[Hotel Review] Niigata: Shikinoyado Minoya Ryokan (Yahiko) - 四季の宿みのや - Vikingess Voyages

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

[Hotel Review] Niigata: Shikinoyado Minoya Ryokan (Yahiko) - 四季の宿みのや

The prefecture Niigata is among other things known for its hot springs (onsen), and one of the areas most famous for onsen is Yahiko, a village not too far from Tsubame City south in Niigata. I visited Yahiko with my family a little while ago, and we had the pleasure of spending a night at the traditional Japanese ryokan hotel there called Shikinoyado Minoya (四季の宿みのや) - the Inn of Four Seasons
Shikinoyado Minoya is said to have a history going back around 300 years. As the name of the ryokan goes you can enjoy each of the four seasons to the fullest here - cherry blossoms in spring, nearby beaches in summer, the season of the red leaves (kouyou / 紅葉) in autumn and the snowy landscape during winter. 
Reception area
We received a warm welcome by the staff upon checkin and after a quick debriefing about the ryokan (where to eat dinner and breakfast, what to do in the area etc) we headed for our room.
The lobby with view to the little Japanese garden

We had reserved a washitsu (和室) - Japanese style room - for our stay with futon (布団) madrases on the floor. This is how our room looked like:
A picture of our table with a cute senbei cookie that had a design with the name of the ryokan on it
Yukata robes in different colours
Drawings showing how to put on yukata robes
It is common for the staff at Japanese ryokan to make the final preparations of the beds in the washitsu during your dinner, which means that although you won't find any beds prepared when you first arrive this will all have been taken care of once you get back to your room in the evening. The picture below shows how the room looked when we came back after dinner.

The rooms at Shikinoyado Minoya come with the following amenities:

  • air conditioning
  • coffee/tea maker
  • heating
  • Comp. internet access – LAN
  • seating area
  • toiletries
  • bathtub
  • desk
  • in room safe
  • refrigerator
  • shower
  • blackout curtains
  • hair dryer
  • internet access – LAN
  • satellite/cable TV
  • television LCD/plasma screen


Both dinner and breakfast were included in our stay (drinks for dinner come separate), and as usual at Japanese ryokan hotels they bring you a wide selection of Japanese dishes, with everything from sashimi to tempura being served on small plates. The Japanese cuisine is much about enjoying a variety of tastes, so instead of serving a couple of big dishes you'll get a number of small dishes covering anything from sweet to sour to umami taste of soy. 
We also had a lovely breakfast buffet in the morning, but unfortunately I didn't have the chance to take any pictures except from the view from the 7th floor restaurant:

While staying at Shikino Yado Minoya you'll have the chance to soak in the ryokan's onsen hot spring bath - they have both a regular bath and an open-air bath on the 8th floor for all guest open almost around the hour from 5 am until 1 am (cleaning lasts for one hour between 10 am till 11 am). The water holds around 47.9 ℃, and the onsen area also has a sauna for those who want to sweat a little bit extra.
Entrance to the onsen
Changing room

View of the outdoor rotenburo hot spring from inside the onsen

Other Facilities

You can also find some other forms of entertainment at the ryokan such as a karaoke room available for rental or an outdoor ashiyu (足湯) footbath if you prefer to keep most of your body out of the hot water rather than soaking in the regular onsen. Another plus is that the ashiyu is situated outside the main building, which means that unlike the onsen you can share the footbath with friends of the opposite sex. The little Japanese garden outside the ryokan is another option for a nice place to spend some relaxing time.

If you have time you can simply enjoy gazing at the Japanese garden outside the hotel
Bar/restaurant inside the ryokan
Souvenir shop inside the ryokan

Art by the entrance

Japanese geta available for guests

Shikinoyado Minoya is conveniently located almost right in front of the popular Yahiko Shrine, and with its proximity both to the shrine and to the sacred Mt. Yahiko it is an ideal place to stay for those who want to explore this picturesque area of Niigata. For more information about features and prices of the ryokan please see their page.

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Basic Info

Name of Hotel: Shikinoyado Minoya (Yahiko) - 四季の宿みのや
Star Rating: ★★★★
Location From Tokyo, take the shinkansen bullet train to Tsubame Sanjo Station (1 hour and 40 minutes). From there take the local Yahiko Line (弥彦線) to Yahiko Station (弥彦駅) (17 minutes). The ryokan is situated 10 minutes by foot from the station
Check in: Check In From 3PM
Check Out Until 10AM

Recommended Hotels in Niigata

Shikino Yado Minoya Hotel
Shikino Yado Minoya Hotel
Hotel Lungwood Niigata
Hotel Lungwood Niigata
Shaga-no-Sato Yumeya
Shaga-no-Sato Yumeya
Hotel Nikko Niigata
Hotel Nikko Niigata

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About Anette
Anette came to Japan as an exchange student in 2010, met the love of her life and got stuck. From her base in Tokyo she writes about her experiences as a full-time worker in Tokyo and about her travels in Japan and abroad. She's a free-spirited adventurer who enjoys both the great outdoors and her urban lifestyle.

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Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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