The hotel was tastefully decided, despite being a little small. We went as two couples, and decided to try different rooms. We stayed in the ginryu room, while our friends stayed in the "western-style" room. While the rooms and surroundings were decent, I was a little let down by the food and service, which did not quite live up to my expectations for a luxury ryokan. The baths were fantastic the first day, but then the second day they turned the heat down!
Overall, I would recommend staying here for the cheaper rooms, as the more expensive rooms did not seem worth the money.
Rooms: The accommodations were actually quite impressive; the ginryu room had a separate dining room and table, with an outdoor shower and bath. My friends were actually upgraded to a larger "western-style" room, and it had a sizable tatami space for tea / coffee, and a very large bathroom. The rooms were clean and tastefully decorated, and maintained fairly well despite some furniture starting to look faded. The ginryu room was bigger and nicer, but also came at a cost of almost double a twin room.
Surroundings: The ryokan was very nicely decorated, with the central theme being a small pond in the center of the structure. We were unlucky to have missed snow, but the premises were beautiful nonetheless. My primary complaint was that the grounds were fairly small, but a very nice touch was at dinner, when they lit up a torch right in front of our window! It was quite a show and illuminated the garden nicely.
Baths / Onsen: For those who like onsens, the first night was perfect. Hot (but not scalding) and invigorating, it really helped relieve tension and stress, and was a precursor to a good night's sleep. On the second day however, for some inexplicable reason they turned the heat down, which made it much less enjoyable! Free milk in the mornings outside the baths was a great treat too!
Arrival / Transfers: They offered pick-up services from either train station, which was very much appreciated after a long day's worth of getting to Nikko! Also, they offered transportation / transfers to the train station or major tourist attractions during the day, and even picked us up after we were done sightseeing.
Free wifi: =)
(Less than perfect) Service: Although above par for normal hotels, the service seemed a little lacklustre to me. I have stayed at a number of ryokans in the past, and I daresay that most luxury Japanese ryokans offer a level of service unparalleled to any conventional hotel in the rest of the world. From the politeness and the professionalism, to our hosts' acute attention to detail, extraordinary service is supposed to be a hallmark of luxury ryokan hotels. There was definitely a degree of that missing here, which unfortunately has led me to put service as a "negative".
(Less than perfect) Food: Breakfast and dinner were included. Again, by any account, I cannot say that the food was horrible. However, it simply did not live up to my experiences at other ryokans. The menu was fairly limited, compared to the kaiseki feasts usually expected at luxury ryokans. Freshness, execution and creativity were middling or above average at best, and was quite disappointing.
Wifi connectivity: There was free wifi, but connectivity in the rooms were limited at best. Connectivity was fine in the lobby and common areas though.
Value (especially for the Ginryu rooms): Overall, the ginryu rooms were nicer, but did not seem to offer much value at a price double that of a western-style twin room. For the food and service, the ryokan was definitely an above-average ryokan, but cannot be considered a luxury one.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This is a secluded Japanese building in Nikko. Wrapped in lush nature with a theme of "the hospitality of a garden with four seasons", Okunoin Hotel Tokugawa waits to greet everyone. Each room has its various charms such as the open-air spa room, the seasonal themed room, and the water themed villa. When shown to you room, hot water will be poured into a pot with flowering tea. Upon contact the splendid scent will expand to fill the room. At the rich "colors of the seasons" open-air spa, unwind your body and mind in the water of Nikko hot springs as you stretch out. Have the local cuisine of Nikko and seasonal ingredients for your meal. Hot things are served hot and cold things are served cold. All dishes are made with a desire for hospitality. The 4-season garden that changes colors and appearance together with the time. We hope you enjoy the easy flow of time here. ... more less
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