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All reviews flowing water bathing area surrounding mountains hot springs outdoor onsen the river the bus dams tunnel snow japan
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Reviewed 2 January 2018 via mobile

We stayed there for 1 night on 22 Nov. The traditional ryokan is located up on the hill, room is big, clean and comfortable. The famous milky onsen is amazing, free massage chair provided. Staff are helpful and nice. Foods are excellent too. Due to heavy snow and we didn’t have snow tyre, they consider our safely, they offered to drive our car down the hill and pick our car next morning at the Meeting point. It’s difficult to drive around that area in the bad weather, thanks for the ride. We will come back again in summer time.

Date of stay: November 2017
Trip type: Travelled with friends
3  Thank 1001cathyl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 November 2017 via mobile

Before I start with the hotel , here’s some tips about how to get there :

The ride from shinjuku to Matsumoto is about 2.5 hours with an express train (not Shinkansen) covered with your JR pass.

Matsumoto is a small country town with beautiful views of mountains and a river and castle worth seeing .

There’s a local train, not covered by your JR pass, 700 Y one way , to shin-shimashima, takes about half hour .

From there, you can take the bus to shirahone ‘only if’ you get there early . We got there around 4 pm and already missed the last bus.

The alternative is to take a taxi - quite pricey , about 9000 Y . Make sure you have a working cell phone to call for a taxi . The number is on the wall - however, the taxi operator wouldn’t speak any English ! So just call that number and give the phone to one of the station officers and they’re nice enough to order one for you .

It takes about an hour to get to the resort . Narrow winding roads and lots of tunnels and water dams - it’s absolutely gorgeous.

The place is amazing ! You most likely would have never experienced anything like that ....

Clean , tranquil , simple and just beautiful rooms with great views .

The hot springs are so soothing.
3 onsens , indoors and outdoors . You can wear the robes from the room or your own clothes to the changing area next to the onsens and then you’d go commando from there . Rinse off at the bathing area and just jump in .... amazing .

The food courses are incredible , they bring one dish after another and while having your dinner they make your bed !
The duvet is so comfy and warm. It was -5 outside but under my duvet was easily 35 degrees ! :)

They’re friendly and used to foreigners . The instructions are in the room . Just follow your common sense .

The beauty in Japanese culture is their simplicity .

I’ve already written a novel- just go and enjoy the amazing japan onsens ! And you’d go Wow too ....

Date of stay: November 2017
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
3  Thank 788manif
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 January 2017 via mobile

TL;DR summary: Yumoto Saitoh Ryokan is a fabulous place and we had one of the most enjoyable experiences of our lives there.

My wife and I spent three nights at Yumoto Saitoh Ryokan in January 2017. We booked at Yumoto Saitoh because we were looking for an onsen in the mountains, with snow. We got exactly what we were after.

We travelled to Yumoto Saitoh from Tokyo (Shinjuku), changing trains at Matsumoto and taking the highland rail to Shinshimashima. There is a bus from Shinshimashima to Shirahone Onsen where Yumoto Saitoh Ryokan is located - however, there is a ten-minute walk from the bus stop to the Ryokan at the other end. Because we had lots of luggage and didn't know how much snow and ice would be around, we decided to take a taxi from Shinshimashima. This proved to be a little harder than expected - there is no cab rank and ordering a taxi required a phone call. I speak no Japanese and the call-taker for the taxi company spoke no English. Eventually, I found some young Japanese men in the train station waiting room, a couple of whom spoke some English. One of them agreed to call and order a taxi for us. With their help, we were soon back on our way.

The road to Shirahone Onsen winds up the valley of the Azusagawa River, through spectacularly vertiginous, tree-covered hillsides and long tunnels, passing a number of dams and a hydroelectric station on the way. The snow cover gradually increased as our altitude rose, until we reached an area where everything was laden with snow and huge ice stalactites hung from tunnel mouths and outcroppings.

We were warmly greeted on our arrival and were immediately assigned a friendly and extremely helpful English-speaking staff member (Kas-San) who looked after all our needs during our stay (including serving and explaining all our meals, so that we knew exactly what we were eating). With his help, we had a hugely enjoyable stay, and managed to do almost everything we wanted.

The only thing we struggled to do during our stay was to see much of our surroundings - we did not have footwear that was suitable for trudging through snow and ice, so we were unable to venture far from the ryokan, or to check out the short scenic walking trails around Shirahone Onsen. This meant we spent most of our time either in our room, at the restaurant or in the baths - which was no bad thing.

Our room was gorgeous, and very spacious with an ensuite toilet and a private bath and balcony, both of which looked out on the surrounding forested slopes and mountains. Although we couldn't see it from our room, the sound of the rushing river reached us across the otherwise silent, snow-covered landscape. We slept on futons set up for us on the tatami mats in the main area of our room.

Our private bath area could be opened to the outside world, which meant we spent some delightful time soaking in the hot water like snow monkeys as the cold air rolled in through the sliding door from the snow-bound landscape around us. However, the water in the private bath did not come from the onsen's hot springs, so to get the full, cloudy, mineral-laden, sulphurous experience, we had to head downstairs to the public baths that were connected to our accommodation by a short corridor. These were large and beautifully equipped with spacious changing areas and heaps of individual stations for doing post-bath hair, make-up and moisturizing routines. Washing areas were set up with pump bottles of body soap, shampoo and conditioner (olive oil and royal jelly) and the large bathing area was full of hot, cloudy water. Bathing in these hot springs over the course of three consecutive days is said to ward off colds and flu for a year.

Meals were served in the main building (accessed from our accommodation via a series of long, enclosed walkways and an elevator ride). We were given one of a number of private dining rooms where our breakfast and dinner (included in the accommodation price) were laid out when we arrived at our designated dining time. The food was universally of high quality and beautifully presented. There was a strong emphasis on seafood which, despite our mountainous location some distance from the sea, was always very fresh. At a small additional cost, we chose to have lunch served in our room, where we sat at a sunken table with a view out to the trees and snow.

The second full day we spent at Yumoto Saitoh stands out as one of the most special experiences of our lives - we spent the whole day bathing, eating, napping on our futons or gazing out of the windows of our room as fat snowflakes steadily fell and the landscape became completely blanketed in white. It is hard to imagine being able to recreate this experience in many (if any) other places in the world.

Date of stay: January 2017
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
1  Thank Aaron D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 December 2016

Since Shirahone Onsen is far away from the town, however it is nice and peaceful. We have stayed in Yumoto Saito Ryokan for two nights which is well maintained The food quality is good and staff is nice.

Room tip: Rooms with private spa is good.
Date of stay: October 2016
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Service
Thank Janey H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 October 2013

SHIRAHONE-ONSEN is a rare gem hidden among the mountains, and Yumoto-Saito Ryokan has an excellent location just next to the mountain slope, so the view is great and our room is next to a little stream. The on-sen is just great though a bit far from our room. Food is very good. Staff are friendly, and the hotel ambience is nice.

Date of stay: October 2013
  • Trip type: Travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Apple_HK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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