Hakone Airu

Hakone Airu

What kind of onsen ryokan is Hakone Airu?

In early summer in May, when the cherry blossom season was over and the days were refreshing, we took a 90-minute train ride from Shinjuku Station to Hakone-Yumoto Station, where we decided to stay at Hakone Airu, a 15-minute walk from the station. The road from the station is steep, so if you have a lot of luggage or are not confident about your physical strength, it is recommended that you take a cab or bus. Since it was a beautiful, clear day, we walked from the station to the ryokan, but regretted it as we climbed the hill on the way.

This is a cozy ryokan with only 15 rooms. Once inside, the Balinese-style interior, decorations, furniture, etc. were placed, and I thought, “Is this really Hakone?” Gamelan, the traditional music of Indonesia, could be heard. The water basin running around the lobby was lit up in indigo, and the sound of the water flowing from above like rain was very relaxing. We checked in with champagne in the lounge next to the lobby.

After a short time, the staff escorted us to our room. The hallways of the building were covered with tatami mats and lanterns were placed here and there, creating a magical mood. We stayed in a room with a private hot spring called Soyokaze on the third floor. Upon entering the room, we found ourselves in a modern Japanese-style room with pink cherry blossom patterns on the walls, which were lit up. There was no bed in our room. The balcony overlooked the town of Hakone-Yumoto and the mountains. There was also a private outdoor hot spring bath, a sofa, and a deckchair. The stone bathtub was spacious enough to stretch out your legs and relax. The outdoor bath was constantly pouring hot spring water.

I immediately try the outdoor bath on the balcony. The view of the clear blue sky and green mountains, the gentle breeze, and the chirping of birds while soaking in the hot spring bath were exceptional. It is a blessing to be able to enjoy the peaceful countryside and hot springs just a short distance away from the big city of Tokyo.

We had some time before dinner, so we also visited communal hot spring baths on the first floor. Interestingly, they are decorated in a Balinese style. The large stone statues and palm trees made me feel like I was taking a hot spring bath in Bali. Since all the rooms have private hot springs, few people seemed to be using the communal baths. After that, we went to a souvenir shop near the lobby, where baskets and figurines sold in Bali were on sale. Then, at dusk, the lobby and lounge took on a different ambience than during the day, and we sat on the terrace in front of the souvenir shop for a while, enjoying the cascading water and the sound of the waterfall.

We were getting hungry by now, so we went to the dining room. All meals were served in a private room. The meal for dinner was kaiseki cuisine, and the wagyu beef steak was especially delicious. Overall, the portions are large, so it is best to be hungry.

After dinner, we went to the bar on the second floor. On the wall of the bar, there was an indigo-colored aquarium with tropical fish swimming in it. The romantic and mystical ambience made me feel like I was going to drink too much. There was a wide selection of alcoholic beverages.

When we returned to our room, the Japanese-style mattresses called futons were laid out on tatami mats in the Japanese-style room. The cherry blossoms painted on the illuminated wall and the carefully laid futon created another space different from that of the daytime. The balcony with the outdoor bath was also faintly lit up, and when we looked up at the sky, we saw a star-filled sky. If you listened carefully, you could hear the chirping of bell bugs. Hakone Airu was extremely creative in its use of design lighting, creating an unreal otherworldly setting. It is truly a ryokan for couples. Alternatively, even if you are traveling alone, the ambience is relaxing enough. It is a hideaway for adults.

If I were to raise any drawbacks, I would say that since it is a small onsen ryokan with only 15 rooms, there is no swimming pool, gym, library, etc. Also, there are no rooms equipped with beds. If you cannot sleep on a Japanese-style mattresse called futon, you may want to find other ryokans.

Then baby bathtubs, diaper garbage cans, coufans and children’s tableware for meals are available upon prior request, but this is a relaxed ryokan for adults, so it is not suitable for families with children.

Check Availability and Pricing for the ryokan on agoda

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Is the location easy to access?

If you are going from Tokyo Station, take the Shinkansen bullet train to JR Odawara Station. Then, transfer to Hakone Tozan RailwayOdakyu Romancecar, or Hakone Tozan Bus to Hakone-Yumoto Station. Alternatively, take Odakyu Romancecar from Shinjuku Station to Hakone-Yumoto Station.

