19 High-End Hot Spring Inns in Hakone
Only an hour and a half away from the center of Tokyo, Hakone is a huge onsen (hot spring) hot spot in Kanagawa Prefecture that's surrounded by beautiful mountains, such as Mt. Fuji. Hot springs have been part of Japanese culture since ancient times and their curative waters are used in hundreds of splendid spas and inns. If you're in for a soul-soothing and luxurious vacation, these places are top notch!
Feb 28 2019
1. Yamagaso [Yumoto]
"A getaway from the hustle and bustle", as its motto goes, describes perfectly the atmosphere you'll find at Yamagaso. Nothing feels more soothing and relaxing than a nice hot bath with only the sound of streaming water and chirping wild birds in the background. The picture above is of their open-air bath, a true delight!
That said, Yamagaso's true charm lies in the rooms. They're actually 6 mini-apartments in detached buildings scattered around a Japanese garden, ensuring the utmost privacy and tranquility. Don't let the old-school appearance fool you - they're all equipped with a Western toilet, TV, Wi-Fi, and all other necessary items.
If you're still not convinced, wait until you try the food! In order to offer fresh seasonal food, their luxurious menu changes on a bi-monthly basis. Anytime you go, you'll be served directly in your room an unforgettably delicious dinner prepared with mastery by their skilled chef.
2. Fukuzumiro [Tonosawa]
Founded in 1890, this wooden ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) was selected by the International Council on Monuments and Sites as one of the top 20 Japanese heritage sites of the 20th century. This is thanks to its architectural design, as well as the way it values "the beauty of bamboo". Most guests come here for its stunning round bath, with natural hot spring water pouring all day long through a bamboo pipe.
Once you're all clean and relaxed, you can sleep in one of their beautiful rooms, all different in style. On their official website you'll find a thorough description of all 17 rooms and their features, so you can pick the option that best suits your needs and preferences. This one is called "Seseragi", and from the end of April to the start of July, it lulls you to sleep with the sound of the river and frogs.
In line with the high standards of its rooms and baths, the food served at Fukuzumiro is superb kaiseki (Japanese course) cuisine where the freshness and quality of the ingredients is their top priority. You can have a basic kaiseki course or order their special kaiseki course if you prefer to taste the products available in the current season. What more could you want from a ryokan?
3. Musashino Bekkan [Miyanoshita]
Skim the reviews of this ryokan and you'll immediately get an idea of how warm and welcoming the staff are. First off, there's a useful pick up/drop off service, so once you're off the train, you don't have to worry about anything else. Then, a friendly staff member will assist you by showing you around and answering all your questions, doing their best to make you feel comfortable.
There are several options for both indoor and outdoor baths, a couple of which you can book all for yourself. They also have a spa where you can get a nice massage using essential oils from the English brand "Neil's Yard Remedies".
As soon as you see the wide and bright rooms (20 available), you'll never want to sleep anywhere else! If you're on a honeymoon or just looking for a luxurious experience, check out their "Kaede" room (see above picture). It looks like an apartment, with a bedroom, living room, Japanese room with a kotatsu table, and even a balcony with a private open-air bath overlooking the green mountains.
4. Manatei Hakone [Miyanoshita]
Established in 2012, this ryokan looks more like a hotel than an inn at first glance. The lobby is furnished with antiques, but also has a display of artworks from famous Japanese artists.
Though the lobby's design is far from traditional, the rooms do evoke old Japan, with a modern twist added via classy Western furniture like sofas and beds. The photo above shows a glimpse of one of their two suites, with a private semi-open-air bath and a comfy "day bed" for a nap in the afternoon.
As for the food, you'll be treated to delicious organic vegetables, fresh seafood from the bays of Sagami and Suruga, and meat produced in Kanagawa, cooked with Japanese techniques and a little Western touch.
5. Gora Kadan [Gora]
Other than the magnificence of the facilities, what Gora Kadan's guests love the most is the hospitality of the staff. From check-in to check-out, you'll be pampered like royalty!
Plus, the place is stunning. All rooms, even the standard ones, offer a spectacular view of the surrounding nature. Most of them have a private open-air bath, which makes this the ideal choice for couples on a romantic trip or honeymoon - especially if you prefer to bathe together or if you have tattoos. In fact, this ryokan can also be used as a wedding venue, so don't be surprised if you bump into newlyweds!
