This is my favourite day spa discovered to date in the Hakone Yumoto area. As described in my post about Tenseien, Hakone Yumoto is a gateway to many sightseeing activities around Mount Fuji. A visit to Hakone Yuryo is a a great option to package with the day trip of sightseeing for an onsen on your way home, or alternatively it is a perfect place to visit for the whole day on its own.
About Hakone Yuryo
Nestled in the hills a few kilometers from the station, Hakone Yuryo is a traditional style country side hot spring resort full of rustic charm. From the moment you enter the reception area, you are entering the feeling of old style Japan.
When checking in you have an array of options for private baths or the public communal baths. The public baths are quite sensational in their own right, however if you are visiting as a couple or a family wiht young children, the private bath options are really nice. To enjoy a full one day spa experience there is also a number of massage treatments to choose from.
Traditional Yukata (Japanese cotton kimono) are available for rental at the front desk. I highly recommend you take this option as you will certainly want to relax and unwind in the beautiful garden area and traditional restaurant.
Commununal bathing area
It is a great pity that photos cannot be taken of the beautiful bathing area for obvious reasons…. Needless to say, as per the images above, the bathing area is surrounded by trees and very well maintained and landscaped. My favourite experience is the outdoor washing area which is not so common. It was just perfect to be able to relax, soap down and wash your hair in the sunshine sitting on a little stool!
After a good scrub down there are mulitple baths both indoors and out as well as sauna facilities. If you feel like spoiling yourself, try to enjoy some time in one of the 2 pottery baths which are round tubs built for 1-2 people maximum. Nothing beats soaking next deep, feet up over the edge, and elbows resting on the edge as you peer up into the trees overhead!
Located within the resort is a traditional Japanese restaurant featuring Irori, which are sunken hearths traditionally used for cooking food over charcoal. In the restaurant the irori have been built into the tables or alternatively mini portable cooking sets are provided. Popular items to order are fish, meats and vegetables which are delightful when grilled and then dipped in Japanese sauces, yuzu kosho, or a variety of salts.
It really is a beautiful dining enviroment, tastefully decorated with many pottery items, ceramics and sake, which all add to the experience.
If you would really like to indulge, make sure you try one of the decadent soft cream parfaits – either in matcha flavour or kinako, a roasted soy flour often used for dessert in Japan.
As per the picture below, it is perfectly acceptable to eat in the restaurant in your yukata. After a lovely lunch you may enjoy a wander through the courtyard, or head down to the relaxation room and have a rest on the tatami flooring.
Spring in the country side
As mentioned earlier, there is plenty of countryside to explore around Hakone. On the day of our visit this year, we spent a full day at the onsen, however I recalled the gorgeous pictures taken last year in Miyagino about 30 minutes by bus from Hakone Yuryo.
From Shinjuku, take the Hakone limited express train bound for Hakone Yumoto. (1 hour 29 minutes). From there take the Hakone Yuryo free shuttle bus to the resort. (5 minutes)