Nikko: Hoshino Resorts KAI Kinugawa
The entrance to the resort was a private tram lifting us up a hillside.
Hoshino Resorts is one of the most well known and sought after hot spring and resort ryokan chains in Japan. We stayed for a night at their KAI Kinugawa location, which is part of their KAI line, when we visited Nikko for a weekend.
The entrance to the resort was very unique. We boarded a small tram that took us up a track along the hillside. The staff greeted us at the top where we entered the tranquil resort grounds.
KAI Kinugawa is beautifully designed and Japanese-styled, and the ryokan rooms border around a garden area in the center.
The rooms are spacious and comfortable, and each has a balcony to the outside. They’re about 40m² each and ranges between $300 to $600 USD per night.
The onsen hot springs are nice and relaxing, and when we went, wasn’t crowded despite the resort typically being quite full. I personally don’t like going into an onsen that’s full of people, and I didn’t have an issues here.
Outside of the onsen is an all-you-can-eat popsicle freezer and a lineup of several bottles of nihonshu, or Japanese sake, free for the taking.
Like all ryokans, Japanese kaiseki meals are included, and it rounds out the ryokan experience. KAI Kinugawa’s definitely didn’t disappoint. Each dish is beautifully presented, cooked to perfection with careful Japanese details, and is filling.