Hakone Gora Byakudan

Hakone Gora Byakudan

What kind of luxury onsen ryokan is Hakone Gora Byakudan?

In mid-November, during the season of autumn leaves, we wanted to relax in a hot spring with a spectacular view of the leaves, so we decided to stay at Hakone Gora Byakudan, which has rooms with nice private hot springs. As usual, we took Odakyu Romancecar from Shinjuku Station, got off at Hakone-Yumoto Station, transferred to Hakone Tozan Railway, and got off at Kowakidani Station. From there, it was a five-minute ride in a car driven by a ryokan staff member to the ryokan. At the entrance was an elegant white curtain called noren. As we entered, the magnificent wooden automatic door opened and we were greeted by the fragrance of sandalwood. The sandalwood incense had a round, gentle aroma different from that of cypress, and was relaxing.

We took off our shoes here and entered the atrium lobby, where, under a crisp blue sky, we could see red, orange, and yellow forests with autumn leaves and the majestic Hakone mountains through the large windows. The view of Hakone from here was also magnificent. I am sure the snowy winter scenery and the fresh greenery of early summer will also be wonderful. The lobby was decorated with a modern fireplace and furniture, and sophisticated, lantern-like lights hung from the ceiling. We were overwhelmed by the dynamic and spectacular view from the lobby for a while. Then we were guided by the staff to a table by the window and offered matcha powder tea and Japanese sweets. Complimentary coffee, tea, herbal tea, and lemon water were available in the lobby.

After checking in at the lobby around 3:30PM, the staff showed us to our room. We stayed in a corner room on the second floor, called “Haruka”. Upon entering the room, an incense burner with cherry blossoms was placed at the entrance, and smelled of sandalwood, the same scent as in the lobby. Also, sandals made of sandalwood were provided.

When we entered the room, we found a living room with twin beds and tatami mats, sliding shoji doors that opened onto a veranda called engawa with rattan chairs and a spacious terrace overlooking the Hakone mountain range. On the terrace were a deck chair and a large private hot spring bath. As I stepped out onto the terrace, I could smell the sulfurous aroma of the hot spring. The sound of the hot spring water constantly pouring into the large bathtub made of Izu stone was very pleasant. Being on the terrace, I felt as if I was one with the great nature of Hakone. The view from the lobby was wonderful, but the view of the Hakone mountains from the terrace was also spectacular.

This time, two adults stayed in a room with a nice view called Haruka, but it would be cramped for more than three people. The room was equipped with an electric incense burner and we were able to enjoy six different types of incense. The mini bar had complimentary gelidium jelly called Tokoroten, beer, cider, and tea. A tablet, air purifier, and TV were placed in the room.

Then, we immediately tried to enjoy the private hot spring bath on the terrace, but it was very cold outside, so we decided to warm up our cold bodys in communal hot spring baths first, and after that enjoy the private hot spring bath. Around 4:00 p.m., we went to the communal hot spring baths on the basement floor and found no one there. All rooms have private outdoor hot spring baths, so it seems that not many people use the communal baths. While soaking in the communal bath, I enjoyed the view of the well-kept and quaint garden and the Hakone mountain range.

When we returned to our room and went out onto the terrace, it was dusk and the Hakone mountains were turning a pale orange, and we could hear the crows and birds singing. We spent some time relaxing on the terrace with beer from the minibar, and after 5:00 p.m. it was getting dark and a chilly, so I enjoy our private hot spring bath. The forest in front of me was completely dark, but the mountains of Hakone seemed to rise up like black shadows. From somewhere, I could hear bell bugs and deer chirping. The night in Hakone was filled with silence.

It’s time to start getting hungry. We went through the lobby to the dining area around 6PM. All meals were served in a private room in the dining room. The dishes were prepared with natural underground water, which brought out the natural taste of the ingredients and the natural flavor of the food well. We were very satisfied with the sophisticated and authentic kaiseki cuisine. In particular, the yuba battered and deep-fried prawns and Akagi filet of beef steak were exquisite. The beef steaks can be ordered as an add-on. The ceramics used were also beautifully designed, colored, and easy to hold in my hands. Overall, the portions were small. Wines were mainly domestic white wines that go well with kaiseki cuisine. Japanese sake was mainly from Kanagawa Prefecture.

After dinner, we moved to the lobby next to the dining area and enjoyed as much wine as we wanted in front of the fireplace while listening to jazz music. It was a very luxurious experience to spend a cold night in a relaxing ambience, sitting by the fireplace and listening to the crackling sound of the wood burning. I especially enjoyed the mountain grape wine, which was not so sweet but surprisingly smooth that I drank a little too much of it. Wine, whiskey, and clear distilled liquour were served free of charge in the lobby from 20:00 to 23:00. The lobby at night was a completely different and magical space from that of the daytime.

