Gora Hanaougi

Gora Hanaougi

What kind of luxury onsen ryokan is Gora Hanaougi?

In mid-February, during a very cold winter, we wanted to relax in a hot spring in Hakone, so we took Odakyu Romance Car from Shinjuku Station as usual and arrived at Hakone-Yumoto Station in about 90 minutes. From there, we changed to the Hakone Tozan Railway and headed to the last stop, Gora Station. From the station, we asked staff to pick up and after about 10 minutes we arrived at Gora Hanaougi, where we would be staying for the night.

After passing through a magnificent gate, we found an entrance with an old-fashioned lantern hanging from it. At the entrance, we took off our shoes, took our temperature, and sanitized our hands. Then, as we proceeded through the corridor looking at the garden, we entered the atrium lobby, where a Japanese-style chandelier made of magnificent latticework hung from the high ceiling, and the soft light leaking through the latticework was calming. We were then guided to a modern design sunken hearth table made of Jindai zelkova in the lounge space in the back, where we were served yuzu tea and warabimochi while going through check-in procedures. Tatami mats were laid in the hallway, lobby, and elevator, gently wrapping our feet after a long day of walking. The walls and doors of the lobby were inlaid with latticework made of the wonderful traditional craft of Jindai zelkova.

After a while, we were shown to our room on the first floor. *It is actually on the second floor, so take the elevator up. If you stay here, we would recommend a terrace type room on the first floor. All rooms have private outdoor hot spring baths, but the best view is from the terrace on the first floor. The views from the second floor rooms is a bit obstructed by the fence on the balcony. It is actually on the third floor.

Upon entering the room, there was a closet and bathroom at the front of the room, a twin bed on a tatami mat on the right side of the sliding door, and a sofa by the window. The room was very bright and just the right size for two people. The walls, furniture, and interior were made of Jindai Zelkova. As we stepped out onto the terrace, we were soothed by the sound of the hot spring water flowing in the private outdoor hot spring bath and the peaceful view of the mountains against the blue sky. Furniture and decor are mainly made in Hida Takayama, Gifu Prefecture. We liked the sister inn, Hida Takayama Hanaougi in Hida Takayama so much that we decided to stay at Gora Hanaougi in Hakone.

Then I changed into my yukata and soaked in the private hot spring on the terrace, watching the Hakone mountains at dusk. The mountains were so beautiful as they turned red with the setting sun. It was a happy time for me to be able to enjoy the scenery of the countryside only about two hours from the big city of Tokyo. However, the dusk of the winter season passes quickly, and before I knew it, it was getting dark. The mountains of Hakone were floating faintly in the darkness, steam was rising from the outdoor bath, and the lanterns on the terrace were shining faintly, creating a quaint mood.

After that, it was still some time before dinner, so we decided to head to the communal outdoor and indoor hot spring baths. As a measure to Coronavirus Prevention of Infection, the number of people who could use the communal baths was limited to six, so we borrowed a key from the receptionist and entered the bath. Normally, you don’t need a key and can use it anytime during business hours. When we stayed in January 2022, there was a limit of 6 people who could use the communal baths at one time. There was a limit of 6 people at a time.

Then, when we returned to our rooms after enjoying the communal outdoor baths, it was almost time for dinner, so we went to the dining area on the lobby floor. The dining room is located next to the souvenir store. All meals are served in private rooms. We could choose between 18:00, 18:30, and 19:00 as the start time for dinner. Dinner was Kaiseki cuisine, and the Hida beef steak was especially delicious. Each dish was beautifully presented and delicious. The quantity was average. What was a little disappointing was that although it was a top-notch kaiseki meal, there was nothing special about it that could only be had here.

After dinner, we returned to our room and relaxed on the terrace with Hakone’s local sake. Looking up a little, we saw a star-filled sky. The dry winter night sky was sparkling like a scattering of jewels.

The next morning, it was very cold, but I wanted to see the sunrise from the mountains of Hakone, so I soaked in the private outdoor bath and watched the sunrise. I enjoyed the sunrise while listening to the chirping of birds and never got tired of watching the surroundings gradually become brighter and brighter. The blue sky was reflected on the surface of the water of the hot spring.

Breakfast had a choice of 8:00, 8:30, or 9:00. We requested an 8:30 start. We had it in the same privaet room where we had dinner. The Japanese breakfast was not impressive, but it was delicious.

