“As the Japanese proverb says ‘You cannot say ‘splendid’ until you have seen Nikko’, so you may not express a final opinion on Japan’s hotels until you have stayed at Nikko’s Kanaya Hotel. Of course no self-respecting visitor to Japan does Nikko in a day, and especially after he has tasted of the Kanaya Hotel’s hospitality, and the delicious trout from nearby Chuzenji Lake which the Kanaya regularly serves.
“Any season is good at the Kanaya, but if you want the thrill of skating in the romantic with a Broadway-style hotel at your elbow for refreshments, just go there in winter. You have but walk out of the lounge onto the Kanaya’s private natural skating rink; and if that is not an attraction to anyone with blood in their veins I do not know what is.”
– “Japan’s Hotels and Hospitality”, Travel in Japan, Vol. 4 No. 4, 1938
Ice Skating, Yatsushiro-ike, Japan, c. 1930
Ice skating at Lake Suwa, Nagano, c. 1930.
Kanaya Hotel, Nikko, c. 1920
Nikko, c. 1910
A View of Lake Chuzenji, Nikko, c. 1910
Nikko Hotel, Nikko, c. 1910
Lake Chuzenji, Nikko, c. 1910.
“Skating in Japan has a long history. In ancient times, a rough form of skate, made of a piece, of curved bamboo fastened tothe foot by straw thongs, was used in north Japan. But, skating with steel skates was unknown until about 50 years ago [ca. 1910] when foreigners in Japan introduced it on Lake Suwa in Nagano Prefecture.”
– Japan: The Official Guide, 1962
“The railroad ride to Nikko is tedious, although it furnishes greater variety than most of the other trips by rail through the Mikado’s empire. But, as soon as one is landed at the little station he recognizes that here is a place unlike any that he has seen. The road runs up a steep hill to the Kanaya Hotel, which is perched on a high bank overlooking the Daiyagawa river. Tall cedar trees clothe the banks, and across the river rise mountains, with the roofs of temples showing through the foliage at their base.
“This hotel is gratefully remembered by all tourists because of the artistic decoration of the rooms in Japanese style and the beneficent care of the proprietor, which includes a pretty kimono to wear to the morning bath, with straw sandals for the feet, and charming waitresses in picturesque costumes.”
– The Critic in the Orient, George Hamlin Fitch, 1913