You'll have everything you need in all the rooms: a flat screen TV, private bathroom with toiletries, free Wi-Fi, and more. Don't miss out on the facilities - you can go for a swim in their huge pool, book a relaxing massage at their spa, and even work out in their fitness center. Afterwords, recharge with the delicious seasonal kaiseki cuisine served at their restaurant!
6. Shiunso [Tonosawa]
If you're after a place with a large open-air bath, Shiunso might be the solution! Beautifully designed and nestled in the middle of Hakone's greenery, there are 2 more bathtubs you can enjoy all to yourself as long as you make a reservation. The family one can be booked for free once per group!
Tonosawa's natural hot springs provide Shiunso's baths low alkaline waters at a temperature of 54.2°C (129.5°F), which is particularly effective with pain of nerve, muscles, or joints, as well as general fatigue. Many customers head here on a day trip just to try their amazing baths, but it's highly recommended to spend the night as well.
Facing the natural landscape of this area, both rooms and baths offer a beautiful sight all year long, and it's definitely worth visiting in different time periods to witness how it changes over the seasons. During the fall, for instance, the bright colors of momiji (autumn leaves) will make your experience even more unique!
7. Kijitei Hoeiso [Yumotochaya]
A peaceful place surrounded by the mountains characterized by an old traditional design and a nostalgic atmosphere. Nothing pretentious, nothing flashy; everything is kept simple and minimal for you to have a taste of the Japanese way of relaxation.
Their amazing open-air bath is built on the riverside and offers an outstanding panorama, changing every season. Sit back, stretch your legs, and soak in the magic of nature. To reduce their environmental impact, they only use wood chip boilers to heat the bath waters. Guests also love their beautiful inner garden, so don't miss it!
There are 19 rooms, one of which is in a detached building. The design and furniture are 100% Japanese and absolutely stunning. Another highlight of this place is their food! Their signature ingredient is green pheasant, a type of fowl considered particularly healthy for its high protein and amino acid content. It is cooked in several traditional methods.
8. Tensui Saryo [Gora]
As soon as you set foot inside this ryokan, you will notice a bar counter with a footbath under the seats. Enjoy a drink with loved ones while soaking your feet in hot healing waters!
As for the regular baths, there are several options, a couple of which are for private use, in the sense that you can book them all for yourself. The one you see above is the large public bath, but there's also a lovely open-air bath outside. Both are accessed seperately by men and women, depending on the time.
The room interiors boast a fantastic modern Japanese style. There are 11 types of rooms, some with futons, some with beds, some with a private open-air bath, but are all pretty comfortable and come fully-equipped. This may be ideal if you prefer something slightly different from the rest!
9. Ryuguden [Moto Hakone]
Ryuguden is a masterpiece of Japanese architecture, built 70 years ago and recently renewed. Its healing waters come from the Takogawa hot spring, the newest among Hakone's 17 hot springs. You can use their fabulous hot spring facility, comprised of both outdoor and indoor baths, without staying the night as well! The picture above shows the view from the open-air bath. Spot Mt. Fuji?
Another appealing point of this place is the restaurant. Whether you have your meal there or directly in your room, you'll love their classic Japanese dishes like tempura, soba (buckwheat noodles), and tonkatsu (pork cutlet).
You can find the baths, spa, and restaurant in the main building, while the rooms are located in the annex. There are 2 options available: rooms with a veranda, which will grant you a stunning panorama of Hakone and Mt. Fuji, or rooms with a private bath, which are surrounded by the tranquil green forest and the lake.
10. Senkyoro [Sengokuhara]
This is a huge ryokan with numerous rooms and a magnificent garden tinged with different colors and flowers all throughout the year. Senkyoro was established as a place for one to experience the Japanese way of unwinding and appreciating nature.
For their baths, they use 100% hot spring water gushing out of Owakudani, a valley whose volcanic activity makes the water high in sulfur and, consequently, muddy and white - or, as they define it, "milky". The one in the above photo is for women only, but there are several options for both genders. Slide into the bath, stretch your legs, look up to the sky, and let the water purify your body!
