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Reviewed April 7, 2018 via mobile

This is a nicely constructed modern ryokan. The rooms are fitted out with clean lines and stylish Scandinavian furniture good for those who are not looking for the traditional tatami style rooms.

The highlight for us was the food which was delicious and featured mostly local produce. Meals are served in the hotel dining room or in private booths.

The portions were quite substantial with the dishes being prepared in a healthy way - nothing fried or oily here. This being Niigata the rice is a highlight of every meal. At dinner the rice is cooked in a mini gas stove right on your table. And you are given detailed instructions as to the different steps involved in the cooking of this dish.

Our server who spoke good English and could explain the provenance and ingredient used in our food - an experience which maybe lost in ryokans without some English speaking staff.

In keeping with the modern theme, you are provided with a set of comfortable pyjamas (like yoga clothes), loose cardigan and socks in neutral grey. It is perfectly acceptable to wear this outfit to dinner as most of the guests did.

There are 2 lounges to hang out in outside of your room. The one near the gift shop is stocked with coffee table books and in the evenings, a variety of spirits are available so you can mix your own cocktails. In the other lounge near the dining room, there is a coffee machine and tea making facilities. As coffee is not served with breakfast ( only Japanese tea), this is where you can get your caffeine fix.

If we were disappointed it was mainly cos the walking paths around our hotel were closed due to the icy conditions. And our room (1302) while very comfortable looked over the hotel car park.

Stayed: March 2018, travelled as a couple
Thank lchan289
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed January 8, 2017 via mobile

Back again after one year! Still very high standard, including meal. The selection of sake was great. Suggest you go for the sake sampling option, which is very good value. The view from the outside hot spring bath is fantastic......and had to bring my camera to take a photo!! Will definitely return again.

Stayed: January 2017, travelled with family
1  Thank satoshig
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed January 6, 2017 via mobile

If you are looking for a all range quality onsen, this is it! No matter ambience, service, room, and restaurants there were fantastic! However, if you drive there is easier than public transport. If I have chance, I must go back!

Stayed: December 2016
Thank CindyLGGP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed December 19, 2016 via mobile

Hush conversations overheard through washi paper sliding doors, modest splashes of neighboring bather's bucket water and faint simmering of freshly cooked rice as it reaches 'niebana (flavourful al dente)'... all perfectly in tune with the rolling hills of Niigata landscape, disciplined attention to service and gentle yet confident design at Satoyama Jujo describe my two night stay at the modern luxury ryokan.

This new ryokan in Osawa onsen comes fully stocked with well behaved elderly guests in modern cool garb marvelling at inhouse artwork and occasional young families drawn to the region's rugged landscape (and ski slopes in the winter). The property is one of Design Hotels' latest outpost in Japan and it deserves the mark of that design.

The site comprises two buildings, the main heritage structure and the new, smart and economically developed, extension. Reception and dining space is in the century old house made entirely of timber with traditional pegs and joints. Dark timber columns, massive beams and wide parquet floors set the somber and rich dark tones in a typically Japanese tranquil atmosphere. As you enter the the annex where 12 guest rooms and onsen are in, hinoki stairs and walls accented by brighter lighting invites and modern artworks with traditional motifs draw attention. And the owner Isawa-san's chairs, mostly mid-century modern danish with occasional, bolder placements of Arne Jacobsens accentuates.

I spent the first night in Room 303, collaboration with the Tokyo purveyor of relaxed casual wear 1LDK and the second night in 301 with sweeping views of Hakkaisan (八海山, eight ocean mountain).

All rooms are twin bedded with modern fittings like sofas, chez lounge and shower. Each day onsen water is filled in the ensuite (actually in the balcony) traditional bath. I was here in early November when the mountain region temperature falls so opted instead for the public onsen bath on the second floor.

Probably the most intense hours in the otherwise lull of my stay was dinner. Each evening, modern twist to traditional kaiseki (course menu) is served at Sanaburi dining room with a focus on locally grown vegetables and foraged leaves, nuts and mushrooms. 'Sanaburi' is the communal feast shared among the village-folk after rice planting and signifies the wealth of Mother Nature presented on the plates.

My ten-course kaiseki more than showed off the bountiful produce of Niigata inside a 2-hour, slow-burning nevertheless a culinary assault. My favourite was soba soup with wild mushrooms, deeply savoury and rich, and Buri (amberjack) shabu shabu. Of course you cannot not dwell on rice and sake in a Niigata meal, in many ways the centerpiece rather than accompaniment. Koshihikari(コシヒカリ, particularly esteemed rice varietal) was cooked on my table complete with 'how to cook Gochisou-gohan' instruction guide. This being early November, I was being served new rice just harvested a few weeks back and probably polished days ago.

There were two tasting flights, one high-grade Niigata sakes and the other more local Osawa varieties. I tried both on each night with additional orders of daiginjo for the ginjo variety which was served. The Osawa variety include the renown Hakkaisan (jumaishu and daiginjo) both with incredible nose with deeper straw hues for junmaishu and crystal clarity for daiginjo.

As I leave the professional and friendly staff of Satoyama-Jujo behind (almost all of service staff speaks impeccable English, a rarity in countryside accommodations) and head to the nearest Shinkansen station, I mark my calendar for the next Niigata visit.

Short excursions -

Days are short but sun rises early in this mountain region so after an early morning bath in onsen go for a walk to the neighbouring village when the air is crisp and clear. About an hour's lazy walk round trip.

If you get friendly with staff and they're unoccupied enough to accompany you, ask for a short drive to the ski chairlift peak with viewing point into the Minamiuonuma valley and Hakkaisan in the backdrop.

Stayed: December 2016, travelled solo
4  Thank theminimalist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed December 6, 2016

The Hotel for experienced travelers. The Owner mentioned in his web site saying his concept of this hotel is providing his guest Experience and Enlightenment. He tries to create Interactive Media Framework. He hopes his guests to experiment and perform something out from their inspiration while the guest are staying here. It is rather philosophical or perhaps spiritual experience that the owner hopes us to find out while we soak ourselves into this environment and life style here. I stayed two nights with my wife and hoped to inspire myself something but in these two nights I only enjoyed tranquil time while I was dipping myself in hot spring during the day. There are Obasan's group staying here and they were just noisy busy in idle gossip. Well, I hope to return to this place while there are not many Obasan guests staying here.

Room Tip: Mountain View Maisonette type Room 201 for family with four
  • Stayed: December 2016, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Tad S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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