The next morning, we woke up around 6:30 a.m., enjoyed the scent of sandalwood in the electric incense burner in our room, made coffee, and sat on wicker chairs on the veranda called engawa to watch the sunrise over the Hakone mountain range. There was a cold wind blowing outside, and the morning was colder than expected.

Then, before breakfast, we decided to go for our morning walk and stopped by the lobby on the first floor, where complimentary champagne was being served. I was happy to be able to enjoy champagne on a fresh morning, in the lobby overlooking the vast nature of Hakone, while watching the fire in the fireplace. After that, we had breakfast in a private room in the dining room starting around 8:30AM.

When we returned to our room, it was a clear blue sky, so we sit out on the terrace reading a book and basking in the sun. A cold wind had been blowing earlier, but now the wind had died down and the weather was becoming more like autumn. Before checking out, we enjoyed the private hot spring bath, which glowed golden in the sunlight and we left here before 11:00AM.

The only drawback I would venture to raise is that it is a very popular ryokan, so it is not easy to get a reservation on weekends. With only 16 rooms in total, it is especially difficult to make reservations during the spring and fall seasons. The staff, service and facilities are sophisticated and very comfortable. This is one ryokan we would like to stay at again. 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. From there, transfer to Hakone Tozan RailwayOdakyu Romancecar, or Hakone Tozan Bus to Hakone-Yumoto Station. From there, transfer to Hakone Tozan Railway and get off at Kowakidani Station. *All Hakone Tozan Railways departing from Odawara Station terminate at Hakone-Yumoto Station. Hakone Tozan Railways bound for Gora require a transfer at Hakone-Yumoto Station.

The location is near Kowakidani Station. A free shuttle service is available from the station. You need to book it in advance.

Alternatively, take Odakyu Romancecar from Shinjuku Station to Hakone-Yumoto Station. From there, transfer to Hakone Tozan Railway and get off at Kowakidani 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 2020Refer to the info.   The Hakone Tozan Line has restarted since the 23rd of July, 2020.

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. The staff arranges cakes to celebrate an anniversary at an additional charge if you request in advance.
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Rooms I would recommend?

If you are going to stay here, I would recommend a room with a view of the Hakone mountains on 2F. Then if you are a city boy, you may want to avoid staying in the summer season. Actually, there would be many bugs around outdoor hot springs in summer in Hakone. The location is in nature. It cannot be helped.

How about toiletries & in-room amenities?

All of the amenities are taken care of including enough toiletries, tea bags, yukatas, bathrobes, and a complimentary minibar, etc.  Also, a humidifier, a DVD player, a Blu-ray player, and a CD player were placed in our room. Room service is not available.  Complimentary lemon water, coffee, and tea, etc. were always available in the lobby.  Also, complimentary champagne between 7:00 and 9:00, and wine, whiskey, clear distilled liquour, etc. between 20:00 and 23:00 were available when we stayed. You can chill out in the lobby while viewing peaceful landscapes. Then there is no convenience store nearby. You may want to buy your necessities before coming here.

How about In-house Facilities?

There are large communal hot springs. The spring quality is simply wonderful. They are open from 15:00-10:00 the following morning. *If you have tattoos, you may not be permitted to use the communal bathing area.

Then this is a perfect universal design. Wheelchairs are available for borrowing. 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.
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How about meals?

Kaiseki food for dinner and breakfast was great, but the portion tends to be small. All food was served in a private room in a dining area. *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 it on that day.

Then, as far as I know, there is no restaurant for dinner near the property. You may want to book a room including meals unless you have a car.

My impressions

The entire staff was sophisticated. If you expect the service of a 5-star hotel, this is the perfect ryokan. If you want to spend your holiday in a relaxing ambience and enjoy the beautiful Hakone scenery, it is well worth staying here. Next time we would like to visit during the season of fresh greenery.

Have a nice trip!  Welcome to receive any questions about Hakone Gora Byakudan from the below space. Check Availability and Pricing for the ryokan on agoda

Info about Hakone Gora Byakudan

Style Luxury Onsen Ryokan
Check-in and out times
Estimated Price 80,000 JPY for 2 adults per room
Contact Call at  +81 460-87-0010 overseas
Call at 0460-87-0010 domestic
Internet Connection Free WiFi in the ryokan
Facility Information Wheelchairs are available
Pets are not allowed
The free parking lot is available
Location Hakone Gora Byakudan’s MAP
Access Refer to the above
Address and TEL 1297-5 Ninotaira, Hakone-machi,
Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa 250-0407
Tel +81 460-87-0010
Official Homepage Hakone Gora Byakudan’s HP

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

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