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“Nikko's best kept secret” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Zen Hostel

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Zen Hostel
Ranked #4 of 28 Speciality lodging in Nikko
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Nikko's best kept secret”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 August 2014 via mobile

This place is a hidden gem. Amazing location with the best swimming spot on the river - with "natural jacuzzi" spots to boot! Scout has really thought this place out. Super fast wifi, amazing hot showers, filling individually home cooked breakfast and great check out time. Scout really makes the effort to personalise your trip. Laid back yet attentive - a very hard balance to get right. This is a place we'll never forget and will definitely come back to.

Stayed August 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank Becky_Ensum
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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84 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
    70
    6
    3
    2
    3
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5
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (16)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 July 2014

Off the beaten track. Away from the crowds at UNESCO, but close enough to get there quickly and easily. I would never stay anywhere else in the Nikko area. Scout is a great host who is happy to help you plan your time in Nikko. If you are here to see some of the countryside and take in a few hikes, this is the place to base yourself. My favourite place to stay in all of Japan.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank SparkAntarctica
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 April 2014

My stay here was simply fantastic. I spent 4 nights here in April and it was the highlight of my Japan trip. The beautiful old building, comfortable, spacious rooms, great breakfast and stunning riverside location are only part of it. I've never met a hostel owner more friendly and eager to help you have a great time than Scout. Want to go hiking? He knows the best trails around and is generous with maps and advice. Need to be picked up/dropped off at a station? He's your guy. Want to know where to get a traditional dinner? He can recommend (and sometimes transport to/from) the best. The atmosphere of the hostel is warm and communal, with all the guests eating, drinking and sharing stories together. If you want to experience Japan 'off the beaten track', then this hostel is for you.

My typical day in Nikko:
After sleeping in one of the spacious and comfortable rooms, you wake up in the morning to the sounds and sights of the river, which runs just behind the hostel. After a cup of green tea or coffee (provided) and a quick check of Facebook (on the super fast wifi, or two communal computers) you sit down to a communal breakfast of blueberry pancakes, english muffins, or maybe a vegetable omelette. You are then driven 25mins to the UNESCO world heritage site and begin your day of exploration of temples and shrines, or maybe hiking in the beautiful countryside. In the evening you're picked up from the train station and driven back to the hostel, where your home made pizza is waiting for you. After a quick shower in the cavernous bathrooms (the building used to be an onsen) you settle in for a few cups of sake with the other guests, then snuggle into your down comforter, ready to do it all again tomorrow!

Room Tip: For maximum privacy (couples?) choose one of the converted railway cars separate to the main buildin...
See more room tips
  • Stayed April 2014, travelled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Kitty R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Antonio, Texas, USA
Level Contributor
45 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 March 2014

Set on a river in the mountains, the Zen Hostel is in a beautiful setting and quiet. The rooms are large and uncrowded. Included breakfast is huge and good. Tea and coffee are free 24 hours.
Great location to start your hiking from. Scout is unbelievable as an owner/host. And this inn is known among the best traveled guests--who were great to stay with.

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank JJJRS5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 October 2013

For me this was the best hostel I stayed in during my stay in Japan.
There's something really relaxing and magical about this place.
It's clean, pretty, spacious, relaxing, comfy, quiet and romantic.
I was in a 4-bed dorm with more solo travelers. Never before was it so easy for me to connect with fellow guests. Everybody loved the place. The dorm room was very spacious with very good and thick mattresses. Everything in the room looked clean and new. The common room has beautiful wooden tables and some music instruments to play with. Scout, the owner is a great and lovely guy. He does everything to make your stay the best all without taking your space or time. If you want he can help you plan your day. Considering all the rides and the quality of the breakfast it is very good value. I recommend this place for anyone.

It is located out of the city centre, but Nikko is so much more than the city centre (there's not much to do there anyway). Better to stay next to the river surrounded by green. Don't worry about the accessibility, there are free pick-ups and drop offs at anytime it seems. Just ring him up.

If I'm ever in Japan again, I will definitely stay there again. I missed out on the pizza, so I'll have to go back!

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Homeboundblues
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York
Level Contributor
93 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 October 2013 via mobile

My wife and I spent two nights in a private room. The room was relatively large by Japanese standards. It had an excellent view through patio doors of the adjacent rocky river. The room is actually a converted container, tastefully renovated and separated from the shared hostel space, so we had plenty of privacy. The room has a private toilet and sink, both located a step outside the sliding patio doors in a separate wc. The toilet, by the way, is a heated Toto...very comfortable during the cool mountain nights of our October stay. We controlled the heat in our room and kept things cozy. The heat pump for the room also acts as air con in the summer.
Scout, our American ex-pat host, was more than eager to provide hiking itineraries for the area, as well as to suggest the most interesting shrines and temples to visit. He cooked an excellent pizza for our first night, and we had our choice of eggs, pancakes or muesli with fruit and yogurt for breakfast. Breakfast is included in the cost of lodging. Scout also picked us up and dropped us off at the centrally located bus/train station for our daily tours. The hostel is located away from the tourist strip, which we appreciated, but if you want to step out of your hotel into the thick of things, then you might want to chose another lodging. We, however, were happy with our riverside location and got to see a side of Nikko that most probably never see. We enjoyed stay.

Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
3 Thank Leonard G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
new york city
Level Contributor
163 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 92 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 October 2013

We stayed two nights at this lovely riverside guest house , with private rooms and dorms , lounge and fridge , tea kettle and spring water for guests. Our host, Scout, couldn't have been more helpful: lending us maps, picking us up at the train station, making wonderful pancakes and pizza for our first evening and the two morning meals. He knows the national park trails, scenic walks and Nikko temple and commercial areas and is so generous with directions and advice. Our private room was very quiet, comfortable and well heated; we had views of the river, ferns, boulders right outside our door. I highly recommend this place for travelers of all ages who want to escape from noise, traffic, cramped spaces or touristy locations.

Room Tip: Dorm is convenient to lounge and showers in this converted spa building; riverside annex is right ne...
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  • Stayed October 2013, travelled on business
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank nancy c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Zen Hostel

Property: Zen Hostel
Address: 2254 Minami Okorogawa | Space Riverhouse, Nikko 321-1353, Tochigi Prefecture
Region: Japan > Kanto > Tochigi Prefecture > Nikko
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi )
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 28 Speciality lodging in Nikko
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 3
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
We are a relaxing and exciting setting on your trip to the sights around Nikko, Japan.Almost everything is western style; beds, tables, chairs, toilets, baths and showers.There are Japanese style furnishings, if you like.There is space for 12, with this including a private 2 person room. ... more   less 
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