Aizankei Onsen Eco Lodge
According to the lodge’s website, the first time a building was built on the site was in 1926, first named Naoi Onsen (直井温泉). Since the adjacent hut and the lodge itself was built, and has changed management multiple times. Currently, Aizankei Onsen Eco Lodge is managed by Rinyu Kanko – the company that runs the Kurodake Ropeway. Despite all the changes over the years, the atmosphere stays the same – a magnet for mountain people. The ‘eco’ moniker hails from the fact the lodge’s electricity is generated by the lodge’s own hydro electric generator.
It’s most certainly not a hut. It’s a fully serviced lodge with clean Japanese-style guest rooms, onsen hotsprings, a kitchen and self-catering area, a piano, and an open fire. The best part of the lodge is the people. The current (as of 2020) manager was one of the founders of a popular Sapporo mountain gear shop (Paddle Club), and the lodge is a common port of call for mountain guides and track maintenance staff. If you’re staying there, sit in the open-fire common area, strike up conversations with other guests, and play the piano.
The lodge is open from May till October. It’s closed over winter – the 13km approach road is not cleared in winter.
Here’s a video of the place, by Hokkaido Shimbun Newspaper: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xSxxRvigMA
Booking ahead is highly recommended, especially during the spring skiing season in May, and the peak autumn colors season in September/October. Contact Rinyu Kanko on the email or phone number above (English should be OK, but be prepared to speak slowly and clearly).
The lodging price differs on the season. Expect 4,000yen per night in the shoulder seasons, and 7,000yen per night in the peak summer season (5,000yen a night if sharing a room). See prices here: https://www.aizankeionsen.rinyu.co.jp/blank
Heating: The whole lodge is heated, with additional individual kerosene heaters in each room.
Water: There’s potable drinking water at the lodge.
Kitchen/cooking: There’s a basic dining area where guests can self-cater. There’s a microwave, refrigerator, kettles, a few portable table-top gas burners, and an array of plates, cups, and some cutlery/pots/pans. The lodge also offers meals (temporarily suspended in 2020 due to the pandemic).
Bedding: Bedding is provided in the guest rooms. There’s also onsen gowns (yukata) available to wear in the lodge.
Elecricity: The lodge is powered by it’s own hydro-electric generator, run by a nearby river.
Toilets: There are sit-down (Western-style) washlet toilets in the communal bathrooms. There are no en-suite rooms in the lodge – all bathrooms are communal.
Cell reception: If you’re extremely lucky, you might get a very weak Docomo signal. Otherwise, there’s no Internet or mobile reception.
There is lodge staff present at the lodge 24hrs a day.
There’s also a cheaper (2,500yen per night), more simple dorm-like accommodation right next to the lodge – the Aizankei Onsen Hut.
Aizankei Onsen Eco Lodge Hut Trip reports
Aizankei Onsen Eco Lodge Hut Photo Gallery
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