Just over an hour out from Central Tokyo via the Romance Car Train is Hakone. A beautiful, mountain landscape filled with green lushness and mother nature's colours.
Hakone is easily possible to do in just a day trip, with many lovely hikes to climb, an amazing Open Air Museum, the cable car ride amongst many other little day activities.
I adore Hakone, and have visited many of the sites before in a day but what I really love doing is staying overnight for a day or two at one of the lovely Ryokan's that can be found in the town.
So this time as a little staycation, to recharge and refresh the souls - we went up to Hakone and stayed at the delightful Hakone Ginyu Ryokan (a member of The Ryokan Collection).
Nestled further up in the Hakone mountains, Hakone Ginyu offers fabulous views of the colourful mountain side. After living in Tokyo for so long, it's always lovely to be surrounded by nature.
As it's generally my husband and I going on these little Ryokan Staycations, we always book a room that has a private onsen within so we can fully capitalize on spending time together. It's a little bit pricier but so worth it.
There are of course cheaper Ryokan rooms that have no private onsen, where you have to separate to go use the bigger public onsen baths but it kinda defeats the purpose of us having quality time. (Though we always go check out the bigger public baths as they are always amazing!)
Private onsens are also good if you're a tad uncomfortable with being completely naked in a bath full of strangers.
Hakone Ginyu decor has a rather decided balinese theme to it which though lovely I did find a bit unusual for a Ryokan. This time around we chose a western style room instead of futon & tatami just to change it up.
Such a lovely way to wake up in the morning - a glorious soak in our private onsen bath on our Verandah overlooking the pretty mountainside.
Another aspect of staying at Ryokan's that I absolutely LOVE is the FOOD!!! Now Ryokan rates may seem a bit steep per person but remember it includes your breakfast and dinner which for a Ryokan generally means the epic kaiseki seasonal feast of a ridiculous amount of food.
The first round of "appetizers" - mini pretty works of art! I cannot exclaim just how much I love Japanese Kaiseki. Amazing, fresh, seasonal produce.
Below is our mini sashimi selection and yes adorning it is fresh popcorn!
and here comes the rest of our feast! light refreshing yuzu soup broth with little treats inside, followed by yummy yummy wagyu beef sukiyaki with fairyfloss! hahaha to melt away in the sauce broth.
What I also love about Kaiseki - is just the care and detail taken in the presentation. Everything is like mini works of art.
The final dinner dish below - the traditional rice, pickles & miso soup - simplicity in its finest.
Then it's time to rest your stomach and sleep, only to wake up for the breakfast feast!! Unlike dinner where the food comes one after the other - breakfast is everything all at once and it makes for a very full dining table!
Note: Ryokan dining times are very early! Dinner time choices are generally between 6-8pm. Breakfast between 6-8am.
Bellies stuffed to the brim, what better way to end our stay by having a last minute soak in our onsen bath.
If you ever visit Japan, staying at a Ryokan is a must do.