When you think of things to do in the winter, do you think of hot springs? Skiing? Snowboarding? This time we will be introducing the “Minakami Kogen Hotel 200,” in Minakami, Nagano Prefecture. Being only thirty minutes away by car from the Minakami Interchange and having the ski slopes right in front, this hotel has the best location.
Even in such a location, this hotel has a snowy outdoor bath with the great view of a hidden hot spring. Whether from the rooms or from the restaurant, you get a beautiful view. They have a great buffet dinner too!
Is this a “hidden spring?” This hotel’s outdoor bath is amazing!Winter is all about hot springs! Let’s begin with the best part of the hotel, their outdoor bath “Riraku,” located right on hotel grounds. There are two baths, “Chobo no Yu” and “Shirakaba no Yu,” each with a separate theme. First let us take a look at “Chobo no Yu,” or the “Outlook Bath.” Do you see that great view with no obstructions? Everywhere you look you see mountains, mountains, and MORE MOUNTAINS!
This kind of fantastic view of the snow is usually only available at inns with “hidden springs,” which are in remote areas. However, at this Minakami Kogen Hotel 200, conveniently located only two hours away by car from Tokyo, you can experience this amazing landscape without having to go to hidden springs deep in the mountains.
Stargazing in an outdoor bath is great too!In “Shirakaba no Yu,” or “the White Birch Bath,” you can look out at beautiful white birch trees. At night, the trees and snow are lit with blue lights, making it a fantastic world.
Lean your head back on the edge of the bathtub and look up to see the starry night sky! Yes, you’re in the mountains here. On clear winter nights, you can get an excellent view of the stars. This wonderful night view, different from the one you can experience during the day, provides you with a luxurious experience.
Also take a look at the spring quality of the hot spring. The pH of this alkaline spring is quite high, even in the Minakami Onsen Area (onsen is Japanese for hot spring), meaning it has a great effect on making your skin beautiful.
The baths of the bathing area within the hotel have a higher pH level than their outdoor counterparts, and also have an excellent view. Be sure to try both the outdoor baths and the indoor bath. This creamy water makes for a very comfortable bath, and leaves your skin feeling nice and smooth. “A beauty bath with a view,” this is what’s called a top-notch onsen.
The two outdoor baths are reserved for guests at the hotel, and switch between men and women each day. The indoor grand bathing area is available for use by non-guests.
Full view of the magnificent landscape! A simple, clean roomFrom each room, you get a great view of the beautiful mountains, which are included in “the 100 Famous Mountains of Japan.” Grab a chair or lay in bed: enjoy this view of the mountains while relaxing in your room after a nice bath.
The Minakami Kogen Hotel 200 was just renovated in 2008, so the building and all its rooms are new and clean. The reasonably priced standard twin room is simple, but its simplicity actually makes it quite fashionable.
Although these are popular for couples or friends, there are also plenty of rooms geared towards families of 4~5 people. The higher-caliber “superior rooms” are also recommended. Also, since this hotel is a “babies welcome” hotel, it is great for families with newborns.
Exquisite roast beef too! 60 choices at the Japanese, Western, and Chinese dinner buffetFor dinner, there is a Japanese, Western, and Chinese buffet with 60 choices. Japanese options including sushi, simmered dishes, and grilled fish, western options including pizza and pasta, and Chinese options including Chines fried chicken. With a wide variety of salads too, it’s a fun buffet with a lot to choose from. There is also a soft drink bar included (alcohol can be ordered separately).
Out of these choices, our recommendation is the roast beef! From its preparation to the way it’s roasted, this roast beef is an exquisite dish. With a soft, fresh taste, it spreads the deep flavor of the beef in your mouth. Enjoy this with your favorite sauce.
For another recommendation, we recommend their special miso soup called the “Okutone Matagi Soup.” It has a hint of sweetness, and makes full use of the flavor of its vegetables and chicken, making it possibly the best miso soup we’ve ever experienced. The hotel is known for this soup, as well.
After dinner, of course we have dessert! The various cakes prepared by the patisserie are all of the highest quality, comforting your tired body. They have a kids buffet and serve baby food as well, so it is popular amongst families with small children.
They even provide coffee to go, so you can have a nice relaxing coffee time back in your room. It’s the little things that make this place so great.
Take a break in their lobby with a fireplace. They even have a libraryThe lobby has a real fireplace and spacious sofa seats, which give it a modern feel. Filled with people during the day, at night it becomes a nice quiet place. You can take a break and read a book or plan your trip by the fireplace.
You can even take a short break in the library on the top floor, where you can read or use the Internet. The quiet nights are nice too, but we recommend coming in the morning where you get the view of the mountains.
Ski rentals and gift shops also available
In front of the front desk, they sell ski lift tickets and have rentals for skis, snowboards, and other equipment for the slopes. Since the ski slopes are right in front of the hotel, you can rent what you need and get started immediately!
The gift shop also has a great selection. They sell winter goods like gloves, hats, shoes, and everything kids need to play in the snow. Gifts include local specialties of Minakami and Gunma prefecture, the hotel’s original snacks, and Gunma Chan (Gunma prefecture’s mascot) goods.
This time we introduced the best parts of the winter here, but the different views seen in spring and fall at this hotel are great too. Those of you who want to see the snowy mountains: they’ll be around until early April! Why not spend this winter at the Minakami Kogen Hotel 200?