Backpack accommodation

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2019-10-19 20:17:28

Chuzenji Kanaya Hotel is an official hotel of Kanaya Hotels, situated near the shore of the Lake Chuzenjiko. We stayed at the historical Nikko Kanaya Hotel in the downtown Nikko area before we headed into the mountains — it was also an amazing stay (be sure to read our write-up). While both are historical and boast a ton of charm, the main difference is the surrounding area and setting. For example, the Nikko Kanaya Hotel is steps away from downtown Nikko — you can walk to restaurants and shops, whereas the Chuzenji Kanaya location is along the lake, so your reason to come here is for nature, serenity and tranquility.

Below, the boldness of the grand fireplace greets you as you enter the lobby upon arrival.

The beautiful lobby area of the Chuzenji Kanaya Hotel

Our gracious guide Ms. Maruta helps us with check-in.

Anthony waits in front of the Chuzenji Kanaya Hotel for our driver to pick us up one morning.

Below, the front of the hotel at night. Lovely, right?

The front of the Chuzenji Kanaya Hotel at night. Credit: Chuzenji Kanaya Hotel

The Hotel’s Interior

The interior has an incredible amount of character and you’ll find surprising touches throughout the property.  The public places are warm and inviting, whether you’re just walking up the beautiful stairway to your room or heading to one of the lounges to relax.

One of the lounge areas at Chuzenji Kanaya Hotel where you can relax and unwind after a day of touring.

I love how nature was woven and integrated into various aspects of the interior as well, like this interesting wooden bench.

There’s a room which provides reading material and plenty of comfortable chairs as well.

Other areas of the hotel simply take you back in time. They also offered educational insights, such as the types of plants and flowers you might see in the region (great for kids!!)

Flowers and plants on the wall in one of the main lounges at the Chuzenji Kanaya Hotel

Like the Nikko Kanaya Hotel, there were various wooden structures, statues and artwork throughout the property. These beautiful wooden carved owls could be found strutting out from the staircase railings. Beautiful right?

In the evening, they also offer tea in their ‘tea lounge,’ which we loved. We spent our last night in Nikko here looking through some of the shots we took while Ms. Maruta made comments and helped explain the meaning and more finite details of some of the things we saw, from temples and shrines to embassy villas and museums.

Dining at Chuzenji Kanaya Hotel

We were thrilled with our dining experience at the downtown Nikko Kanaya Hotel so was curious what the lake property had to offer. We were not disappointed. First of all, the service was outstanding, which isn’t a given in Asia despite how many ‘stars’ a hotel is given.

The below room in the Chuzenji Kanaya Hotel is where we had dinner and breakfast, both a little formal, but also relaxing at the same time. Photo credit: Chuzenji Kanaya Hotel

While you can certainly opt to have a Japanese style breakfast here, we had been eating Japanese breakfast for 90% of our stay and since this Nikko stay was our next to last night in Japan, we opted to try their European/Western breakfast instead.

A Western Breakfast at the Chuzenji Kanaya Hotel. You can have omelettes, eggs, sausage and toast, or ham. It was all very delicious with a pot of green tea of course.

Dinner was once again divine and they had a similar (if not the same) wine list as the downtown Nikko property — I was thrilled to see the Bordeaux by the glass on the menu again, however I tried a Shiraz instead. We started with Sea Bream Sashimi with olive oil with white radish and Ikura/fish eggs.

Above and below, the sea bream sashimi appetizer at the Chuzenji Kanaya Hotel

We then moved onto an absolutely scrumptious Aubergine ‘Tochigi’ which is essentially Eggplant with Sea Perch (Suzuki). They prepared it with corn, onions and white wine — it was heavenly! And, look how beautifully plated it is as well.

Then we moved into a red meat dish (there were 7 courses in total), which on the evening we were there, was a Filet de Boeuf “Tochigi Kirifui”.  The Shiraz went beautifully with this filet, which they prepared with beet sauce, onions in a red wine and fig sauce. Wow, right? Apparently the beef they served is local to the area (Kirifuri Highlands). One of the things I noticed about Japan’s beef in general is how fresh it is compared to American steaks.

Above and below, the Filet de Boeuf in a white wine and fig sauce in the main dining room at the Chuzenji Kanaya Hotel.

Finally, for dessert, the ended the evening on an amazing note with a homemade Fig and Coconut Cake. Oh so yum, right? It was served with Chocolate, Kiwis, Pineapple and topped with fresh spearmint. Coffee and tea accompanied the dessert as well of course.

Above and below, notice how beautifully prepared the dessert is, as well as how light it is despite the fact that it includes chocolate cake and coconut. They eat so much healthier than we do in the west (and lighter) — it’s no surprise that most Japanese people you see on the street are thin.

The Grounds

The grounds were lush, green and lovely when we were there in September. It’s a great place to unwind and simply be one with nature as you’re surrounded by so much of it on all sides of the hotel and beyond.

With our guide Ms. Maruta (we LOVED her!!!) in front of the Chuzenji Kanaya Hotel

The front of the hotel

We loved the grassy area in the back which was full of trees and areas to walk around, sit, meditate and simply relax.

Above and below, views from our room balcony.

There are lots of trees and bird life. We would have loved to see how the leaves change to beautiful oranges, reds and yellows later in the fall. We were there in mid to late September however my understanding is that they really start to pop in late October. That said, anytime of year would be beautiful here, including winter.

Below, walking up to the hotel from the back, which is green, grassy and serene. Across the road is water where you can use the canoes. To the right is the main hotel property at the top of the stairs and the glass area in the middle is a walkway that takes you to the spa and hot springs. The wooden building on the left houses the hot springs for both men and women.

Above and below: the backside of the Chuzenji Kanaya Hotel

The Rooms

There are various room types to choose from, including suites. They all have their own unique types and notice how they have tried to maintain the original charm of the historical nature of the hotel, a bit like its downtown Nikko counterpart.  Below is a Junior Suite and a Deluxe Twin, from left to right. The room on the right was very similar to the room we had during our stay.

Below is the Special Suite and on the right, the Honeymoon Suite.

We had a standard Twin but it was still ample in size and had its own private balcony with a view.

The balcony off our room.

The view of the grounds from our balcony.

Inside the rooms, you’ll find a shower, bath tub, and the infamous Japanese washlet toilets (electric toilet seats with water spray for washing) and let’s not forget those heated toilet seats. They also offer a heater and air conditioner in the room as well as an air purifier and humidifier, which we found compelling. There’s also a mini-bar and fridge of course.  All guest rooms are equipped with Sun Nahoru products.

The Open Air Onsen/Hot Springs  

On-site, on the main floor, you can choose to go in their indoor hot springs or their open air hot springs bath (Sora-Buro). Unlike the other hot springs experiences we had in Japan (Yamanashi and other parts of the Nikko area), the hot springs here at Chuzenji Kanaya Hotel are primarily sulphur based.

The indoor hot springs

Below, are the outdoor sulphur hot springs which did more than just ease the tension from our long day of touring.

For more information on the property, the room types and how to book, visit their website.

DETAILS:

Chuzenji Kanaya Hotel

2482 Chugushi,  Nikko-shi

Tochigi 321-1661 Japan

Tele: +81.228.54.0001

https://www.kanayahotel.co.jp/eng/ckh

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Note: we were hosted by all opinions expressed are entirely our own.

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