Nikko Kanaya Hotel is the most famous hotel in Nikko and the oldest western-style resort hotel in Japan. This is a stylish and historic hotel offering traditional Japanese hospitality with luxuriously furnished guest rooms in a beautiful hill-top setting. This hotel’s facilities include a French restaurant, gift shop, café, bar, outdoor swimming pool, and a wintertime ice rink. The Kanaya Hotel is also located in a prime central location with easy access to major sightseeing attractions such as the Toshogu Shrine, Futarasan Temple, Rinnoji Temple, and the Shinkyo Bridge.
The history of the Kanaya Hotel dates back to 1873 when Zenichiro Kanaya, the head of a local samurai family, opened up his own home as an inn for foreign guests. One of the inn’s early guests was the explorer Isabella Bird who stayed at the house in 1878 and described the house in her letters as a “Japanese idyll”. In 1893 Zenichiro moved his business to a new location which is the site of the current Kanaya Hotel. Among this hotel’s more notable guests were Frank Lloyd Wright in 1905, Albert Einstein in 1922, and Helen Keller in 1937. However, it is still possible to visit the original “cottage inn” and its garden, which is open as a museum called Kanaya Hotel History House.
Nikko Kanaya Hotel has a range of beautifully furnished twin bed rooms and suites. Guest rooms are provided with a heater and air conditioner, a refrigerator, a TV, an air purifier with a humidifier function, a hair dryer, and a cotton yukata as nightwear. Private bathrooms have either a shower stall or bathtub.
Complimentary amenities include towels, toothbrush sets, razors, shampoo, soap, conditioner, face wash, cleansing oil, cotton swabs, hair brushes, and shower caps.
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Nikko Kanaya Hotel
Breakfast & Dining
Breakfast is served in the hotel restaurant between 7.30 and 9.30. Guests can enjoy a western-style breakfast of eggs, bacon, toast, juice, coffee or tea in the elegant main dining room. The restaurant is also open for lunch and dinner and serves French cuisine with specialty dishes such as Nikko beef steak or sautéed rainbow trout.
This hotel also has a lounge café where you can enjoy a range of fine desserts or try their “100 Years Curry” which is based on a 100-year-old Kanaya Hotel recipe containing duck, chicken, and beef. There is also an elegant bar with comfortable furnishings, soft lighting, an open fireplace, and 200 varieties of malt whisky to sample while listening to classic jazz standards.
Other Services & Facilities
Hotel Kanaya has a 24 hour front desk and the friendly English speaking reception staff are very eager to help guests with their enquiries. Check-in time is from 15.00 and check-out is by 11.00. Luggage storage and foreign currency exchange services are provided.
Hotel Kanaya is famous for its bakery and baked goods such as cookies, pies, and bread can be bought in the hotel gift shop.
This hotel has a heated swimming pool which is open during the months of July and August. There is also a skating rink available in the winter if the weather is cold enough for the water to freeze.
There is a small exhibition space with antique objects from the Kanaya Hotel’s long history and also a gallery displaying historical photographs.
Free Wi-Fi internet access is available throughout the hotel.
This hotel is completely non-smoking.
Nikko Kanaya Hotel occupies a hill-top position overlooking the Daiya River and the Shinkyo Bridge. The hotel is a 5 minute taxi or bus ride from Tobu Nikko Station or a 6 minute ride from JR Nikko Station. The hotel provides a free shuttle bus service to and from the station at regular intervals. Here is a map showing the hotel’s location.
Article and original photos by Michael Lambe. All rights reserved.