After extensive research on different hot spring hotels & ryokans in Kinugawa, we decided on Asaya. We're very glad we went with them. For those unfamiliar with this area, Kinugawa is a little ways apart from Nikko but still within the vicinity (and within easy access of each other by train) so that it makes sense to visit Nikko and then go stay the night in Kinugawa in order to enjoy their onsen (hot spring).
We stayed in a room with private onsen en-suite. It was fabulous. There is hot spring water flowing continuously into the tub all hours of the day, keeping the onsen tub always full and allowing you to jump in anytime on a whim. At default, the water temperature is quite hot. But you can adjust the temperature by turning on the cold water faucet. For us, this type of room cost about 20,000yen per person per night, including dinner & breakfast. The room was immaculately clean. Futon beds were very comfortable.
If you decide to stay in a regular room without an en-suite onsen, you can still enjoy the hotel's many communal onsens, some indoors and some outdoors. Although we never went to these, they looked very nice on photos. I also believe that every guestroom gets real hot spring water as the hot faucet water for shower/tub.
The hotel has about 200 rooms, so obviously it's no ryokan. But it doesn't take away from a great Japanese hot spring lodging experience. The inside of the hotel is a 12-story atrium with glass elevators going up and down to room floors. There's no shortage of activities here. Lots of restaurants and lounges, a large gift shop, nightly Chinese acrobat shows, game corner for kids, rock baths, lots of communal onsens, swimming pool, massage parlor, etc. We really didn't use a lot of their facilities, as we were content to just relax in the room and enjoy our private onsen.
There are various dining packages as part of the accommodation. We opted for the buffet option... dinner and breakfast buffets. Both were excellent with mind-blowing variety of excellent food. Dinner buffet had stuff like fugu (pufferfish), crab legs, greenhouse-grown strawberries, sashimi, dim sum, tempura station, etc, etc.
Only downside... the town of Kinugawa has seen its better days. Although the hotel overlooks a river gorge, the view is not that pleasant because of many deserted buildings in the area (and along the river banks) that used to serve as hotels. A bit eery. Also the hotel is too far to walk from the Kinugawa train station, so you'll either have to take a taxi or the Tobu bus. Right near the hotel is the base station of the Kinugawa Ropeway... supposedly there's a lot of monkeys (not wild) at the top of the ropeway.
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- Also Known As:
- Asaya Hotel Nikko
- Asaya Onsen Hotel Nikko