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HOSHINOYA Karuizawa
Certificate of Excellence
NYC
Level Contributor
36 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Looking to spoil yourself?”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 September 2013

This is the place. Sure, the price is steep. But Hoshinoya has become one of my most memorable and cherished stays. We went in early summer and the weather was perfect for us. Early morning walks around the extensive property were rewarded with the gentle tweeting of a multitude of birds, along with sightings of ducks, butterflies, dragonflies, frogs, fish and beautiful flowers. When you wake up and walk out onto the deck overlooking the water, fresh cup of tea in hand, and you breathe in the crisp, clean country air, you'll understand. Utter tranquility and beauty await.

The restaurant on the property was first-class. Exquisite dining in kaiseki style with fresh local ingredients - to die for! With large panoramic windows overlooking the beautifully manicured grounds and water features, you're sure to enjoy breakfast and dinner here. Upstairs there is a library, featuring the same wonderful views, with books, newspapers and magazines in English and Japanese (perhaps some others too), along with super comfy sitting areas. Free coffee, tea and snacks are available 24/7 here as well.

Next to the property is a park with some nice hiking available. We took a rather short, 40 minute hike, but longer courses are available. There is some moderate elevation gain, but the trails are well marked and easy to follow. Lots of birds again, and a nice open field with views of Mt. Asama in the distance. Highly recommended.

The onsen here is quite nice, and interesting. The 'Meditation Spa' is reserved for guests only, and features a sauna, cold plunge, and two baths, one of which (at night at least) is utterly dark. A bit spooky, but once your eyes adjust to the dark, you'll see that it's quite relaxing. I didn't try this bath during the day, so I'm not sure how dark it is then. There is also a relaxation area and the spa is adjacent to this. We didn't try any spa treatments.

The other, open to the public bath, called Tonbou no Yu, was very beautiful. The public can enter (for a fee) after 10AM, so it's advisable to get there before then. There are very large outdoor baths here, and of course an ample indoor one as well. Another sauna and cold bath are available here as well, and with dragonflies and birds (again) zipping around, it makes for another excellent, relaxing experience. N.B. if there is a line of people (the public) waiting to get into the spa, you can just show your room key and go right in (or in my case, go to the front of the line and get a towel first).

This is the place to come and relax, to enjoy Japanese culture and food, and to reconnect with nature. Highly recommended for couples- I think children may not appreciate the ambiance!


Tips:

Get a unit which is on the water. This will make your stay complete.

Mt. Asama is nearby, and there is an amazing shrine, viewpoint, and walking course there.

Shiraito waterfall is close too, A short walk from the local concessions (peddling delicious farm fresh fruits and vegetables, along with a dose of river-fish Ayu) you'll be rewarded with a very interesting geographic feature

Room Tip: Get a room on the water. Splurge. There's nothing like waking up and shuffling out to the deck o...
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  • Stayed June 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank NYCKankyoukyaku
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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295 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (16)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Any
English first
Paris, France
Level Contributor
40 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 August 2013

We spent 2 nights at this hotel.
The reception was good but the check in took time since we needed to take a car to travel between the reception and the hotel.
The room was spacious and clean with a nice view. However, it was not as clean as you would expect for this hotel standard and compared with other ryokan we stayed at (dust on some furnitures, walls were not immaculate). The wooden bathtub and terrace were really enjoyable and relaxing.
The strong point of the hotel are the surroundings: the hotel is in the middle of a forest next to a lake and offers many activities (yoga in the morning, traditional japanese toys and activities for children, bar on the patio in the evening, fireworks, nice shopping center in the middle of the forest within walking distance, SPA and onsen of course). No way to get bored.
The dinner was very good using fresh ingredients from the region.
Also there is a playroom with babysitter that can look after your children while you are having dinner (the hotel even offers have children meal+baby sitter service plan).
The overall service was OK but everything takes time since the staff needs to take a car to bring you anything you might need.
Overall this hotel is a very nice getaway but is not worth the high price. For the same price range, you can find much nicer ryokan in Japan with much better service.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank jgk_7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
50 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 July 2013

One of my most memorable hotel stays.

Accomodation:
Villa style with private balcony, some facing a lake. Futons to fit a family of 4. Well equipped room with boiler, TV, sound system, slippers and yukata.

Hotel:
Great onsen, with a pitch black section, great lounge area with complimentary tea.

Setting:
In a forest. By a stream and villas surrounding a man-made lake.

Onsen:
Great public onsen next door with indoor and outdoor pools.

Shopping:
Small village of shops and restaurants / cafe next door beside a stream.

Transport:
Has hotel minivan or a shuttle bus to the train station.

Drawback:
No wifi in villas. Only in lobby area.

  • Stayed December 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank japanlover1972
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 July 2013

The design of the hotel is just as fabulous as other designs in Japan today. The hotel is very modernized with traditional Japanese aesthetics in the details. I know that the resort area is powered by sustainable energy, which is really nice to enjoy luxury without hurting the environment. We stayed in the Niwaroji (庭路地)room. Although the photos on the official website showed that it got a zen garden in the room, don't know why we only got a barbeque place in Room 108. But still, the whole resort area is beautifully designed. There were two onsen in the resort area. I only tried one, which was the meditation bath with a room of light and a room of darkness. It was a very special onsen experience that you can never have at other places. The library provided complementary traditional Japanese snacks and drinks that you can spend your evening there after dinner. I tried the hot pot dinner at Harunire Terrace which tasted good and reasonably priced. The terrace also got other shops but didn't have time to explore. Staff were helpful, especially Ms. Lisa who took care of us. She spoke very fluent mandarin even better than me. Even though I could not speak mandarin, she made the conversation much smoother. Hoshinoya is a luxurious Japanese experience not to be missed for everybody, especially the Japan travel beginners who cannot make themselves easy at the first time in the really traditional Japan ryokan or people who simply love modern Japanese design.

