Japan: Hakone hotels

Sep 23rd, 2004, 07:25 PM
  #1  
emd
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Join Date: Feb 2003
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Japan: Hakone hotels

I'll be staying for at least 1 night, maybe two, at a hotel in Hakone on the way from Yokohama to Kyoto in late March. Trying to decide btwn. hotels right on the lake and a bit away from the lake. Ones a bit away from the lake are:
1) Palace Hotel (a bit northeast of lake)
2) Hakone Elegance (a bit southeast of lake)
Those two are exactly the same price (about 200 USD, 2 twin bed lakeview rm., Sat. night, but hard to tell what "lakeview" really is. Palace has a spa where you can get a reflexology session which sounds great after hiking.
Others I am considering right on the lake:
1) Hakone Prince (on middle shore of lake, west side, right by Hakone-en, which sounds like a good location)
2) Hakone Hotel (southern end of lake)
Both about $350 USD w/breakfast; Prince rm. is on the lake w/a balcony, and Prince may be more of a full resort hotel.
Is it worth it to pay for being right on the lake when the view seems to be obscured so often by fog and clouds? Also don't know if the areas around any of these hotels are better than others for activities. Or if food quality is an issue.
Would appreciate any experience w/these hotels. I have found almost nothing in the way of reviews. I know from comments here that there are specials you can get for an overnight at some Hakone hotels if you leave from Shinjuku and use the Odakyu tours, but I am leaving from Yokohama, so don't think I can use those special deals.




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Sep 24th, 2004, 12:58 AM
  #2  
 
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3 years ago, I stayed at Hakone Hotel right on the Lake Ashino, they had their own pier. We took a European style room (cheaper than Japanese rooms) with 3 beds and a bathroom which had a very large bath tub AND with a front lake view thru a wall to wall/ceiling to floor window. As you can see on ther web, only the top of Fuji san is visible but overall view of the lake was beautiful and so calm. Also the location was great. 10 minutes leisurely walk to Onshi Imprerial Park, 10 min more to Pirate Boat pier, another 10 min to Hakone Jinja shrine, all on the same way along the lake. By the shrine, in the lake is standing a red torii gate (you must have seen a such photo with Fuji-san in the back), so Japanese.

> Is it worth it to pay for being right on the lake when the view seems to be obscured so often by fog and clouds?

Personally when I was in the area (5 times over last 20 years), I had the wheather mostly sunny to occasionally a bit cloudy, that was in Feb - May. And if you stay a night or two, there are always times when the sky clears up, often in early morning.

A bit of dissapointing point about the hotel is that the common bath was rather small and they don't use real Onsen water (they state they don't on their site). If authentic Onsen experience is important for you, this hotel is not for you. But view-wise, you probably will not get the same from Hotel Palace for example. I notice however Palace has huge indoor onsen bath + "roten" outdoor bath.

In case you have not taken a look at their site :

http://www.fujiyahotel.co.jp/hakone/en/index.html

Being on a elevated area, Hotel Elegance seems to have a great view over Lake Ashi although I guess Fuji-san is not visible at all from where the hotel is. There is no such photos on their web and I stayed at another hotel nearby a long time ago where I had a similar view. Their common bath looks nicer than that of Hakone Hotel. The website says thier indoor bath is under renovation.

kappa is offline  
Sep 24th, 2004, 04:38 AM
  #3  
emd
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Kappa, this is the kind of info I was hoping for; actually it is more than I hoped for as you went out of your way to look at the sites. We are going to soak at Yunessun so perhaps the onsen at Hakone Hotel won't matter as much as the good location and view. I found a good site that describes and rates the views (mountain or lake) of several Hakone hotels (www.jtb.jp/japannow/PLANNING/planning16-2.html). It gives Hakone Hotel "2 mountains" on view from rooms and "1 mountain" on view from restaurant. Only few very expensive ryokan have better views, and of course the Highland Hotel (which I gather is at the base of Mt Fuji) gets 3 mountains. Prince hotel has only lake view since it is middle shore of the lake.
One thing- did you eat at Hakone Hotel? Was the food good? If not, can you recommend where you ate dinner?
Thanks so much, you went out of your way and I appreciate it.
emd is offline  
Sep 24th, 2004, 07:34 AM
  #4  
 
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You are very welcome, am glad to be of help.

You posted an interesting page > www.jtb.jp/japannow/PLANNING/planning16

On the photo of Hakone Hotel, we had a top floor room in the middle of the building (they gave it to us because of the low season, I think, although we paid probabaly the lowest rate.), facing the lake and partianl Fuji-san behind. We (me, my mother and my sister) paid about 13'000yen per person in Feb or Mar, half board base.

As I rememeber they had a choice of Japanese or European dinner/breakfast and I think we chose both Japanese. The dinner was served in 4-5 course style (not kaiseki style where they spread everything all over your table.). Foods were presented in a fancy way, the taste nothing impressive but good enough for us. Japanese breakfast was fun. Among others they served large cubes of tofu in a wooden case filled with hot water (yu-dohu).

Another fun thing we had was, before dawn around 5 am, there were many small fishing boats appeared on the lake.They remained there for 1-2 hours quietly but by 07.00 they were gone. I thought they were allowed to fish before the big commecial boats (e.g. Pirate Boats) started running. All this time, I think the Fuji-san was visible, though small, in the dark to whitening sky. If you happen to choose Hakone Hotel, I recommend this lake/boat watching. Also recommend a walk along the lake to Onshi Park and to Hakone Shrine that I already mentioned. You can do this, seeing Fuji-san most of the time, wheather permitted of course.
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Sep 24th, 2004, 07:48 AM
  #5  
emd
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Excellent info and also details on the food, thanks again. The lake/fishing boat viewing sounds great, and I bet I'll be up early.
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