Living room area in the Wakayama Onsen Hotel

If you’re planning a trip to Wakayama, and you’ve planned too many things to do there, we recommend a pit stop at this hotel.

Actually, scrape that. It’s more of an attraction by itself than a simple abode.

南紀白浜 浜千鳥の湯 海舟, or Shirahama Hamachidorinoyu Kaisyu in English, is a gorgeous traditional onsen hotel by the sea. Amazing views and onsens, and a comfortable room, it’s the perfect spot to rest while exploring Japan.

Our honest review of Hamachidorinoyu Kaisyu Onsen Hotel

For context, we’ve actually stayed in this onsen hotel exactly ten years ago, and we were surprised to find that the prices dropped to ¥13,750 per pax. 

Whether it’s from lowering standards or from increased competitions from new hotels in Shirahama, we wouldn’t know for sure. But here’s what we think about our most recent stay in 2024.

First impressions of the hotel 

Instead of a grand lobby like most hotels would have, you’’ll find an obscured rock path into the hotel. 

If it’s your first time here, you’ll think “wow! This place is really traditional!” The vibes were good. Just pray that it doesn’t rain because you’re going to have a hard time transferring your luggage from the car to the lobby.

Like most traditional onsen hotels, you’re store your footwear in a locker at the entrance. The lobby reception will safeguard your keys.

How were the rooms?

Bedroom area in Hamachidorinoyu Kaisyu Onsen Hotel

The rooms were perfect. It was spacious and clean. The sleeping area was separated from the lounging area. Some onsen hotels use the same space — hotel staff will lay out the futons in the evening — which I personally do not prefer for hygiene reasons.

Also, we were surprised to find a private onsen tub in our very own room. 

wakayama hotel with private onsen tub in room
Private tubs are connected to the shower screen

The onsens

Alas, the main attraction of an onsen hotel — the onsen.

The bathhouse was so clean. Not a single stain or dirt in sight. The shower area is equipped with the basic toiletries: shampoo, conditioner, body soap and face wash.

Meanwhile, the onsen is split into two indoor baths and two outdoor baths.

Dinner — kaiseki

kaiseki dinner at hamachidorinoyu
Sashimi and sushi served on a wooden boat

While the rooms and onsen were great, the food has room for improvement.

Just like most onsen hotels in Japan, the prices of the rooms are tied with breakfast and dinner. 

The dinner we had was kaiseki, which is a traditional Japanese multi-course meal. 

Poor lighting at the hotel's dining hall
“Hey Alexa, play “Blinding Lights” by The Weekend

There was not a single dish that stood out to us. But to be fair to Hamachidorinoyu Kaisyu, nothing was bad either. It was just a very mediocre meal. However, the atmosphere was horrible. Harsh spotlights were used throughout the dining hall, and we were one of the unlucky ones who had it the worst. The spotlights were blasted directly in our faces as we ate. 

Western Breakfast at Hamachidorinoyu Kaisyu Hotel
Western Breakfast

Meanwhile, breakfast — with the choice of Japanese and Western — came in generous portions. There is a free-flow salad station, as well as drinks, comprising of hot green tea, black coffee from Boss, milk, and soft drinks. 

If possible, they could adopt to a system that some hotels use, where they ask for your breakfast time beforehand. This reduces waiting time as they can have the dishes prepared at the agreed timing. Instead, we had to wait 20 minutes for our breakfast. 

Vibey lounge area with free food

lounging area in the lobby at wakayama onsen hotel

Their saving grace for the poor restaurant design is the lounge area on the first floor. It’s located beside the souvenir shop.

In the afternoon, from 5pm to 8pm, you can get warabimochi and fish cakes for free. Meanwhile, from 10pm to 11pm, you can get a bowl of ramen. 

It’s also the perfect spot to view the sunset, with lounge chairs on the balcony. 

Our verdict

So what’s our review of Hamachidorinoyu Kaisyu?

Hamachidorinoyu Kaisyu is still a great onsen hotel in the Shirahama region. The bathhouse is superb and the rooms are clean and spacious. If you factor in the price, which is ¥13,750 per person, you’ll realise how worth it this hotel really is.

With the decrease in room rates compared to ten years ago, I won’t fault them for the mediocre dinner, but they could really consider changing the lighting in the dining hall to something more comfortable.

Make a reservation in advance on their official website or on Booking.

Location: 1698-1, Shirahama, Nishimuro District, Wakayama 649-2211, Japan

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