What kind of luxury onsen ryokan is Yoshimatsu in Hakone?

In early December, when the leaves had turned autumn colors and it was cold enough to need a down coat, we decided to stay at Yoshimatsu in Hakone for a relaxing soak in the hot spring. We took Odakyu Romancecar from Shinjuku Station and got off at Hakone-Yumoto Station. We thought about taking a Hakone Tozan Bus from there, but our hands and feet were biting and very cold, so we took a cab from the station to the ryokan.

On the way to the ryokan, we could see beautiful Lake Ashi and the Hakone mountains on a clear day, but unfortunately, it was raining and the area was covered with thick clouds. Yoshimatsu was located on a hill by the lake. About 20 minutes from the station, a gate with a magnificent tiled roof came into view. Near the gate, a stone statue of a cute girl in a kimono welcomed us. After passing through the gate, we found a well-kept Japanese garden. Many gold-colored rainbow trout were swimming gracefully in the pond. After getting off the cab at the entrance and entering the building, we were warmly greeted by a kimono-clad staff member who led us to a tea ceremony room in the lobby. The lobby was a magnificent Japanese-style sukiya-style building. The ceiling showed a wonderful lacquered family crest pattern.

In the tea room, we were served matcha green tea and Japanese sweets while enjoying the serene ambience of the Japanese garden. It was a cold day, almost snowing, so the hot matcha tasted even better than usual. Winter in Hakone was much colder than in Tokyo. In the Japanese garden, sparrows were playing cheerfully under the cold winter sky, flying and jumping around the area. Mt. Fuji can be seen from the tea room if the weather permits. Unfortunately, it was not visible on this day.

After a while, the staff showed us to our room. From the lobby to our room, we walked along a tasteful corridor while admiring the rainbow trout in the pond in a beautiful Japanese garden. This time, we stayed in a Japanese-Western style room with a private outdoor hot spring bath, which was renovated in 2017 called Shiroito on 1F. The entrance to the room was double-layered, with a sliding door like a shoji door and a door with a lock. Once inside, camellia flowers decorated the entranceway, and wooden clogs called geta, which are used to move around on the grounds, were provided. Upon entering the room, to the left of the entrance was a small dining room, where we were served breakfast and dinner. From the room entrance, a hallway led to a bedroom with a cozy sofa by the window. The room was cramped, but cozy and modern. There was the private outdoor hot spring bath on the terrace with a view of the garden. There was also an indoor bath in the room, but it was not a hot spring. In the cold season, please warm yourself first in the indoor bath or communal baths before using the private outdoor bath.

Since there was time before dinner, we changed into yukatas and went to communal hot spring baths on the second floor. There are indoor and outdoor hot spring baths. Then, after the bath, we took a walk in the Japanese garden. It was dusk, so the lanterns along the corridor were lit, the sun began to set, and the area gradually became darker and darker, creating a mystical mood.

It was almost time for dinner, so we returned to our room and the staff began preparing dinner in our dining room. Dinner was a Kyoto-style kaiseki meal. The harmony of the dish and its container and the delicate seasoning gave us a sense of the beauty of Japan. Also, we could feel the “sense of the seasons” in the kaiseki cuisine. The portions were average.

After dinner, we left the accommodation building and went down the stone steps to a private family hot spring bath, which is available free of charge. When you lock the door of the private family bath, the lantern at the entrance of the accommodation building lights up, and if it is not lit, it means that no one is using it. You can always use the private family hot spring bath when it is available. The bath is available for 30 minutes each time. On the way there, there were steep stone steps and it was raining, so it was slippery underfoot. Also, if the weather had been fine, we would have been able to see Mt. Fuji from the private family bath, but since it was cloudy at night, we could not see anything. It might be better to use the bath during the day when the weather is nice. Once inside, it smelled of sulfur from the hot spring water, and the spring quality was good. It was a cold night, and the steam from the surface of the hot spring water was wafting more than usual.  Mt.Fuji and Lake Ashi from a small viewing platform near the private family bath, weather permitting.

The next morning, I awoke to birds chirping. I opened the shoji door and looked outside, and fortunately, the morning was clear. Before breakfast, I enjoyed the private outdoor hot spring bath on the terrace. The air was damp from the cold rain that fell late into the night, making it feel colder than usual. Water droplets on the green moss and bright red camellia flowers glistened in the morning sun. The sparrows that flew into the garden also looked cold, but they were happy to walk around and find the red berries of a nanten tree that had fallen on the green moss. It was the most luxurious time to enjoy the private hot spring bath while gazing at such a scene. After soaking in the hot spring for a while, I felt as if I was enveloped by the moist texture of the water.

