Rikugeian (location) sits just down the road from Pippu Ski Area, just north of Ashahikawa City in central northern Hokkaido. To the north is the expansive Teshio Mountains area (天塩山地), to the east is the northern Daisetsu Range (北大雪), and to the west are the low-lying (but incredibly cold) Horokanai hills.
Rikugeian isn’t a hut per se. But it’s a rustic, Japanese-style AirBnB that oozes functionality. The entrance area and kitchen is a traditional doma earthen floor (土間), there’s a traditional irori Japanese sunken hearth (囲炉裏), tatami sleeping areas, and a ski/board waxing station. Add to that the modern luxuries of always-on heating (and good insulation), shower/bath, full guest kitchen, towels, and washing machine, and this has to be one of the best-value AirBnB for backcountry skiers in northern Hokkaido.
Rokugeian must be booked ahead via AirBnB (listing here). Bookings are for the whole house, so get in quick if you know you’re needing accommodation in northern central Hokkaido. After booking, the owner will ask (via AirBnB message) for photos of an official ID for each guest to be sent to him in advance (such as passport, drivers license etc).
Nightly fees start at 6,000yen per night for the whole house for up to two people. For each extra person, it’s an extra 2,000yen per night, up to six people max.
Heating: The house is heated mainly with a large vented kerosene heater, always set at 25°C. Multiple signs around the walls tell people not to change the temperature on the heater. There’s also a separate wood stove in the kitchen, but there doesn’t seem to be any wood supplied. Even if there was, the wood stove is in a relatively inconvenient location – there isn’t really enough room to set up chairs around the fire.
Water: There is water piped to the house. The AirBnB listing boasts that the water at Rikugeian is particularly delicious.
Kitchen/cooking: There are a number of portable casetto-conro gas burners in the kitchen. We used these to cook nabe hotpot on the living room low table. Bring your own threadless gas canisters (like this) to use these portable gas burners. Casette-konro gas canisters are available in all supermarkets and many convenience stores. There’s also a large supply of charcoal, as well as fire-starters. Use this in the indoor firepit for your indoor yakiniku BBQ parties. The kitchen is well supplied with plates, cutlery, pots, pans, and other essential kitchen items. There’s a fridge and microwave too. This AirBnB cannot supply meals – it’s self-catering only. There are plenty of supermarkets and convenience stores in nearby towns.
Bedding: Clean futons (futon mats and duvets) and pillows are supplied.
Elecricity: There is mains electricity in the house.
Toilets: There’s one flushable toilet in the house.
Cell reception: Docomo worked well, Softbank not so much. We didn’t check AU. There’s also high-speed WIFI available.
We didn’t see the owner of the house when we were there. Location of the key will be communicated in advance via AirBnB.
Follow the guidance on the AirBnB House Guidebook regarding usage notes, garbage disposal and sorting, and other special requirements.
Rikugeian Hut Photo Gallery
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