These thank-you letters from our guests have made us feel happy.

I can't say enough about Villa-Alpen! "The Captain" and his staff made my trip to Shiga-Kogen on of the best ski trips I have ever taken. The accommodations are quaint, comfortable, and clean. The meals (Breakfast and Dinner) are truly amazing! The entire staff was completely accommodating and very nice. The environment is very friendly, traveling alone, I meet folks from all over in the bar enjoying a beer and the fire. The Skiing was amazing as well and having a lift, literally, right outside the door was clutch. Once you check into Villa-Alpan, there is no need to leave or travel anywhere else. Great place to stay and ski!
2012.25Feb Mike

It was cozy. Because owner tract us friendly and kindly. And each room is kept with a room temperature, and I could enjoy communicating with travelers who I got to know first time, especially Australian people in the bar room.
2012,Jan Hiro Tacchan

cannot speak highly enough of this wonderful place. The staff are so friendly and welcoming, and the owner (the "Captain") is a true character. The rooms are basic but comfortable and quite large by Japanese standards. The bar/lounge area is a great place to meet fellow travelers over a beer by the fireplace. The ski lift is literally 30m from the door, or you can catch a ski shuttle about 150m away. The Captain's wife prepares elaborate Japanese meals each night for dinner, and for breakfast you have a choice of a Western or Japanese style breakfast. The onsen in the basement is perfect after a day on the slopes. We traveled by train from Osaka to Nagano, and then caught the hassle-free local bus that takes you almost to the door. We had amazing powder the whole time we were at Shiga Kogen. On our journey home, we stopped at the Snow Monkey park - a must see for anyone to the region. Compared to some other ski areas in Japan, there are hardly any Westerners, however English speakers are well accommodated on transport and at the ski fields. The staff at Villa Alpen are all fluent in English. I will be back to Villa Alpen!2012 Jan AU Shannnon

Villa Alpen is a wonderful hotel. From the owners, Captain and Hiroko-san, to the entire staff, you will be welcomed as family and not just guests. The rooms are clean and spacious, the food delicious, and all at a great value. Their location in Sun Valley is a perfect ski-in ski-out location to the entire Shiga Kogen trail system. The bar area always has an eclectic group of folks from all over the world. The conversations and friendships made at Villa Alpen enhance the entire experience. There is a Japanese soaking bath which is very refreshing after a hard day skiing. The ski instructors are excellent and very patient with young skiers. We have been to Villa Alpen four times. Our first visit was in January 2006 and we just completed our latest visit this December. We recommend this hotel for any ski or snowboarding buffs who are looking for a friendly, convenient location to base out of for your vacation. The hotel also welcomes families as the staff is very good with children. The staff also is fluent in English for those guests traveling from outside Japan. I cannot say enough good things about our stays at Villa Alpen
2012 Jan  4Zs

Just came back from our 2nd stay with Villa Alpen. The furnishings at the hotel are very basic, but it is very clean and you will have everything you need - onsen, breakfast and excellent dinners (included in the price), ski rental, free internet, English speaking owners and English ski lessons (the Okazawa family will either do it themselves or they can arrange it for you). If it's skiing you are here for, there are few places that can beat Shiga. The powder snow is amazing. Ski lift is just 50m from the front door, ski bus stop is 200m away. Truly a ski-in ski-out location. If you are an intermediate skier, you will be able to ski all the way from Sun Valley to Okushigakogen (which is at one end of Shiga - about 2 hours skiing away). It beats taking the ski bus which can be infrequent (during peak hours about every 30 mins, thereafter every hour or so). The size of the ski area is immense and best of all it is deserted (no queues even on Christmas weekend). The Okazawa family is extremely friendly and helpful. The hotel is child-friendly too. All in all, it is the place to go for an affordable ski holiday. Highly recommended. If skiing in Dec, best to go after Christmas. We were there from 19-25 Dec 2011 and the first couple of days, many of the lifts and runs were closed due to insufficient snow. Snowfall is unpredictable in Dec, but what's on the ground is the famous dry Japanese powder. I have lots of pictures if anyone is interested. Email me: twk_pl<AT>hotmail.com. (from Singapore 2011Dec 29.

