We chose this hotel because it had an attached bath, and English speaking staff. The bath was not needed, used only once, but the staff were very helpful indeed for us first-time visitors to Nozawa Onsen.
We got caught up in the second Feb 2014 snowstorm, and it was good to speak English to someone at the other end to update our (lack of) progress towards Nozawa Onsen. When we got there a day and a half late, they were really most helpful with restaurant recommendations and bookings, giving directions and general info.
We had room 301, which was large by Japanese standards. Furnishing was tatamis and futons, with the usual low table, wardrobe, large flat-screen TV, key safe, hot water dispenser, bun-warming WC, bathroom amenities, yakuta and the short coat that goes over.
We didn't feel at all cramped. We hardly used our bath because the hotel's indoor onsen on the ground floor was so inviting, as were the 4 other public onsens we visited, making use of the handy onsen kits provided by the hotel. The onsen next door, on the left as you leave the hotel, is perfect for the first try of a public onsen. Go in the plastic slippers provided at the hotel entrance, to save hopping around as you take off/put on your footware as you enter/leave the onsen. The door handle to the men's onsen turns to the left to open. The next closest onsen, just round the corner up towards the centre is unbearably hot, even after running cold water into the pool.
Kawamotoya is right on the edge of the town centre and downhill. It is about a 10 minute uphill walk in normal boots without skis to the start of the moving walkway up to the usual starting lifts/gondola (Hikage). A map is very much needed the first time, but you get a hang of the town's layout after a couple of days.
Breakfast starts at 7.30, just nice to catch the start of the travelator and first lifts. There is a good western and Japanese selection, varying slightly from day to day. We did not try the fusion restaurant for dinner, because we lost 2 dinner opportunities from our travel delays.
I would highly recommend this for non-Japanese speaking first time visitors. For our next visit, we will probably try one of the ryokans now that we are more familiar with Nozawa Onsen,
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Kawamotoya is a traditional ryokan located in Nozawa Onsen. A total of 13 public hot-spring bath houses, known as "Sotoyu", are a common asset of the local villagers who welcome visitors to share them. One of them, "Kumanotearai no yu", is just next to Kawamotoya and is famous for its effects on the beauty of women's skin.This ryokan has 23 guests rooms; 8 guestrooms have their own private bathroom and all have a private toilet.From the top floors on the East side of the Kawamotoya guests have a beautiful view of the Mt Kenashi and its winter ski slopes, while on the West side of the Kawamotoya guests will enjoy the panorama of the mountain range across the Chikuma valley.The restaurant TAMON is a unique concept within a ryokan, Popular with hotel guests and outside visitors alike, It offers avant-garde variations on classical culinary techniques, using the best local ingredients available. Our chef Yasunaga personally selects fresh mountain herbs, village rice and vegetables, local fish and meat, wild deer and boar, bakes home-made bread, and makes your experience of Nozawa Onsen complete. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Kawamotoya Japan/Nagano Prefecture - Nozawaonsen-Mura