Hakone is a perfect location for a 36-hour romantic escape from Tokyo. Hubby and I had the luxury of leaving our four kids at home and running away for part of the weekend. If you are looking for a quick getaway for fresh air, onsens, great food, lovely accommodations and some art than Hakone is a great option. We stayed at Gora Kadan which is a luxury ryokan, but if you would like a Western hotel, I recommend Hyatt Hakone. Only two hours from Tokyo on the train.
Hakone a 36-Hour Romantic Escape
We left (or should I say extracted ourselves from) our Tokyo home around 10:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning and headed to Shinjuku Station. From Tokyo Station we took the Odakyu Romance Car to Hakone-Yumoto about 1.5 hours and less than 3,000 yen. The Romance Car, so called since 1951 is due to the seats being arranged in twos. Along the way I recommend enjoying a season box lunch sold on the train. It was very colourful and tasty, especially with a mid-day relaxing drink. Once you arrive at Nakone-Yumoto Station you walk about 10 meters and jump on the “little red train” Hakone-Tozan Train to Gora. You can pay for the last train leg when you get off in Gora.
Gora is a cute little station where you can take a cable car further up the mountain. We got off at Gora and poked around in some gift stores until our check-in time at Gora Kadan. You can walk to Gora
Kadan from the station about
five mins, or call them for a pickup. From the minute you enter the Gora Kadan grounds you know you have entered a beautiful world of Japanese luxury which is understated, quiet and meticulous in everything. Gora Kadan, the former retreat of the Imperial Family, Kanin-no-miya, is situated in the heart of Hakone National Park. We just wanted to relax so did not venture out on Saturday we spent the afternoon in our private bath, read books and napped. The perfect time.
For dinner, we were escorted the original 1930’s where the private dining rooms are located. We enjoyed the most romantic eight-course Japanese dinner that included sashimi, beef, grilled fill and every autumn vegetable possible. Note: You can reserve to have dinner at
Gora Kadan even if you are staying at a different location. Gora Kadan has private villas that sit separately from the main buildings, as well as rooms in the modern building that is stunning. Massages can be arranged in your room, or you can visit the Spa.
Morning was slow for us reading, bathing and enjoying a brilliant Japanese breakfast back in our private dinning room. Gora Kandan’s customer service is immaculate and they are willing to accommodate all dietary needs, just give them a heads-up. Your entire stay there will be one hotel person who will take care of you. Just for reference it is nice to tip that person a few thousand yen for taking care of you. Although tipping is not the norm at such an establishment with amazing service it is common (although not mandatory).
We spent mid-day walking through the Hakone Open-Air Museum, which is about a 10 min walk from Gora Kadan. The museum was fabulous, and we spent about two hours enjoying the hundreds of sculptures as well as the foliage just starting to change colors. The misty weather also made the entire experience even more romantic. There are two restaurants on the museum premises if you choose to eat there. We tried to have lunch at Nobu’s, but it was fully booked at 14:00. Bad planning on our part. Wandering back to town we stumbled across Gyoza Express, which was a cute little shop with quite a line outside. We grabbed some beers while waiting and then enjoyed some plates of ebi and Hakone gyozas. Was worth the 30 min wait.
Time to go home at this point, but we will come back in cherry blossom season! Great quick trip and 36-hours can be very therapeutic when so easy and stress-free.
Hakone a 36-Hour Romantic Escape
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