Noboribetsu exists mostly for Japanese tourists coming to stay to enjoy the hottest onsens in Hokkaido (or so I was told). So, this one-street tourist town is packed with huge, concrete hotels of all shapes and sizes, most of which look, well, pretty dull and/or run down. The Hotel Yumoto looks a little better outside than some of the others, but there is a lot of maintenance needed to really bring it back into top shape. The lobby is very dated and smells like sulfur from the hot springs, but don't let that scare you off. The rooms are newly re-decorated. We had a semi-western style room with twin beds and a tatami area with a western-style table and chairs. The room was huge by any standard and everything in it looked brand new. The decor was soothing and attractive. Our room was on a non-smoking floor, but I never smelled smoke anywhere else in the hotel. The hallways also looked newly redecorated.
Many of the hotels in this town that include meals (which is most of them) are VERY expensive. You can easily spend over $600 a night and up, so this hotel is a bargain by comparison. I wasn't expecting much because of the price, but I felt we got more than our money's worth here.
Dinner is served in your room. In our case, with a western-style table, it was very comfortable. All of the food arrives at once, but I preferred that to the meals at similar places because you can eat at your own pace rather than having the meal drag on for hours. The food was MUCH better than other hotels we stayed at previously with set Japanese meals. I didn't know what most of it was, but there wasn't anything that wasn't at least adequate and some dishes were delicious. The women who serve the meals are charming and helpful. They always explained how to eat certain dishes, etc. One spoke some English and the other one didn't, but we still enjoyed the interaction. Breakfast is a Japanese & Western buffet in an attractive restaurant downstairs. There were plenty of things to choose from including some exotic Japanese items such as "Squid Guts" if you are so inclined. The food quality is very high and everything was kept stocked until the last minute. The same women who serve dinner are there in the morning serving breakfast.
My only issue with the room is that the hotel says it has air conditioning. It does, but the hotel decided when you can use it. Since it wasn't hot outside, it wasn't working and we had to leave the window open all night. There is some traffic on the road out front, but it didn't wake us up. Still, I would prefer A/C that worked if the hotel is going to advertise that it is available. There is no internet available at the hotel anywhere, which is odd considering that it was recently updated.
In the late afternoon until 10:00pm, there is piped in Japanese music that plays along the street in front of the hotel. It is very loud and repeats the same song over and over. You may want to bring ear plugs if you go to bed early or want to nap in the afternoon.
Very little English is spoken at the front desk, but everyone was helpful. Just be patient and you'll get your point across. They seemed to be intimidated to have to deal with Americans when we first arrived, but once they decided we weren't going to cause any trouble they were delightful.
We didn't try the baths, but I heard that they have been remodeled recently and are very nice.
Be sure to book with meals included because there are no restaurants open at night in the entire town that I saw. There are a few places open for lunch and several convenience stores (in Japan 7-Eleven is your best friend), plus souvenir shops along the one main street. You can walk to Hell Valley in about fifteen minutes. The bus station is across the street from the hotel.
There is a bus from JR Noboribetsu Station, but we chose to take a taxi. It only cost about $10 and was much more comfortable than a bus when you have luggage. The ride only takes about fifteen minutes. We also took a taxi to the Date Jidai Mura theme park and it cost about the same. Strangely enough, we had the same driver four times...he was very nice and spoke some English.
When we checked in we were given a printed sheet in English with elaborate explanations of the hours of the two baths. The hours alternate for men and women so everyone can experience both of them at some point. We were also asked what time we want dinner served and when we want our room cleaned in the morning.
I was happy with this hotel overall and would stay here again if I visit Norboribetsu in the future.
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Yumoto Noboribetsu Hokkaido