Managed by its 16th generation of owners, Kokuya withstands a nearly 400-year test of time by virtue of its warm hospitality, numerous hot springs, and excellent cuisine.
Along with its prime location, transportation services, and elegance, Kokuya owns six hot spring sources, each with its own distinct mineral composition to suit ailments as folklore dictates. It offers both private and public bathing, including ten rooms with balcony baths. Kokuya pays homage not only to its local roots in the form of its springs, but also literal roots in the form of its Kaiseki meals, which feature locally-sourced produce and seasonal dishes to keep the experience fresh.
We take great care when selecting the properties we recommend. In Kokuya’s case, visitors since 1625 C.E. have all contributed to preserving it as a touchpoint of Japanese hospitality to the modern day, marking it as a location well worth its reputation.
Kokuya’s location in the middle of this picturesque little onsen town makes walking through the streets in your Japanese robe at night a breeze. Serving locally-sourced food, wine and beer, the meals here ooze authenticity. The eight baths in the hotel give you plenty of variety when trying out the Japanese style of bathing, plus you’ll get a key to access the town’s nine public baths too. While some of the rooms are showing their age, in particular the private bathrooms, Kokuya is a great choice to experience a truly traditional Japanese ryokan.
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Photos of Kokuya Ryokan
Kokuya offers ten rooms with outdoor, open-air baths, and nine other standard rooms with washlet en suite. In some cases, shower facilities are either private in combination with a private bath, or shared by the indoor onsen baths. Standard for all rooms are authentic futons, and are stored or laid out by room service.
Rooms, including standard, come in a variety of sizes to suit visitors' needs, and Wi-Fi is offered throughout the premises.
The inn offers complimentary shuttle services to and from the station and its environs. Additionally, it offers a free shuttle to and from the Snow Monkey Park, which is also within walking distance. Locally, there are nine other bath houses surrounding Kokuya to visit, Tamamura Sake Brewery, and Onsenji Temple, all of which are reached by a seven-minute walk from the inn.
Clientele with mobility concerns should note that Kokuya contains a large number of staircases, steps, ramps, and multiple floors and elevations. As a result, we do not recommend this ryokan for those that need elevators or for those with mobility handicaps.
Food and drink
As with most ryokan in Japan, the dinner is one of the central features of the stay and the Kokuya is no different. The Kokuya's Kaiseki dinner showcases the best in regional specialities such as the high-grade Nagano rice, Shinshu area beef and handmade buckwheat soba noodles. The Shinshu beef is a must-have for all meat lovers. It's all elaborately served with a range of drinks to choose from that complement each course. Breakfast comes as either Japanese or Western-style which you can choose at check-in.
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Where possible, we like to offer a range of accommodation for each stop of your trip, chosen by our specialists as some of their favorite places to stay. To help you make the right choice, we give each property a rating based on its facilities and service, but we also look for hotels with distinct character or a location that can’t be bettered.