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The Top 6 Hakone Ryokan and Hot Spring Hotels
Throughout Japan, Hakone is well known as a hot spring retreat, a place rich in natural hot springs with unique healing properties. Since ancient times, the ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn, have thrived in areas rich in hot springs, also known as onsen. Many of these ryokan have a history going back hundreds of years, carrying on traditions and preserving the local culture. For a relaxing, rejuvenating escape or a chance to experience the local omotenashi (Japanese hospitality), these first-rate ryokan in Hakone won't disappoint.
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The Top 6 Hakone Ryokan and Hot Spring Hotels
Hoshino Resorts Kai - Sengokuhara
A luxury onsen resort from the renown Hoshino Resorts Group, the Sengokuhara branch features private outdoor baths on the terrace of each guestroom with sweeping views of the Sengokuhara Forest. Hoshino Resorts Kai Sengokuhara bills itself as an 'art-oriented ryokan', and inside the hotel, pieces from local artists adorn the lobby and public areas as well as each of the guestrooms. Staying guests can enjoy the communal hot springs and lounge, take part in workshops focusing on local culture, embark on a sightseeing tour of Hakone or dine on traditional Japanese cuisine in the comfort of their rooms. Room rates can be up to 90,000 yen per night, half board.
A gorgeous, upscale ryokan, Kinnotake combines the best of traditional Japanese hospitality and the comforts of modern technology. Each guestroom has a unique open-air hot spring fed with Hakone's acclaimed natural spring water as well as flatscreen TVs, iPod docking stations and free WiFi throughout the property. Guests can relax in lounges inspired by traditional Japanese designs while overlooking a tranquil pond, get a massage at onsite Moon Spa or check out the stylish bar and cigar lounge for local spirits, cocktails and champagne. Rates range from 60,000 to 90,000 yen per night.
Takumino Yado - Yoshimatsu
Yoshimatsu is a traditional ryokan just minutes from Lake Ashi and the Togendai Station, where classic merchant ships set sail. The spacious suites offer views of Mount Fuji or the resort's own Japanese style garden, and some have private outdoor baths. With two open-air baths and a private indoor hot spring for booking, Yoshimatsu is the ideal choice for rest and rejuvenation. The traditional garden includes a pond of lively koi, rest areas and beautiful views of Mount Fuji. Yoshimatsu's kaiseki dinner is served to guests in their room. Rates start at around 60,000 yen per night.
Tucked away in the forests of Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, Matsuzakaya Honten is a secluded hot springs hotel with a history going back to 1662. The ryokan's elegantly appointed rooms are spacious and inviting, with forest views from the windows and some with private hot springs on the terrace. Matsuzakaya Honten boasts hot springs fed straight from the source, which reportedly changes color depending on the temperature and weather conditions, a rarity even in Hakone. The property boasts a historic tea ceremony room built in 1887, a suite once enjoyed by the young Taisho Emperor, and even the most basic accommodation is steeped in history, set in the villa of a wealthy family first built in 1926. Rates start as low as 40,000 yen per night.
Suzuki no Hara Ichinoyu
Suzuki no Hara Ichinoyu is a stylish, modern ryokan that doesn't compromise on traditionalist elements. Rooms are simple but comfortable, and the large communal bathhouse has floor-to-ceiling windows and views of the tranquil garden. Ichinoyu is a group of ryokan hotels that has been established in the Hakone area since 1630, and any overnight guest is allowed access to all the baths at all of their properties. Half board plans at Suzuki no Hara start as low as 15,000 yen per night.
Ryokan Hakone Ginyu
A 'spa resort ryokan', Ginyu is set high in the secluded mountains of Hakone, with sweeping views of thick forests and Hayakawa Ravine. All guestrooms have private hot springs baths, and the communal bathing area features an infinity hot spring and sauna for each gender. Elevated kaiseki cuisine is served at mealtimes, and refreshments are always available at the stylish penthouse bar and lounge area. Ginyu also has an onsite spa with a water garden, private treatment rooms, weekday yoga classes and an outdoor hot spring bath customized for maximum health benefits. Overnight stays can reach up to 90,000 yen.
In Kanagawa Prefecture just south of Tokyo, Hakone has been a favorite hot springs retreat of the nobility for hundreds of years. The area is known for its many distinct spring sources, each with its own purported health benefits. Escape to nature, rejuvenate in the natural hot springs and experience traditional Japanese culture, cuisine and aesthetics at these outstanding onsen ryokan in Hakone.
With many ryokan and hotels in Hakone participating in Japan's Go to Travel campaign, it's never been cheaper to head to some of these luxury resorts. While originally expensive, you can save up to 50% with various hotels around Hakone and the whole of Japan.