All About Japan

5 Reasons to Stay at Hakone Ginyu

| Ryokan , Hakone

As you stroll down the short hill from Miyanoshita Station toward Ginyu, the little village you pass through belies the natural wonders that await. Although Hakone is known for offering respite from Tokyo’s concrete jungle, there are few places that offer the kind of exquisite, romantic escape you’ll experience at Ginyu.

After being welcomed by attentive staff who’ll hand you a delicious cocktail, step inside your uniquely decorated room and out onto the expansive balcony, and prepare to say, “Ahhh.” Here’s why…

1. The Views Are Unforgettable

Ginyu is perched on the edge of a mountain overlooking a steep valley that drops into the Haya River. Beyond this, there are rows of lush slopes that flirt with the sunset and transform into a canvas of red and orange during autumn. Haven’t booked a room on one of the upper floors? Don’t worry—in place of valley views, you’ll have the pleasure of looking directly onto a beautifully manicured traditional Japanese garden.

2. You Can Bathe on Your Balcony

Because why would you want to take a soak inside when you have this beautiful view to admire? Ginyu ensures that every moment of your stay is maximized, and bath time becomes an indulgent relaxation session as you unwind in your private rotenburo (outdoor hot spring bath). If you find the water is a little too steamy, they’ve even provided a handy button on the side of the tub that you can press to add cool water.

Can’t get enough of mineral-rich hot springs? Make sure you also try out the ryokan’s three public onsen (hot springs), each of which has its own ambiance. Two of them also have saunas attached, while the Tsukishiro bath features an impressive infinity pool (pictured). The baths are open from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m., with a two-hour break for cleaning between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

3. There are 4 Room Styles

Kaze, Hoshi, Sora and Tsuki: these four words mean, respectively, Wind, Star, Sky and Moon, and they form the basis of the four different styles of room décor that you can choose from. Clearly inspired by the natural surroundings, the 20 rooms are divided up onto four different floors, each of which has its own distinct charm.

Heading down from the fifth-floor lobby and main lounge area, the Kaze rooms are on the fourth floor, and all provide remarkable views across the valley. The third floor is home to the Hoshi rooms, which are themed with touches of exotic Balinese memorabilia.

The Sora rooms, found on the second floor, are bright and breezy, and boast traditional Japanese décor—ideal if you’re keen to experience a more classic ryokan atmosphere. Finally, the first-floor Tsuki rooms could very easily be called a home away from home as they flow out onto the balcony and garden, providing a cozy yet sophisticated setting.

Despite their differing aesthetics, all the rooms are imbued with a stylish, traditional feel while not forgoing modern essentials, including widescreen TV, DVD player, music system and mini bar. Each has a comfortable lounge/dining area for breakfast and dinner, spacious bed, a pull-out futon, and a large shower with sliding doors that lead out onto the balcony.

4. Kaiseki Is on the Menu

This traditional, multi-course Japanese dinner is one of the highlights at Ginyu. Meticulously prepared and served in the comfort of your room, kaiseki-ryori is a feast of fresh, seasonal and artfully presented ingredients.

Courses include fish, meat and vegetables, served in perfect portions that help to pace the meal out for a leisurely evening. After dinner, head up to one of the ryokan’s bars and sip on a cocktail as you gaze out at the view or, if seated inside, at one of the exotic fish tanks that serve as lounge centerpieces.

Breakfast is also served in your room, and you have the choice of Western or Japanese fare. Western style includes cereal, croissants, French bread, fruits and yogurt. If you order the Japanese menu, you’ll enjoy a set featuring fish, rice and miso soup.

5. The Spa is Heavenly

For an extra dose of pampering, Ginyu Spa welcomes you for soothing massages, facial treatments and reflexology. In keeping with the ryokan’s superb service, spa therapists will treat you like royalty. Although every treatment is bound to be blissful, we recommend the 120-minute body massage, which incorporates original techniques and is the ultimate way to unwind before hopping into one of the private stone baths.

The best way to end off your evening at Ginyu? Take a night stroll around the grounds, breathing in fresh mountain air and making every moment at this romantic hideaway count.

Hakone Ginyu won a Travelers’ Choice Award in 2012 and, according to managing director Akihiro Ota, it’s a popular venue for marriage proposals.

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