi (and little Shuma) did everything to make me feel as comfortable as possible. I was particularly spoilt as I was the only visitor there at the end of my trip, going as far as taking me on a day trip to the Cortina ski resort at the other end of Hakuba valley. Nothing you ask is too much trouble for them, need a lift to the ski hire place, shops, or home from somewhere? Never a problem. They will truly make you feel like part of the family. I began to feel guilty by the end of my stay by how well I was being treated.

The rooms were spacious, especially given the price, and by Japanese standards. Plenty of room to spread out if you need to. Not much in each room but that was hardly a problem. Each room has its own adjustable heater which you can adjust to your liking. As others have said the bathrooms are small but they have everything you need.

The location was perfect in terms of proximity to everything you need, and remoteness to keep everything cosy and quiet. There is a bus stop just 50-100m up the road (1-2min walk) to take you to the main plaza (Escal plaza) at the ski fields. These run regularly, and even if you miss your bus, the plaza is only a pleasant (even in snowboard boots) 10 minute walk away anyway. Local restaurants are a little bit further away but the town is small enough so everything is within a 10-20min walk.

Finally, the food. Vaughan is an amazing chef with every meal I ate seeming to improve on the last. I had to make a vow to myself to eat out once or twice as every day the menu looked too good to pass up. While it’s not the cheapest option to eat in, it is still very reasonably priced compared to the rest of the town, and the food is always top notch.

The Snowbird Pension is easily the best accommodation I've stayed in aboard, boasting sizable rooms, exceptional service, amazing food, excellent facilities and a great location. You seriously can't get much better than this.

Room Tip: All are good.
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
2 Thank Beau M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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53 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (9)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Mooloolah Valley, Australia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 March 2014

The host with the most, this could be true of Vaughan and Mayumi. We have had the absolute pleasure of stress free holidaying at the Snowbird Pension 3 years out of the last 4 and there is a very good reason for this. There are many fantastic places in the world to go skiing and no doubt Japan and indeed the Hakuba valley is of the very best. You get consistant snow quality great ski fields and good value for your dollar. The reason however we have retuned to the Snowbird Pension 3 holidays in a row is more about the way we are looked after by Vaughan and Mayumi than the fantastic skiing we have enjoyed while we have been there. Vaughan, Mayumi and now their little boy Shuma welcome us into their home like family. They go to great lengths to make us feel a part of the Pensions activities and the story telling that goes on of an evening over a beer or 2 while enjoying one of Vaughans kitchen creations is something all travellers to this area shoud experience. In saying this Vaughan and Mayumi are also most helpful assisting with bookings to other destinations when you feel like dining out or enjoying other local experiences such as the snow monkeys, the castle at Matsamoto, Nagano's temple or travel and other bookings required for destinations such as Tokyo. This trip we were with Vaughan and Mayumi for 3 weeks and as always it was a shame to leave as, will we be back? Regardless of the season should we be back in Japan we will certainly stop in at the Snowbird as part of our journey and you should too.

Room Tip: Any room will be a good room.
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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Alistair S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brisbane, Australia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 March 2014

I cannot recommend this Pension highly enough. The service from Mayumi and Vaughan is fantastic. Prompt pick up and drop off to train or bus, organising ski hire, transport to Happo, and trips to the pharmacy all done with a smile. Mayumi is a treasure trove of info on day trips and translating anything you need. The dinners are fantastic, with Vaughan doing a new three course dinner each night, plus home made bread as well, a foodies delight. The pension is in a quite corner of the village which means a great nights sleep. The room was large, comfy bed, and has own ensuite and individual heating. After sking you can ski back to the pension front door from Goryu. I will definitely stay here again. Thanks for a great holiday Vaughan, Mayumi and of course little Shuma.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank Japan_aholic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
16 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 February 2014

