The plentiful accommodation situated directly on the doorsteps of Tsugaike’s slopes falls into several different broad categories; hotels, pensions, lodges and traditional Japanese guest houses (“minshuku” and “ryokan”). All are comfortable and friendly, but below is a basic explanation of the general* differences between these lodging types to help you choose the accommodation that is right for you.
* Please be aware that there is no universal standard to differentiate accommodation types by name, therefore the following explanations are intended as a general description only.
The word “hotel” refers to a larger establishment (10 or more guest rooms) whose rooms are typically western style, featuring beds and a private, attached toilet and bath. Additionally, hotels often have traditional communal bath or hot spring facilities as well.
The term “pension” is used to describe a family-run establishment smaller in size than a hotel, whose rooms are usually western style, with beds, but may or may not include a private, attached toilet and bath. Generally, the food served is also western style. Pensions are normally less expensive than hotels.
“Lodges” usually offer simple, basic accommodation with a mountain hut-esque atmosphere; log-cabin inspired construction, wood-burning stoves, country decor, etc… Whereas a cottage would be a single-family residence, a lodge would be similar to the hotel version of a cottage, with multiple guest rooms located in a similarly stylized building.
Japanese Guest Houses (Ryokan & Minshuku)
“Minshuku” are essentially the Japanese-style version of a “pension”; small, family-run establishments that feature Japanese-style rooms with traditional Japanese futons for bedding, most likely featuring a communal bath and shared bathroom. The food served is also mainly Japanese style.
“Ryokan” are traditional Japanese inns, with tatami rooms and futons for bedding. They vary in size, but always have at least 5 rooms. Guestrooms may have a private, attached toilet and bath, but almost always will also offer communal bathing or hot spring facilities. Japanese meals are standard, and the nightly rates are higher than those of a “minshuku”.