“The Kanaya Nikko occupies a commanding position on a hill at the left near the Red Bridge. English spoken; modern improvements; fine views; good food; recommended. Single rooms: the best are above the dining room overlooking the Daiya gawa and the mountains; for 1 pers from ¥5 and upward per day; ¥9 and upward for 2 pers. American plan, with private bath for 2 pers from ¥16 to ¥20. Special reductions for a fortnight or longer.
“The suites in the semi-Japanese wing with foreign furniture are comfortable and are a bit cheaper than the others. Certain of the interior decorations are copied from those in the mausolea. The pictures in the dining room are of famous native poets. Baths free. Laundry 5 sen for each article irrespective of size.”
– Terry’s Japanese Empire, T. Philip Terry, 1914
“We stayed at the pleasant Hotel Kanaya at Nikko. It is one of the Europeanised Japanese Hotels. I may mention casually as an instance of cosmopolitan life that we saw here a lady and gentleman whom Mr Sissons and myself met two years previously in Africa on the borders of the Desert of Sahara.
“I never can forget the large refreshing branches of cherry blossom which decorated the breakfast room or the beautiful morning and evening views from the windows.”
– Japan and America: Lecture, by J. Fox Sharp, 1900
“Founded in 1873, on a hill above the Sacred Bridge, the Kanaya Hotel is the most famous hotel in Nikko, combing the rustic hardiness of a European lodge with elements of old Japan. An outdoor skating rink, free for use by hotel guests, is open from December through February. Just above the hotel there is an artificial pond — ‘Lake Placid’. It is rather small, nearly rectangular … the water about a foot deep. In the winter time it is used for skating.
“The hotel began as an inn when the owner, Kanaya Zenichiro, employed as a traditional musician at Toshogu Shrine, offered rooms to foreign travelers who brought with them special letters of introduction. One day in 1871, Kanaya gave Dr. J.C. Hepburn, an American missionary and famous doctor in Yokohama, a night’s lodging. Dr. Hepburn then recommended to Kanaya that he open an inn at his house. It was the birth of Kanaya Cottage Inn (also called ‘Kanaya Samurai House’).
“In 1893 Kanaya built a new building in place of the original inn. Among the Kanaya Hotel’s most illustrious guests have been British diplomat Ernest Satow, a frequent guest; American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who stayed briefly in 1905; Albert Einstein stayed overnight in 1922; and Helen Keller in 1937.”
“And 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.”
– Travel in Japan, 1938
“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