From the outside, the Turtle Inn Nikko doesn't look like much. A small sign hanging over the door and a window full of turtle figurines is the only indication that you're in the right place in this quiet, riverside neighborhood in central Nikko.
But inside, the welcome is warm and the accommodations are comfortable. The front desk staff speaks English and will not only help you settle in to the guesthouse but also orient you to the local area. They provide bilingual maps and can recommend places in the immediate vicinity to grab a bite to eat if you're hungry.
Our room was more than big enough to fit three futons and was well-heated, perfect for the freezing weather that was sweeping the region during our visit. (Most of the rooms are Japanese-style, though there are a few with Western twin beds.) None of the rooms have an attached toilet or bath, but there are sinks and separate bathrooms near the stairs on both floors that were never overcrowded. On the first floor, there are two hot spring baths, which can comfortably fit two to three people at a time. To use them, simply flip the sign to "occupied" and enjoy a soak after a long day of sightseeing.
You can choose to include breakfast in your room pacakge for an additional ¥1000. The meal includes toast and jam and juice, coffee and tea. On Saturday nights only, you can also have dinner on the premises for ¥2000. Meals must be reserved in advance.
There is a small lounge on the first floor, just under the stairs. You can simply grab a drink from the vending machine and hang out on the couches or take advantage of the small English-language book exchange to get in a little light reading.
Turtle Inn Nikko is just a short walk from the main sightseeing area that includes the Toshogu Shrine complex, the mausoleum of the first Tokugawa shogun. Alternately, a ten-minute walk in the other direction leads to the Kanman-ga-fuchi Ravine. The riverside path here also passes by the Narabi Jizo, a collection of stone Jizo statues that are cloaked in red caps and bibs.