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“A Piece of History”
Review of Nikko Kanaya Hotel

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Nikko Kanaya Hotel
Ranked #5 of 149 Hotels / Ryokan in Nikko
Certificate of Excellence
New York City
Level 6 Contributor
168 reviews
164 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 257 helpful votes
“A Piece of History”
Reviewed 20 October 2007

We had a hard time getting a room at this historic hotel. When I first called, emailed and faxed about eight months in advance, I was told there was nothing available. But then I got a Japanese colleague involved, she called a travel agent and we immediately were given what they said was the best room in the house ( we wound up in room 122 with great views). We said we didn't want it as it was too expensive, were told we had a free upgrade but then were charged way more than we expected (could have been our fault for not clarifying things). We were also offered a free dinner by the manager (he was a colleague of a colleague) but it wound up being put on the bill and we didn't want to give offense by saying anything so we paid up.. My advice is get everything in writing and make sure you understand the exchange rates.

Otherwise we loved it. The location is up a steep hill (there are stairs you can use if you don't want to walk up the drive way) but many rooms have gorgeous views of the mountains and the Kanaya is only 10 minutes walk to all the main sites. There are little paths on the hotel property, including one which leads up a pretty hill right behind the hotel. We had nice walks in the early morning before the temples were open (they are very crowded, may be best to go late afternoon).

The staff is helpful and friendly though not everyone speaks English. On the first day we went to the on-sen ( hotsprings) and had the place to ourselves. We ate in both the Japanese restaurant and the French one which they are very proud of. We preferred the Japanese, especially the local trout and delicious shabu shabu. But the dining room is really a good example of fusion architecture and very picturesque.

We loved our room on the second floor of the annex. Twin beds are the norm and the decor is definitely circa the seventies. But it was cozy and comfy and had a great view. Best of all, many of the rooms have arm chairs facing the windows so you can gaze at the mist in the morning, the snowy peaks and the changing of the leaves. We would definitely come back.

If you need to send email, just ask and they will bring up cables to your room. It's quite fast though sometimes flickers off.

  • Liked — the views and location
  • Disliked — I would warn the elderly that there are many stairs
  • Stayed October 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank newyorkanya
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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308 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (25)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Tokyo
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 December 2006

My wife and I stayed there on for 2 beautiful nights about 5 years ago. Although I live and work in Tokyo and travel often, this stay in this hotel was special. It was a time of the year when there were relatively few guests due to the deep snow and freezing cold. But the quiet beauty of the area, the comfortable rooms with tasteful decor made it more than worthwhile.

I hope to visit again in 2007 in February.

  • Liked — View, location, weather, room decor,
  • Disliked — only stayed 2 nights
  • Stayed February 2002, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank drichi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New Orleans, Louisiana
Level 6 Contributor
104 reviews
56 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 135 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 May 2006

This is the second time I have stayed in this historic gem of a hotel. Its location across the road from the Toshogu (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) is perfect. Both times my husband and I were in a C-type room, which was spacious with a spectacular view of the mountains. Anyone interested in history, especially the Meiji Restoration period, will find the story of this hotel interesting. With the fall of the Tokugawa Shogunate, the religious importance of Toshogu Shrine dedicated to Ieyasu and Iemitsu (the first and third Tokugawa Shoguns) was at a low point. Initially open only to the elite, now Nikko was becoming the tourist attraction it is today. Samurai like Kanaya (whose given name esapes me) having lost their Tokugawa stipends had to find other income. Kanaya, at the suggestion of Dr. Hepburn (a missionary who compiled the first Japanese/English dictionary), started putting up Western visitors. From this humble beginning grew the Nikko Kanaya Hotel of today. The Kanaya family has played host to Isabella Bird, Henry Adams, John Lafarge, Lindbergh, Einstein, even Shirley McLain. Don't miss the Dacite Bar on the ground floor of the main building, the bartender will play you some selection from the incredible collection of mint condition jazz albums.

  • Stayed May 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank benbenton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney, Australia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 May 2006

This is a good hotel and well worth a stay. We stayed 3 nights at the Kanaya Hotel in late April 2005. I must admit, at first I was bitterly disappointed with my room. The hotel presents beautifully on their web site and the price of the rooms suggested this would be luxurious. There are several grades of room and as budget travellers (not backpackers) we chose grade F, the second lowest, but pricey enough (especially on weekends). Our room was in the main building – although clean it had seen better days and did not remotely match the photos on the web site. By day two we had accepted that this was an old, creaky, faded gem of a place, and it became a highlight of our trip to Japan. I’m sure the higher grade rooms, especially in the annex, are wonderful.

POSITIVES
Nice friendly staff.
World Heritage shrines across the road.
The view through the big library windows from the comfy leather lounges.
Exploring the maze of halls and staircases.
The hotel’s history and display of old photos.
Discovering the neglected swimming pools brimming with tadpoles (it was the end of winter - I wish I’d been around for the croaking season)
Free hotel shuttle bus to their sister hotel on the shores of Lake Chuzenji and a walk around the lake.


NEGATIVES
Very expensive restaurant.
A long hike up the hill from the station.
The room price vs what you get.

Stayed April 2005
Helpful?
3 Thank DarcyWatson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lethbridge, Canada
Level 6 Contributor
145 reviews
55 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 291 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 September 2005

This joint has been around for 130 years. It is beautiful. Even though it is a "western style hotel" (you sleep in beds) there is a great deal of Japanese character in the hotel. It's located at the edge of town, and up a steep driveway which makes it the closest to the temples, but a cab ride from the train stations.

My only quibble is the restaurants -- I only found the food so-so, but very expensive. I recommend the restaraurant just down the driveway.

Years ago I satyed at a Ryokan in Nikko. But overall I think the Kanaya is the best place to stay in town. And Nikko is just amazing. Two thumbs up!

  • Stayed September 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Leroi L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed 1 May 2005

Booked by telephone from Japan, very helpful & OK English. We have no Japanese.

Hotel is at the far end of the town from the railway station, gently uphill, but an easy 20 minute walk.

Built in 1870s and has slightly old fashioned air but is thoroughly modern. Staff are very helpful & attentive without being pushy.

Stayed just 1 night in room 14 overlooking the sacred bridge and the shrines. Vast room with King size bed & space for another.

Bath room with every electronic plumbing gadget you can think of - heated seat, auto bidet & flush etc.

The view over the garden, to the shrines, to the hills and finally the snow covered mountains was breathtaking.

Excellent evening meal & breakfast.

Thoroughly recommended

  • Stayed April 2005
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
17 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Nikko Kanaya Hotel

Property: Nikko Kanaya Hotel
Address: 1300, Kami-Hatsuishi-machi, Nikko 321-1401, Tochigi Prefecture
Region: Japan > Kanto > Tochigi Prefecture > Nikko
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 149 Hotels / Ryokan in Nikko
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:4 star — Nikko Kanaya Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 71
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