Around 8:00 a.m., staff came to our room to prepare breakfast. Japanese breakfast was also delicious. The in-room dining was very easy because we did not have to move around. After breakfast we took a walk in the Japanese garden. It was a bit windy, but we were able to see a little of Mt. Fuji with its pure white snow cap and clear blue sky made us feel refreshed. Overall, the staff, hospitality, service, and food were top-notch. This is a small luxury ryokan with only 18 rooms, and I loved the quiet and serene environment. During our stay, we hardly saw other guests. Next time, I would like to visit in early summer when the leaves are freshly green and beautiful, or in autumn when the leaves have turned bright red.

If I were to raise a drawback, it would be that the ryokan is located in Hakone, which is rich in nature, so after checking in, you will probably spend most of your time off on the grounds. There are no restaurants, cafes or souvenir shops within walking distance from here. This location is not suitable for those who want to wander around a hot spring resort town in yukata and have dinner at nearby restaurants.

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, take Hakone Tozan Bus from the East Exit of Odawara Station, and get off at Hakonemachi-Ko Bus Stop. It takes about 1 hour. From the bus stop to the ryokan is less than a 10-minute walk. For a free shuttle service, please call 0460-83-6661 after arriving at the bus stop. The shuttle service is available between 15:00 and 18:00.

Alternatively, take Odakyu Romancecar from Shinjuku Station to Hakone-Yumoto Station. From there, transfer to Hakone Tozan Bus and get off at Hakonemachi-Ko Bus Stop. The trip takes about 45 – 50 minutes

If this is your first visit to Hakone, you may want to show the below Japanese sentence to a bus driver when you get on a bus.  Hakonemachi-ko Bus Stop is the last stop, so it is easy to find.

Kindly let me know when you reach “Hakonemachi-Ko Bus Stop”

If you take a taxi from Hakone-Yumoto Station, it takes 20min and costs around JPY5,500.

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.

Rooms I would recommend?

If you are planning to stay here, we would recommend a room with a private hot spring on the first floor. You can enjoy a private hot spring bath while looking out over the garden. On fine days, you can also view Mt. Fuji and Lake Ashinoko from the garden, lounge, and some rooms on the 3rd floor, but I don’t think there are any rooms on the 3rd floor with private hot spring bahts.

Then, if you do not like to sleep on a Japanese-style mattress in a Tatami room, you may book a Japanese/Western style 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, and a green tea set, etc.

Also, this is child-friendly. Staff provides yukatas, chairs, toys, picture books, baby soaps, toothbrushes, and meals, etc., for children if you request in advance.

Room service is available from 15:00 to 21:00.

The free Wifi reception was excellent.

Then there is no convenience store nearby. You might want to buy your necessities before coming here.

How about In-house Facilities?

There are wonderful indoor and outdoor communal hot spring baths. On top of that, there is a private family hot spring bath, which can be used for free whenever others are not using it. All of them are open from 15:00-10:00 the following morning. *Please note that if you have tattoos, use the private family hot spring bath, or book a room with a private hot spring.

Then Yoshimatsu is almost universal design. If you bring people with weak legs, you might want to inform the staff beforehand. There are some universal design rooms for wheelchair users. Also, wheelchairs are available for borrowing.
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How about meals?

The authentic kaiseki food for dinner was wonderful. The local ingredients were very fresh. All meals were served in our room. 

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.

You need to check in by 17:30 if you have dinner on the property.

Then, as far as I know, there is no nice restaurant near the property. You may want to book a room including meals. 

My impressions

The staff were all professional, elegant, and warm. This place was full of the charm of an authentic Japanese ryokan. Finally, the best time to stay here is in the spring or fall when you can admire the wonderful Japanese garden. We stayed in winter this time and would like to visit in a different season next time.

Have a nice trip!  Welcome to receive any questions about Yoshimatsu from the below space. *If you check in late, you might want to inform the staff in advance.  *Due to the coronavirus, the property is temporarily closed until the 15th of May, 2020. Check Availability and Pricing for the ryokan on agoda

Info about Yoshimatsu

Style Traditional Onsen Ryokan
Check-in and out times
Estimated Price 64,800 JPY for 2 adults per room
Contact e-mail
Internet Connection Free WiFi in the ryokan
Facility Information  Wheelchairs are available
Pets are not allowed
The free parking lot is available

Location Yoshimatsu’s MAP
Access Free shuttle service is available from
Hakonemachi-Ko Bus Stop
Address and TEL 521 Hakone, Hakone-machi,
Kanagawa-ken 250-0521
Tel +81 460836661
Official Homepage Yoshimatsu’s HP

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

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