An Eclectic Ranking of Luxury Accommodation in Hokkaido

Posted on Mar 12, 2021
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Posted on Mar 12, 2021

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Here's our ranking of five high-end accommodation we've stayed in here in Hokkaido over the last 10 years or so. It's an eclectic mix, because these are the only high-end accommodation we've stayed at - campgrounds and mountain huts are our usual go-to. While we love the simplicity of a hut deep in the mountains, special occasions over the years have dictated something a little more up market. Rooms on this short ranked list start at around 30,000yen (US$280) a night, so pucker up. If you have some epic Hokkaido accommodation recommendations, drop a comment in the comment section below.

Disclaimer: Besides Fenix Furano, we paid full price for these stays.

Taking top spot on our list is Yuyado Daiichi 湯宿だいいち in Yoroushi Onsen 養老牛温泉 in eastern Hokkaido. It’s arguably our favourite high-end accommodation we’ve stayed in here in Hokkaido. At 30,000yen+ for a riverside room, it was a special wedding anniversary splurge. We’d chosen this place because each night a rare Blakiston’s fish owl frequents the lobby garden, lured there by a pond offering live fish opened up by the staff each night. The whole place is extraordinarily relaxing, with a multitude of natural hot spring onsen baths, including a river-level mixed outdoor bath.

Yoroushi Onsen is an easy number one for us for a number of reasons: the wildlife, the down-to-earth atmosphere, amazing onsen, big rooms, and…Blakiston’s fish owl!! It’s super rare to see the world’s largest species of owl, so it’s very much worth making the trek into this very rural part of Hokkaido to stay here and see one. 
The food was fantastic and they were able to provide a delicious vegetarian dinner for Haidee with just a few days notice.

Even if you had to stay at the cheapest, dingiest accommodation for your entire trip, just to save pennies to stay here for one night, we’d recommend doing so. It’s a special place.

It’s also possible to use the onsen as a day visitor.

Lakeside Ko-no-Sumika ザ・レイクスイート湖の栖 was another wedding anniversary splurge, and takes second place. It’s a very new luxury hotel on the shores of Lake Toya. Expect to pay around 70,000yen per night for a private onsen-equipped room (Haidee managed to get a bargain on Jaran at 33,160yen for our night there). All onsen are infinity-pool style. The large lobby has a fantastic library with all sorts of inspiring adventure-related books – I spent at least an hour after dinner devouring some Everest and Patagonia mountaineering picture books.

This was very much at the upper limit of what we’d be happy to pay for when splurging on a special occasion – a mega deal at 33,160yen per night, when full price for the same room would have been over 60,000yen. But it did give us a taste of what that sort of cash gets you – extraordinarily well designed layout which sooths the soul.

Our el-cheapo plan didn’t include dinner at their upmarket restaurant – instead we were herded like cattle with the rest of the mass-tourism punters into the buffet hall. I’d rather eat by a smoky hut fireplace than in such chaos, but if paying full price, you might get the best cuisine Hokkaido has to offer.

Lakeside Ko-no-Sumika’s onsen are too flash for day visitors, so the only way you’re going to experience the hot springs is by staying the night.

*Photos supplied by Lakeside Ko-no-Sumika

Fenix Furano フェニックス富良野 is an ultra-new luxury apartment style accommodation directly opposite the Kitanomite Gondola next to the Furano ski area in central Hokkaido. They’re squarely targeting the traveler to Hokkaido who must have prime, ultra-modern access to Furano’s piste skiing offerings. It’s literally a 1 minute walk from lobby to gondola line. Peak season rooms start at 30,000yen. 

To be honest, we wouldn’t usually choose to stay this close to a ski field – we didn’t even ski Furano when we were there. Nisade were kind enough to put us up for a couple of nights as we explored some surrounding backcountry offerings. 

That said, we were overall impressed by Fenix Furano. Architecturally, we’ll go out on a limb and say it’s the only large-scale accommodation provider in the Furano ski area surrounds that truly captures the soul of Hokkaido’s outdoor aesthetics. Many other hotels in the area are casualties of a 1990’s cleansing of the landscape with gaudy faux European styling.

Fenix Furano on the other hand mixes utilitarian concrete with the warmth of wood. There’s a randomness to the placement of columns on the frontage that somehow remind us of Hokkaido’s frontier heritage. White silver birch shirakaba trees line the front of the hotel. It’s about as tasteful as a six-story monument to mass tourism can get, and for that we’re thankful.

The room we were put up in was nice. Big king-size bed, trendy furniture, huge wall-to-wall/ceiling-to-floor window looking west towards the Daisetsuzan Range, small kitchenette, and big TV. The ground floor had a huge ski locker with one entire wall devoted to boot dryers.

