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Shimaya Ryokan

Yudanaka, Japan

This simple ryokan hotel has just 12 Japanese-style rooms, nine of which have their own private bath and toilet. Although the communal areas appear a little grubby when you first walk in and it doesn't look particularly attractive from the outside, the rooms themselves are fine, if a little dated. The couple that run the Shimaya are quite eccentric and add a lot of warmth to the stay. The wife is head chef and the local, seasonal food is a real highlight of staying here. The husband provides a free shuttle service up to Jigokudani, from where you walk to see the monkeys. He can also take you to 'Toumi no Yu', a nearby outdoor onsen resort with breathtaking views over the valleys and mountains — especially at sunset! The friendly staff, fantastic service and delicious food more than make up for the slightly dated rooms that are perhaps in need of a little TLC.

OUR RATING: Simple

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