Utsunomiya is the administrative center of Tochigi Prefecture and about one hour north of Tokyo by Shinkansen. It is close to Nikko and famous for its gyoza (pan-fried dumplings), so I already had two reasons to go there! But the city itself has a lot to offer, too. It developed around Utsunomiya Futaarayama Shrine, which was built about 1600 years ago. Many old shrines and temples and Utsunomiyajoshi Park, with reconstructions of the former castle and related buildings, can be found within walking distance of Utsunomiya Station.
And right there I found great accommodation for my trip to Tochigi Prefecture: HOTEL MYSTAYS Utsunomiya. When I exited the train and wanted to check where the hotel was located, this wasn’t even necessary, as it is visible from the platform! I just took the east exit and walked for three minutes and voilà, I was in the noble lobby of HOTEL MYSTAYS Utsunomiya.
The hotel is a large building with eleven floors. An escalator leads to the 2nd floor where the friendly staff is already waiting to check you in. They all speak very good English and are at your disposal whenever you have a question or need help. The guest rooms are located on the floors 4 through 8, and there are single rooms, double rooms and twin rooms, the latter two also available as superior and deluxe rooms. Every room has its own bathroom and is equipped with a TV, fridge, a water cooker and tea, and amenities in the bathroom such as shampoo, conditioner and body soap. Every floor has vending machines, and a laundry room is on the 4th floor. If you get hungry, you can take the elevator down to visit the Restaurant Travel Cafe, which offers a buffet-style breakfast in the morning for ¥1200 and lunch from 11:30 to 14:00 for between ¥900 and ¥1000.
On the top floor is a gym room you can use for free. It has an amazing view over Utsunomiya Station and I found it very pleasant to watch the cars and pedestrians while working out. The top floor hosts several meeting rooms and the Grand Ballroom. HOTEL MYSTAYS Utsunomiya is also prepared for business travelers, who need meeting rooms for conferences, and for weddings. There are a bridal salon and several banquet rooms, so if you’re lucky you might see a bridal couple!