Everybody gets hungry after a spa day! Here, you can fill your stomach with seasonal kaiseki cuisine prepared by an experienced chef. The menu changes on a monthly basis, according to the ingredients in season. Let the chef pamper you with a well-thought-through series of delicious dishes you'll remember forever!
11. Hakone Kowakien Ten-yu [Ninotaira]
"A trip to Hakone that pleases all 5 senses" is one of the concepts of Ten-yu, an elegant ryokan where all rooms have a private open-air bath. If you're a fan of both hot springs and infinity pools, you can't miss this! The view is stunning, the hot water feels amazing on your skin, and the only sounds you hear come from the water streaming and the wind blowing through the trees.
When it's time to fill your belly, head to the one of their restaurants (or have the food served to your room, it's up to you)! You can have their original course meals combining Japanese and Western recipes, soba made with Hakone's water, shabu-shabu of premium meats and seafood, or even just a drink at the Ten-yu Bar & Lounge. Anything you choose, it'll taste and smell amazing!
The rooms are many and varied, ranging from maisonettes to executive rooms. The suites deserve particular attention: designed either to recall a specific era of Japanese history or with seasons and nature as the main theme, these special rooms are full of character and will make choosing a room a tough call!
12. Kitanokaze Saryou [Sengokuhara]
Build a ryokan. Put a private open-air bath in all its rooms. Add a restaurant and serve seasonal, local products and fresh seafood from Hokkaido in the traditional Japanese way. There you have it: the perfect getaway for relaxing and taking a break from your busy life! Kitanokaze Saryou has all of that and much more.
At first glance, you'd think this is one of the public baths, accessible for all the hotel guests. Wrong! This is actually the private bath inside one of the rooms by the bamboo forest. Can you believe you can have all this just for yourself? And this is only one of the multiple options available!
Examples of rooms you can have include a room with a sauna (in addition to the bath, of course) and a suite with both outdoor and indoor baths, as well as a wide terrace room. The interior design of the different areas of the ryokan is modern Japanese, and everything is extremely clean and tidy. Definitely check it out if you're planning a trip to the area.
13. Yoshiike Ryokan [Yumoto]
The picture above is not an exaggeration. It is real and belongs to Yoshiike, a beautiful ryokan with a garden of about 33,000 sq.m. The property is so huge and there are so many things to do and see that you'll need a map to explore it! For example, the former residence of the Iwasaki family (founders of Mitsubishi-Zaibatsu) and the nearby tea room are Registered Cultural Assets of Japan.
Once you're done with exploring the area, you can sit down and enjoy a fulfilling meal made with seasonal ingredients and tons of love! Premium products like seafood from Suruga Bay are the main ingredients of their delicious and colorful cuisine that will reinvigorate both the body and soul.
The majority of the rooms have a garden view, but if you want to make sure you get one, you can ask for it when making a reservation. The one thing you'll certainly get is a private spa supplied straight from their own natural hot spring source, a feature that very few ryokan have. There's a total of 64 rooms, so you can choose from plenty of types, including a large one with a capacity for 10 guests!
14. Hakone Tokinoshizuku [Miyanoshita]
This recently renewed ryokan beautifully combines Japanese and Western elements in its interior design. A key element of this is undoubtedly wood, as you can see in the photo. Wait, did you think this was their public bath? Think again: this is the private open-air bath in their 200 sq.m. Grand Suite!
The ever-changing kaiseki course menu that they offer is comprised of premium ingredients stocked when at their most delicious, and cooked so as to enhance their flavor to the fullest. The restaurant has a fantastic view of the sun setting behind the mountains, offering you the ultimate dining experience.
Other than the Grand Suite, there are also Premier and Standard Suites, all wide and beautifully designed. Large windows let the sunlight brighten up your private space and allow you to admire the lush green landscape around the facility. Of course, every room has a private hot spring bath, plus a variety of amenities (toiletries, yukata, bath robes) and equipment, including a fridge for wine. Put your fluffy bath robe on, lay on the reclining chair, and enjoy the view!
15. Seikansou [Yumotochaya]
Surrounded by momiji in fall and young green pines in spring, this is the perfect retreat to get in touch with nature and spend some quality time off. The price per night may be a little higher, but Seikansou and its staff will do whatever they can to make it worth it!
For starters, the food is amazing and highly recommended. They make authentic kaiseki cuisine consisting of different delicacies according to the season, and the menu is updated monthly.