A true ski-in, ski-out location! The lift is literally 50 metres from the front door. As stated in previous reviews, the Villa Alpen might be a little run down due to the downturn in the Japanese economy but the service and hospitality of the English speaking Okazawa family more than make up for this deficiency.
We started coming here in 2004 when our son was one and we will continue to return for as long as the Captain and his family are there.
Food is great, abundant and fresh. There is an inhouse Onsen which is a real plus after a day out skiing. ..what more do you need!!
2011,Dec OZ

This is my fifth visit in five years staying at Villa Alpen. Ski-in /out location with fabulous hosts and fantastic value brings us back each year. Cosy bar, onsen, warm rooms, ski hire, ski lessons, free internet available.
Hotel needs updating but the host family /owners with their warm and friendly personalities, who will do anything possible to make your visit comfortable and enjoyable is the reason why my family continue to return each year for great skiing at a reasonable price. 2011JanOnz 

This is our second time to stay at Villa Alpen and we loved it. The owners are so gracious and helpful. The rooms are clean, well kept and dinner is excellent. We'll definitely be back again!2011Jan

We had a great stay at Villa Alpen: quiet, the owners made sure we were well looked after, the food was really good with variety & fresh produce (from local gardens). The hotel is quite run down, but the rooms were comfortable & warm and the bar area was really nice. Most of the hotels we visited in the nearby area had the same decor- some had updated their toilets, etc, but on the whole, Shiga Kogen has the feel of a place that was once popular in it's hey day- which means no queues and few other people on the slopes- great!
Villa Alpen is right on the ski slopes at Sun Valley- about 30 min shuttle bus away from the Ichinose ski area.2011March



13th Jan 2010.stay with friends.
We had a fantastic time at Villa Alpen. The staff were more than accommodating going out of their way to make Christmas special for us (Christmas Eve all the guests were brought together and presented with a delicious cake and the Captains own personal bottle of cider). This family run accommodation made a great place to base yourself in Shiga-Kogen.

Situated near the start of the resorts we spent 5 days here and had an excellent time skiing and boarding from one side of the massive resort to the other and back again! (it takes about an hour, to an hour and a half to cross on skis especially if you repeat a few runs, or you can take a bus which is free if you have a lift ticket)

Sun Valley as a run itself loosens up by about 930am - 1030am and is a lot of fun to whip up and down and kick up some snow.

Our accommodation package came with Dinner and Breakfast, for each night we stayed we received a different Japanese set meal and were given a run down on the varied styles and flavors. All oishi! (delicious). All food was fresh some parts of the meals were cooked at your table, it was more of a banquet than a meal. Breakfast was great with fat pieces of toast and eggs, jams, fresh apples, juice and coffee. Not much variation but good enough for an energy boost for the day ahead.

The bedrooms were warm and comfortable, I suggest a western bed if your not use to sleeping on a traditional Japanese mattress. Our room came with a clean shower and private bath and you could also make use of the Onsen downstairs which was the perfect thing after a hard day on the slopes.

I would definitely stay here again, a good tip is to try the home made liqueurs in the bar and take advantage of the free internet

Dear Captain,
I just wanted to write and say how much my father and I enjoyed Villa Alpen.
I arrived back in Australia over the weekend to a heatwave - is 43 degrees C here today, a big change from the snow of Shiga Kogen!!
Anyhow, I hope the rest of the season goes well and we look forward to seeing you again soon.

With Best Regards,

James.
Sydney, Jan 18th 2010.
Sure this hotel could do with a make-over. Old carpet , walls needing new paint and the rooms very basic. However put this to one side and there are so many reasons to stay here!

The service is wonderful. The owner and staff are kind, helpful, informative and cannot do enough for you! They answered all our emails promptly, gave good advice about Sun Valley and where to ski, arranged our ski/snowboard hire in advance ( they have this on -site), even putting aside large size ski boots for me due to my big feet!

Breakfast is basic but filling, and dinner is a wide range of Japanese dishes each night, held in a hostel style dining room - a bit like Butlins ( if you are English you'll understand). The food was great and no two nights the same ( we stayed for 7 ). There is a lovely bar (very 70s decor!) with an open fire where you can drink, read, watch a DVD, or play boardgames while you watch the snow fall in the evening.

The chairlift and ski pass office is 2 minutes walk from the hotel door, and you can ski/snowboard from Sun Valley to most of Shiga Kogen without getting the shuttle bus.

