Yoshimatsu

Yoshimatsu

What kind of luxury onsen ryokan is Yoshimatsu in Hakone?

In early December, when the autumn leaves had finished changing and the weather was so cold that we needed down coats, we decided to stay at Yoshimatsu in Hakone in order to soak in an onsen and relax. We took the Odakyu line from Shinjuku station and arrived at Hakone-Yumoto station about 90 minutes later. It was cold and drizzling at the time, so we decided to take 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 is 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.

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 hot spring open-air bath, which was renovated in 2017 calle 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 geta (wooden clogs) were provided for guests to wear when moving around the building. Upon entering the room, to the left of the doorway was a small dining room, where breakfast and dinner were served. From the room entrance, a hallway led to a bedroom with a cozy sofa by the window. The room tends to be cramped, but cozy and modern. On the terrace, you can enjoy a private outdoor hot spring bath 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 outdoor bath.

Since there was time before dinner, we changed into yukatas and decided to go to communal hot spring baths on the second floor. There are indoor and outdoor hot spring baths. Then, after the bath, we decided to take 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 the dining room. Dinner was a Kyoto-style kaiseki meal. The harmony of the dish and its container and the delicate seasoning gave me a sense of the beauty of Japan. Also, you can feel the “sense of the seasons” in our cuisine. The portions were average.

After dinner, we left the accommodation building and went down the stone steps to the 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 some stone steps and it was raining, so it was a little dangerous. Also, if the weather had been fine, we would have been able to see Mt. Fuji from the 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, the baths smelled of sulfur from the hot spring water, and the water was good. Also, Mt. Fuji and Lake Ashinoko from a small viewing platform near the bath.

The next morning, I woke up to the sound of birds chirping. Luckily, it was a sunny morning. Before breakfast, I decided to enjoy the private outdoor hot spring bath on the terrace. It was the most luxurious time to enjoy the private hot spring bath while gazing at the beautiful moss garden. As I soaked in the hot spring water, I felt as if the moist, textured water was enveloping me.

Around 8:00 a.m., staff came to our room to prepare breakfast. Breakfast was also delicious with Japanese food. Overall, the staff, hospitality, service, and food were top-notch. A small luxury ryoakn with only 18 rooms, it is like a hideaway. During our stay, we hardly saw other guests.

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 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.

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Is the location easy to access?

The location is just a 5min-walk from Lake Ashi.  Free shuttle service is available from Hakonemachi-Ko Bus Stop or Hakone Checkpoint Atoko between 14:30 and 17:00.   You can take a Hakone Tozan Bus at Hakone-Yumoto Station or Odawara Station, and then get off at Hakonemachi-Ko Bus Stop, then a 6min-walk to the property.  If you need a free shuttle bus, call 0460-83-6661 when you reach the bus stop.  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.  You wouldn’t miss the bus stop even if you fall asleep.  Hakonemachi-ko Bus Stop is the final destination, though.

箱根町港のバス停に着いたら、教えてください。
Kindly let me know when you reach “Hakonemachi-Ko Bus Stop”

If you are still unsure about the above access information, please do not hesitate to contact me at the space below.

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 your 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. 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.
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How about In-house Facilities?

There are wonderful indoor and outdoor communal hot springs. On top of that, there is a private family hot spring that you can use for free whenever it’s not occupied.  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 just wonderful. The local ingredients were very fresh. All meals are served in your room. Also, you can order meals for small children. 

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 and excellent. This place was full of the charm of an authentic Japanese ryokan. If you want to experience the wonderful Japanese hospitality, this is the perfect place. Finally, the best time to stay at this ryokan 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 Booking.com or Agoda

Info about Yoshimatsu

Style Traditional Japanese Ryokan
Check-in and out times
15:00/11:00
Estimated Price 64,800 JPY for 2 adults per room
Contact e-mail
hakone@hakone.co.jp
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
or Hakone Checkpoint Atoko
Address and TEL 521 Hakone, Hakone-machi,
Ashigarashimo-gun,
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.