Then from Hakone-Yumoto station, it takes 15min on foot, but there is a long slope on the way to the property. You may want to get a shuttle bus called Orange Bus from the station. The small buses are easily recognizable because of their orange and white bodies. Get on a bus of B course from the front of Hakone Tourist Information Center, and then get off at Hakone Airu. It takes less than 10min. When you get on a bus, you need to tell a bus driver where you are staying. The bus fare is JPY100 per adult, and complimentary for children in primary school and younger. Refer to the timetable. You will not need a cab or bus as it will be downhill when you return.

Then, if you are taking the Shinkansen from Tokyo Station to JR Odawara Station, you need to pay attention to your luggage. Please check here for details. When boarding the Shinkansen, luggage whose total of three sides exceeds 160 cm requires advance reservation of a seat with an oversized luggage space. Baby strollers, musical instruments, bicycles, surfboards, etc. are excluded. Items may be brought in as long as they are placed in a special bag and can stand up.

Passengers bringing oversized baggage without an advance reservation will be charged a carry-on fee of 1,000 JPY. In such cases, the baggage needs to be placed in an area designated by the crew. Also, large luggage is not allowed in unreserved seats on the Shinkansen. Then, children under 6 years old usually do not need a ticket, but if a preschooler uses the Shinkansen, a reserved seat ticket for preschoolers is required to be purchased.

On Odakyu Romancecars, the size of luggage is limited to a total of no more than 250 centimeters on three sides and no longer than 2 meters in length. The weight is limited to 30 kg, and up to two pieces may be carried on board as long as they do not interfere with the operation of the train or inconvenience other passengers. Exercise equipment such as ski boards, snowboards, bicycles, etc. may be brought in as long as they are placed in a special bag and can stand up. Strollers are folded and placed in front of the seats. Then normally, children under 6 years of age do not need a ticket, but when using a seat on an Odakyu Romancecar, a child’s express ticket and a ticket for children are required. However, if you hold a child on your lap, a limited express ticket and a boarding pass are not required. Please refer to the info.

Where is the best accommodation for anniversaries in Hakone?

If you are looking for a nice place for a special occasion, the property would be one of the best in Hakone.  The staff arranges flowers and cakes to celebrate an anniversary at additional charges if you request in advance.

Rooms I would recommend?

If you are going to stay here, I would recommend a room on 4F. You can view the beautiful Hakone mountains while chilling out at a balcony. Facilities are the latest as the property opened in 2018. Overall it tends to be dark in the building including rooms.

How about toiletries & in-room amenities?

All of the amenities are taken care of including enough toiletries, yukatas, samue outfits, skincare products, sweets, and tea bags, etc.  Complimentary beer, fresh juice, coffee, and tea, etc., were available at the lounge.  A DVD player, a Blu-ray player, and a humidifier were placed in our room. Netflix is available. The free wifi reception was excellent in the property. Room service is available between 15:00 and 23:00.

How about In-house Facilities?

There are small outdoor and indoor communal hot springs on 1F. All of them are open from 15:00 to 9:00 the following morning.  *If you have tattoos, you may not be permitted to use the communal bathing areas.

Then Hakone Airu is not a universal design.  If you bring people with weak legs, you may want to find other ryokans. There are some steps. Wheelchairs are not available for borrowing. There is a lift, though.

There is a convenience store nearby. 
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How about meals?

Kaiseki’s food for dinner was nice. Dinner starts at 18:00 or 19:00. You need to check in by 19:00 if you have dinner here.

Then you can choose Japanese or western cuisine for breakfast. It starts at 7:30, 8:00, or 8:30. As with dinner, the portions were large. It was more than enough for even me, a big eater.

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 you can go out for dinner as there are some local restaurants around here. You may want to book a table in advance as local papa-mama shops are closing early. 

My impressions

All staff is friendly, attentive, and welcoming. If relaxation is your main purpose, it would be perfect. The view from the balcony is spectacular, so it is best to stay on a sunny day.

Have a great holiday!  Welcome to receive any questions about Hakone Airu from the below space. Check Availability and Pricing for the ryokan on agoda

Info about Hakone Airu

Style Modern Onsen Ryokan
Check-in and out times
Estimated Price 50,000 JPY for 2 adults per room
Contact Call at +81 460-85-3300 overseas
Call at 0460-85-3300 domestic Japan
Internet Connection Free wifi in the ryokan
Facility Information Wheelchairs are not available
Pets are not allowed
The free parking lot is available
Location Hakone Airu’s MAP
Access shuttle bus from Hakone-Yumoto Station
Address and TEL 499 Yumoto, Hakone, Ashigarashimo
District, Kanagawa 250-0311
Tel  +81 460-85-3300
Official Homepage Hakone Airu’s HP

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

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