Room Tip: Room 108 does not have the zen garden but a barbeque place.
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  • Stayed March 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Jacklyn C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hong Kong
Level Contributor
14 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 April 2013 via mobile

Stayed 2 nights here.

Whether one likes or dislike this property really depends on your preference. And I can understand why there are mixed reviews.

The property appeared vast when I arrived and you can feel slightly lost as the hotel staff tried to explain to you the different facilities in the car (yes...they drive you from the reception to your "villa"). But after spending a day here, you would feel much more at home. Check-in could take sometime as they transport each guest from the reception to the room by car.

I stayed in one of the river view rooms. It offers a nice view (and sound of river flowing) but the downside is that there is less privacy as people on the pathways can see inside the room. I also found the shape of the room slightly awkward as it is long rectangular shape. It is comfortable nonetheless.

We ate at Kasuke on first night and at the Yukawatan on the second night. Both were fabulous and the service top notch. Highly recommend.

At this time of the year (early April) the scenery is a bit stark, trees have shedded their leaves the new flowers haven't yet blossomed. I sure winter, autumn and summer would be more picturesque. If I do come back, I should choose a different time of the year.

I also took the free bicycles and cycled to the nearby shops. A bakery serves good croissant and coffee.

  • Stayed April 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank cheuk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Singapore
Level Contributor
33 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 January 2013

Missed the hourly shuttle bus from Karuizawa station, so took a taxi there (2200 yen). Check in was fabulous, with a concierge walking you to your villa and making tea for you. Stayed in Riverside Villa no. 224 which was near to the private onsen, which is open 24 hours, luxurious and
very exclusive.
They provide yukata-type clothes and shawls, and socks and clogs for you to walk around the property, which is fun. Had an exquisite kaiseki dinner at their Kasuke restaurant, a 2 hour feast. These are expensive, about 15000 yen per person, so we had room service the next night, which was also nice, and cheaper at about 6000 yen per main course.
The hourly shuttle bus takes 10 minutes to bring you to Karuizawa Station for outlet shopping, and Prince resort for skiing.

Room Tip: Ask for riverside villa, which have great views, and villas across the bridge and uphill, which are...
See more room tips
  • Stayed January 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank uprightman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
28 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 January 2013 via mobile

My fiancée and I booked this Hotel/Modern Ryokan last minute when we decided to head out of Tokyo for NYE. We had NO idea what the experience would be and I cannot put into words how pleasantly surprised we were by our experience.

One hour away from Tokyo by Shinkansen lies a quiet, amazing town named Karuizawa. When we got off the train we were greeted by a winter wonderland. We opted to take a short taxi ride to Hoshinoya as opposed to the free shuttle provided by the hotel as we wanted to get there and not wait for other arriving guests.

When we arrived, the natural beauty of our surroundings was astounding! Snow covered grounds, small rivers and ponds, lit lanterns littering the grounds. So beautiful. Since the property is a collection of villas, we were checked in swiftly, given our traditional apparel and driven to our villa. Since it was a last minute booking our villa was a "mtn" villa and didn't have a view of any if the rivers, but was none the less great. A large room for sleeping (futons were on a raised platform), separate traditional eating and lounging area, and separate toilet and shower/amazing cedar deep soaking tub area. The bed linens were high end and clean. We also had a private outdoor area with pillows to lounge on but it was a bit too cold for us.

We had an amazing NYE feasting on an endless menu of traditional foods and great sake. The wait staff was wonderful and made us feel as if we were the emperors of Japan!

The rest if our trip was spent entirely in traditional dress relaxing and walking the beautiful grounds. My massage was great and we had a nice time at the Onsen.

I have never felt so relaxed at a resort. We had a magical time and will defiantly be return guests. I would advise to try to get a water front villa as they have the best views.

I would definitely recommend Hoshinoya, Karuizawa!!!!

  • Stayed January 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank allison P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about HOSHINOYA Karuizawa

Property: HOSHINOYA Karuizawa
Address: Hoshino, Kitasaku-gun, Karuizawa-machi 389-0194, Nagano Prefecture
Region: Japan > Chubu > Nagano Prefecture > Kitasaku-gun > Karuizawa-machi
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites
Hotel Style:
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Karuizawa-machi
#2 Luxury Hotel in Karuizawa-machi
#3 Spa Hotel in Karuizawa-machi
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:4 star — HOSHINOYA Karuizawa 4*
Number of rooms: 77
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
In a richly forested mountain setting 90 minutes and a world away from Tokyo, our showcase retreat provides the ultimate fresh-air escape with award-winning ecotours, acclaimed birdwatching, and healing hot springs. After a day on woodland trails, relax further with seasonal cuisine, spa treatments inspired by Zen precepts, and a cypress-bath soak in the privacy of your spacious guestroom. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hoshinoya Karuizawa Hotel Karuizawa-Machi

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