One gripe though – why no onsen?! If you want a good traditional Japanese onsen hotspring soak at the end of your day, you’ll need to go elsewhere (the nearby Hotel Naturwald Furano has onsen for day visitors for 600yen).

If your modus operandi is ski the groomers and/or lift-accessed side-country till you die and you want the most seamless, modern facilitation of such, Fenix Furano may be your place. Super relaxed and helpful all-English speaking staff were great too.

Fenix Furano is an ultra-new luxury apartment style accommodation directly opposite the Kitanomite Gondola next to the Furano ski area in central Hokkaido. They’re squarely targeting the traveler to Hokkaido who must have prime, ultra-modern access to Furano’s piste skiing offerings. It’s literally a 1 minute walk from lobby to gondola line. Peak season rooms start at 30,000yen. 

To be honest, we wouldn’t usually choose to stay this close to a ski field – we didn’t even ski Furano when we were there. Nisade were kind enough to put us up for a couple of nights as we explored some surrounding backcountry offerings. 

That said, we were overall impressed by Fenix Furano. Architecturally, we’ll go out on a limb and say it’s the only large-scale accommodation provider in the Furano ski area surrounds that truly captures the soul of Hokkaido’s outdoor aesthetics. Many other hotels in the area are casualties of a 1990’s cleansing of the landscape with gaudy faux European styling.

Fenix Furano on the other hand mixes utilitarian concrete with the warmth of wood. There’s a randomness to the placement of columns on the frontage that somehow remind us of Hokkaido’s frontier heritage. White silver birch shirikaba trees line the frontage. It’s about as tasteful as a six-story monument to mass tourism can get, and for that we’re thankful.

The room we were put up in was nice. Big king-size bed, trendy furniture, huge wall-to-wall/ceiling-to-floor window looking west towards the Daisetsuzan Range, small kitchenette, and big TV. The ground floor had a huge ski locker with one entire wall devoted to boot dryers.

One gripe though – why no onsen?! If you want a good traditional Japanese onsen hotspring soak at the end of your day, you’ll need to go elsewhere (the nearby Hotel Naturwald Furano has onsen for day visitors for 600yen).

If your modus operandi is ski the groomers and/or lift-accessed side-country till you die and you want the most seamless, modern facilitation of such, Fenix Furano may be your place. Super relaxed and helpful all-English speaking staff were great too.

The Shikaribetsu Onsen Hotel Fusui 然別湖畔温泉ホテル風水 doesn’t quite fit into the pedigree of the previous three hotels, but we paid 25,000yen for the night, so it’s very much up there for us. The drawcard was the Shikaribetsu Lake Ice Festival (and momonga sighting tour the next day). This hotel sits next to Hokkaido’s highest lake, and is within the Daisetsuzan National Park.

While the hotel itself is tired, dated, and literally falling down in places, the onsen overlooking the lake is nice (if not a bit pokey). The food was very good (they were able to provide a well-balanced vegetarian dinner with a few days notice), once again with a grand view of the lake.

It’s probably worth pointing out that this is the last hotel in operation here at Shikaribetsu Lake. The other gargantuan eye-sore of a hotel sits rotting a little further up the gully. A casualty of a 1980’s boom-then-bust.

Lake Shikaribetsu is also nice in summer – we did an overnight canoe trip there a couple of seasons back.

What the Sapporo Kitahiroshima Classe Hotel 札幌北広島クラッセホテル lacks in character, it makes up for in location and its private onsen. To make the most of the views, you’ll want to book a corner room on one of the upper rooms, which will likely set you back around 30,000yen. My birthday was the excuse Haidee needed to check this place out – it’s only a 30 minute bike ride from our apartment in Sapporo. We arrived sweaty and dusty on a hot summer’s afternoon to some curious gazes by the staff…

Apparently the golf must be good enough to support this massive hotel in the middle of nowhere, somewhere in the no-man’s land on the southern outskirts of Sapporo City. The 10-story hotel makes the most of the hilltop views though, with an inspiringly high-ceiling penthouse-style dining hall on the top floor.

The food was on the better end of mass-tourist buffet. Eating a nice meal with the epic views across to Eniwa-dake and Tarumae-zan will always taste nice though. Our room was a corner room on the 8th floor, so we had decent views from there too.

Both the communal onsen hotspring and the private onsen are lovely. If possible, book the private onsen ahead of time. The large single tub is great for nice views across to the forest.

*Photos supplied by Sapporo Classe Hotel Kitahiroshima

Comments | Queries | Discussion

2 thoughts on “An Eclectic Ranking of Luxury Accommodation in Hokkaido”

  1. It was over 10 years ago, but I remember the Marukoma Hot Spring Hotel, located on the northern shore of Lake Shikotsu. The outdoor onsen was stunning with the view over the lake. I also have fond memories of the food.

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An Eclectic Ranking of Luxury Accommodation in Hokkaido Difficulty Rating

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