Yes, it's all true - Snowbird is the best and what everybody else says about Vaughan, Mayumi and their little boy Shuma is all true! They are a lovely family and perfect hosts. Vaughan's meals are fab (although we did trek out a couple of times to Canada Tei and the new steak restaurant down the road). Mayumi is delightful and nothing is too much trouble. We had the corner room with two big windows overlooking the front of the house and the forest at the side. Beautiful big room, big bed, TV, heating, ensuite - just lovely :) The free bus picks you up from the corner about a 2 minute walk and takes you up to Escalplaza which is where all the ski hire, lifts etc all start from. However, we were very spoilt as Vaughan and Mayumi drove us all over the place most of the time! Restaurants are a 10 minute walk away - very pleasant stroll, just remember to rug up warm! Breakfast was as much or as little as you liked - beautifully presented and delicious. The Onsen was absolutely delightful and never any problem to use it anytime. They have a booking system but we never had to wait at all. Perfect end to a skiing day. In short, it was all round excellent and we will definitely go back. Enough said :)

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank GoochiePoochie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 February 2014

There is so much to say about this lovely pension/lodge in Hakuba Goryu. Our nine night stay was made special by our hosts Vaughan, Mayumi and Shuma who went out of their way to make us feel welcome, enjoy our stay and our Japan skiing experience. Special touches like having dinner when it suited us, picking us up and taking us to the bus station, taking us to and introducing us to the ski hire place (where we got a substantial discount), dropping us off at the bus stop for Hakuba Cortina, taking us to the fire festival, joining us for a ski and telling us the best runs were all part of the service.

Located back from the ski runs in a forested part of Hakuba Goryu, Snowbird Pension was quiet and a wonderful place to relax. We were so impressed with Vaughan’s cooking (delicious three course meals and a new menu every night) that we only ate out once to enjoy a sumptuous okonomiyaki at Canada Tei (the hosts are wonderful). The shuttle bus to Escal Plaza made it easy to get onto the slopes in the morning and the home trail back to the lodge was an easy run home at night.

With only seven rooms, this family run lodge is intimate, comfortable and clean. Our room was cleaned daily and bed linen changed every three to four days. With English and Japanese spoken, language was not a barrier and Vaughan and Mayumi were able to attend to our every need. We cannot speak highly enough of Snowbird Pension and its hosts Vaughan, Mayumi and Shuma. If you are looking for a quiet, intimate and relaxing experience, this is the place for you.

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Father_Daughter_Aust
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Queensland Australia
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 February 2014

This is the best place to stay in Hakuba! Vaughan & Mayumi go above and beyond the call of duty with their delightful B&B. Vaughan provides a delicious three course meal on request. Breakfast is as big as you want it with cereals, juices, fresh fruit, home made breads & several hot breakfast options. Mayumi provides a cheap laundry service & they will even take you to the ski hire.
Rooms are super clean, comfortable and cheap. Don't miss Snowbird Pension, it is pure gold!

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Deb G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Southport, Australia
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 February 2014

This was our first trip to Japan/Goryu. From the moment Vaughan picked us up from the bus stop we knew we had picked the right place. Vaughan took us into town on the first day to buy snow shoes, nothing was too much trouble. A very friendly relaxed atmosphere, my wife commented that she felt like family. Mayumi booked us into a local resturant for dinner on one night where only the locals go,was an amazing experience and the walk home in the snow was magical. They stay was finished off with Vaughan getting up early to take me on a sunrise ski. Dont know of any other lodge owner who would do that. The Private hot tub/room, was a daily highlight, no need to leave for the local onsens. I would highly suggest that if its your first time to the area, this is indeed the best place to start from. I could write more, my advise just book. Hope to be back next year. Manfred & Donna

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank manfred K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Snowbird Pension

Property: Snowbird Pension
Address: 22272-3 Kamishiro, Kitaazumi-gun, Hakuba-mura 399-9211, Nagano Prefecture
Region: Japan > Chubu > Nagano Prefecture > Kitaazumi-gun > Hakuba-mura
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Ski-In / Ski-Out
Hotel Style:
Ranked #9 of 365 B&Bs / Inns in Hakuba-mura
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Snowbird Pension is a small 7 room B&B that offers a personalized service. All of the 7 rooms are ensuited for your comfort with a choice of western rooms or traditional Japanese rooms. Snowbird is situated in a quiet area of Goryu village with easy access to the ski fields and local bars and resturants. For breakfast a Full continental breakfast is provided, also enjoy a fresh cooked breakfast(optional) ( dinners are optional ). ... more   less 
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