Rooms are Japanese or Western and clean. Certainly the walls needed painting and the funiture was old, but I soon forgot this due to the wonderful treatment by staff. There's also an onsen downstairs - perfect after a hard day on the slopes, plus a small shop where you buy snacks or drinks. They also have free internet.

This is a very reasonably priced, charming and welcoming hotel. Don't expect 5 star quality as their website says. Just accept the basic but quirky feel of the place and it will exceed your expectations. They really are the most lovely people who run it!
Dear Captain, Mrs Okazawa, Ken & staff at Villa Alpen

I just wanted to say thank you for taking such good care of me during my stay in the Japanese ski fields

I went back to work on Friday & already it doesn't seem like I've had a holiday at all !!!!
I'm sorry it took so long to email as I don't have the internet at home (I see enough computers at work)

I loved Tokyo & was very lucky with the milder than usual weather.

I am trying to convince other friends to come skiing in Japan next year with me.

Once again...thank you    LANA 
Dear Captain, Ken san, Hiroko san and the staff of Villa Alpen

Thank you very much for your warm hospitality during our recent stay on 7, 8, 9 February.
We really loved staying at Villa Alpen - the delicious food, the warm atmosphere, cozy accommodation, great hire skis and of course excellent people. It was the best ski holiday I have had!
Thank you especially for helping us on the last day when Michelle injured her knee. 
We all had a wonderful time and we will definitely be back next February!
Doomo arigato gozaimashita.

Kind regards
Angel
Dear Capt'n! 

We had lots of fun at the Villa-Aplen!
Thanks to you and your wife, son and staff for the great hospitality!
Hope you enjoy the attached pictures. 
While the memories are still fresh - we had from left to right from the top
of the group picture: 
Happy New Year to you all! 
Larry (Spacey-Guy) Dunleavy
Hello
We enjoyed very much our stay to your hotel ; I wish we could come another
time of year to walk in the mountain.
Attached some pictures.

Thank you for your warm welcome.
Pascale and her family.
 
Captain and family,

Thank you for your kindness during our stay. We have some nice memories of skiing and the people who make Japan a wonderful country. 
Attached are a few photos - I'll send several emails so that you do not have problems with the large attachments. Use the photos however you wish. 

Thanks again,
Elizabeth 
 
Capt!!!
Again, THANK YOU for everything. It was an honor to ski with you and visit with your family and staff. I feel I'm getting better due to you and your staff.
Please tell your wife and Ken we said hello. Look at the picture...me around Mt. Fuji.
Cheers,
Bret
Dear Mrs & Mr Okazawa san,

I would like to share the snow monkey's photos with you. 
             
Last, but not least, I would like to thank you for your hospitality and
your medicine. See you again.

Nelson
 
Captain and family,

Shay and I are leaving Japan shortly, and we just wanted to write and thank
you for all of your wonderful hospitality. We really enjoyed the time we
spent in Shiga Kogen, and will always remember those trips. We also greatly
appreciate your friendship and willingness to teach us about your culture
and language. Thank you as well for taking the time to give my parents a
great tour of the area. The time we spent in your ryokan really means a lot
to us, and we will always have fond memories. Anytime you or your family
are in the U.S., you are welcome to visit us in Lemoore.

Mike and Shay Chenoweth

Dear Captain,

Do you remember the French family with 4 kids visiting you, 2 years ago?
We wish to send to you and all your family our best regards and a Happy New
year 2004.

We still bear in our memories and our heart the images of the Sun Valley
and of the happy hours spent at your home.

We would like specially to say hello to Ken, and please tell him that the
triplets speak of him very oft, specially when comparing anyone "jumping"
or making figures at ski (and Margaux, our daughter, named her "male doll"
KEN in his memory).

We went skiing in Austria for New Year, but still we miss Shigakogen, the
atmosphere of your villa, the food, the ofuro, the saru,...)

Kind regards,
Eric & family

Hi Captain Nobuo san,

First of all, I would like to thank you and your family for the great
hospitability that you have given while I was in Japan and also the help
that you have rendered with regards to the hotel booking and the
transportation. I have attached the photo that was taken on the last
day. Pls take a look at it.

Rgds
Ruzhan