Staying at this hostel was awesome. When you stay here, the service you recieve isn't like a hostel. It feels like you're staying at a very hospitable bed & breakfast, but paying the low price of a hostel, which is just amazing.
I called to tell Scout before I came that I was vegan– and after that he never once forgot. Many people who have hosted me in various settings in the past have forgotten about me being vegan, but Scout never did. I appreciated so much never having to worry about that.
He adjusted all the food he was offering to others at the hostel to my needs. He made me two days of awesome vegan pancakes with nuts for breakfast (nuts in Japan are expensive!) and gave me really delicious muesli with soymilk one day, all for free. I also ordered a personal veggie pizza from him one night. He makes it entirely himself, and it too was super delicious and satisfying.
On top of all the great food I recieved from him, the hostel itself is extremely nice. I slept in the 8-person room with bunk beds. Everything- the pillows, the blankets, the mattress- were so comfortable! I slept great. He will provide blankets, sheets, and a pillow for your for free! You can also request a towel to use also free.
The common room inside on the second floor of the hostel is very spacious, quiet, and ambient. I really enjoyed spending time there. You can use the one Mac computer Scout has there in the common room for free. There is also free, easily-accessed high-speed internet everywhere around and inside the hostel, which was awesome!
Scout also, as other reviewers have said, offers plenty of maps for you to look at and use to plan your trips around Nikko.
In terms of the setting of this hostel, is very deeply set inside a foresty terrain with a large river on one side. For this reason, you have to wait for Scout to take you by car into the main area of Nikko. If you want to get your days started early, make sure to work out that (and your breakfast time) with Scout the day before. Otherwise you might end up waiting until around 11:00am before leaving with everyone else to go into Nikko and explore!
For a hostel, this experience was amazing. I was expecting so much less because of the price I was paying (only $35 a night) and the fact that it is supposed to be a hostel, but I was blown away. Thank you Scout!!
Cons: Difficult to get early morning depart.