There are two types of rooms: those with a private open-air bath on the terrace, and those facing the former Eastern Ocean Road (Kyu-Tokaido), with hot spring baths located separately. They're all traditional Japanese rooms with futon or beds, offering you a 100% authentic Japanese experience.
16. Takumino Yado Yoshimatsu [Hakone]
Near Lake Ashi sits a family-friendly ryokan with a gorgeous Japanese garden called "Takumino Yado Yoshimatsu". If you book a night or two, you can expect clean rooms, excellent service, and a laid-back atmosphere. The large family bath, the handy parking lot, and the kitchenware for children provided in the rooms make this a great option for families with kids.
You can bathe either in one of the two scenic outdoor bathtubs (Sumo-no-Yu and Suruga-no-Yu), or in the private open-air bath inside your room, if available. There is also another large bathtub where you can stretch your legs and relax with your family members.
Other than the private open-air bath or lack thereof, what basically differs from room to room is the size. The ryokan has everything from tiny studios to large rooms that can host up to 6 guests together, so it can serve both as a romantic getaway for couples, as well as lodging for families in search of relaxation. Also, you're going to love the delicious and meticulously made food served in your room!
17. Hotel Hatsuhana [Sukumogawa]
Situated at the foot of Mt. Yusaka, the majestic entrance of Hanatsuna has been offering its guests "a blissful stay" for 25 years now. The facilities include a relaxation salon surrounded by a silent forest, letting you become one with nature and completely forget about your everyday life.
Pictured above is the female-only outdoor rock bath. Females can also bathe in an infinity pool, a barrel bath, a jacuzzi, and more! Of course, men get a fair number of options as well: they can bathe in the indoor tub, outdoor rock bathtub, and the jacuzzi. There's also a sauna to sweat out some toxins.
After all that bathing and relaxing, you'll eventually need to eat and restore your energy. You can head to the restaurant, Tsutsuji no Chaya, where a master chef will satisfy your hunger with seasonal and local products superbly prepared and presented one after another in the form of a kaiseki course. Take a seat in one of their private rooms that can seat up to 18 customers!
18. Hyatt Regency Hakone Resort and Spa [Gora]
You don't necessarily have to stay at a traditional ryokan during your relaxing weekend in Hakone! There's plenty of hotels as well, including this 5-star luxury resort from the Hyatt group. Its spacious and fully-equipped rooms will make you feel better than at home, while the stunning spa and sublime food will be true bliss for your senses.
Being a resort, the space is huge and there are several facilities. Awaken your senses in the nature-surrounded spa "Izumi", or soak in the natural hot spring baths containing a mixture of waters from two different springs, both with plenty of health benefits. When you're hungry, you can choose from different types of classy restaurants, offering everything from sushi to Western cuisine. There's also a nice living room where you can sip on a drink and listen to live music!
There are 80 rooms available here. Cozy, functional, and clean, they combine sophisticated Western furniture with interior design that gives off a Japanese vibe. A great thing about this place is that some of them are dog-friendly! Even pets need to relax from time to time, don't they? After a full-service grooming, your pet will join you in your room that's designed to be 100% safe for pets.
19. Fontaine Bleau Sengokutei [Sengokuhara]
Authentic French cuisine and rooms equipped with a scenic open-air bath: an innovative and winning combination! Established 20 years ago, Fontaine Bleau aims to give comfort to your body both from the outside, with its fantastic private hot springs, and from the inside, with its delicious food.
The ingredients used in their food are always seasonal and include both domestic delicacies, like Mishima potatoes, and products stocked from all parts of the world. The chef, who served at the Imperial Hotel for 19 years, prepares superb French dishes, making sure the premium ingredients' flavors stand out without using too much seasoning.
This ryokan pays careful attention to everything, from choosing the finest organic products to providing their original skin care goods and excellent spa products. The design of each room is unique and beautiful, and you'll find all sorts of comforts for an unforgettable stay, including a speaker so that you can listen to all your favorite tunes in a comfortable space.
If you pick any of these places, you'll be blessed with an amazing experience that you'll remember for the rest of your life. You'll discover the real meaning of relaxation, and you'll be pampered like never before! Take some days off and indulge in the splendor of Hakone and its magical waters!
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.