Hakone is about 2 hours drive from Tokyo, and spending 2 nights here was a nice break from our Tokyo leg which we spent from 16 to 26 December in 2012. We rented a car from a shop near Shibuya Excel Hotel where we stayed. Although it was bit of a chicken and duck talk with the rental car guy, we were able to figure out that all we needed to key into the GPRS was the local japanese telephone number. It was great that I was clever enough to buy a wonderful local Hakone guide in Japanese with pictures and telephone number to refer to.
STAY Y and I am totally obsessed about ryokans and onsens, so a lot of research went into choosing the right ryokan. We decided on luxury ryokan Hakone Ginyu. Booking can be made through http://www.ryokancollection.com/eng/. Located in a beautiful mountaineous region, many of the rooms overlooked the mountains and had a serene feel to them. We stayed in 2 different Japanese style rooms over 19 and 20 December – Hoshi on the 19th and Kaze on the 20th which basically was the largest room in the ryokan and took up half of the top floor. They also have western rooms, but we preferred to experience the full Japanese experience. What’s best is these rooms come with their own attached hot spring bath.
We paid for the Hoshi-style room : 32000 yen per person, and the Kaze-style room: 38000 yen per person. And it was really easy to book through the Ryokan Collection who was very fast and responsive in answering to my queries when booking the room.
After we had our drink, a young Japanese kimono clad lady took our bags and brought us to the Hoshi style room – called Yusei on the 3rd floor.
1st night in Yusei room (游星) I like the meaning of it in Mandarin – it’s like “Swimming Stars”
Dinner – 1st night It’s a traditional kaiseki gastronomic experience everyday – breakfast and lunch for the 2 nights we were there. We didn’t have to worry about being hungry, although R seemed to be concerned on the 1st day that we may not have enough to eat. After dinner, he was so stuffed.
Breakfast – 2nd day Rise and shine – we opted for the latest timing to be served breakfast which was 9 am heh heh. Yes in all these Japanese ryokans, the day starts early, no sleeping in till 11 am.
We went out the whole day and returned to the Keifu room which was a really large room, it was the only guest room on the 4th floor. We felt really pampered.
The outdoor area has a totally alfresco seating and also a semi-enclosed balcony with seats facing the window, perfect for admiring the mountain view in the day. A pity we didn’t have much chance to enjoy this space.
Breakfast – 3rd day – day of departure
Wakey wakey! Oohh, I so didn’t want to get up, knowing this was our last day in Hakone Ginyu, but I had to eventually.
We opted for a Western Style breakfast today, which was really scrumptious, probably yummier I think than the Japanese breakfast, maybe because the food selection here offered items we could relate more to as typical breakfast food then what we are accustomed to.
We took one last dip in the hot spring bath before packing our bags and saying goodbye to Hakone!