After breakfast, we wanted to go to the communal baths, but we felt that borrowing a key from the receptionist was something of a hassle, so we decided not to use it. In the end, we decided to relax with coffee in our room until check-out at 11:00.

If I were to venture a fault, it would be that there are not many amenities on the grounds. Perhaps it was more so because it was during the coronavirus pandemic. Usually, complimentary coffee and tea are available in the lobby, where you are offered a relaxing time, but not when we stayed here. We ended up spending most of our time in our room during our stay.

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Is the location easy to access?

Yes, it would be easy. The location is a 10min-walk from Sounzan Station. Get off at Sounzan Station on Hakone Tozan Cable Car and exit the station building, where you will find the station parking lot. After passing through the parking lot, you will see the entrance to the elevator dedicated to Gora Hanaougi. This is a slanting elevator that moves on an inclined plane, a rarity in the world. 

Alternatively, a free shuttle bus is available from Gora Station. If you are bringing someone with weak legs, it is recommended to ask for a shuttle bus from Gora Station.  Also, if you have a lot of luggage, you may want to ask for a free shuttle service from Gora Station.

*Due to the effects of Typhoon 19, the Hakone Tozan Line between Hakone-Yumoto and Gora Station is under a long-term suspension.  During this period of suspension, bus transfers and Rail Replacement bus services will be operating between Hakone-Yumoto and Gora stations.  It will be restored in late July 2020.  Refer to the info.   The Hakone Tozan Line has restarted since the 23rd of July, 2020.  *Due to the coronavirus, the property is temporarily closed until the 31st of May, 2020.

Rooms I would recommend?

If you are going to stay at Gora Hanaougi, you may want to request a room with a nice mountain view. Perhaps some rooms are facing the car park. Then, if you don’t want to sleep on Japanese-style mattresses, you may want to stay in a room with twin beds on tatami mats.

How about toiletries & in-room amenities?

All of the amenities are taken care of including enough toiletries, yukatas, samue outfits, a coffee machine with capsules, and a Japanese tea set.  There are skincare products for men and women in the bathroom. Free Wifi reception was good in the building. At the time of my stay, docomo line calls were not available.

Then this is child-friendly. Staff provides baby baths, chairs, yukatas, and meals, etc., if you request in advance.

Room service is not available.  Complimentary cold water and tea are available near the communal bath area.

How about In-house Facilities?

There are indoor and outdoor communal hot spring baths. All of them are open from 5:00-10:00, 14:00-24:00.  The water temperature tends to be a bit high. The spring quality is soft, smooth, and moist.  *If you have tattoos, you may not be permitted to use the communal bathing area.  Also, you can use communal hot springs in the sister inn, Gora Hanaougi Sounkaku nearby.  *This sister inn closed down in Oct 2019.

There is a spa treatment shop. You need to make an appointment in advacne.

Then Gora Hanaougi is almost a universal design.  A wheelchair is available for borrowing.  There is a lift. If you bring people with weak legs, you may want to inform the staff in advance as they can arrange a room near the lift.

There is a vending machine. There is no convenience store nearby. You may want to buy your necessities before coming here.
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How about meals?

If you have dinner on the property, you need to check-in by 18:00.

Please note that inform the staff when you book a room with meals if you have any food allergies.  They probably wouldn’t be able to prepare alternative food if you request on that day.

Then, as far as I know, there wouldn’t be restaurants around here.  You may want to book a room including meals.
 

My impressions

All the staff were wonderful. You will experience the unique Japanese hospitality. The place offers a serene and beautiful view of Hakone and a wonderful private onsen open-air bath. If you can, it would be preferable to stay on a nice day with a view of the Hakone mountains.

Have a nice trip!  Welcome to receive any questions about Gora Hanaougi from the below space. Check Availability and Pricing for the property on Agoda

Info about Gora Hanaougi

Style Luxury Onsen Ryokan
Check-in and out times
15:00/11:00
Estimated Price 80,000 JPY for 2 adults per room
Contact +81-460-87-7715 from overseas
0460-87-7715 from domestic
Internet Connection Free wifi in the ryokan
Facility Information Wheelchairs are available
Pets are not allowed
The free parking lot is available
Location Gora Hanaougi’s MAP
Access 10 min walk from Sounzan Station
Address and TEL Hakone Machi Gora 1300-681,
Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa, 250-0408
TEL +81-460-87-7715 
Official Homepage Gora Hanaougi’s HP

*All information above is as of the date that I posted on my blog.