Tokyo Weekend Excursions

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A Cozy, Family Inn near Mount Fuji in Hakone

Fuji-Hakone Guest House
For a weekend excursion out of Tokyo, I recommend the Fuji- Hakone Guest House in Hakone, a mountainous town to the south of the capital . You can reach the inn by car, bus or train in under two hours from Tokyo. It is in a gorgeous area of Japan and just minutes from Lake Ashi (Ashinoko). I highly recommend getting up early to visit the lake for a glimpse of the elusive Mount Fuji in the distance.


A Cozy, Family Inn near Mount Fuji in Hakone

Fuji-Hakone Guest House
For a weekend excursion out of Tokyo, I recommend the Fuji- Hakone Guest House in Hakone, a mountainous town to the south of the capital . You can reach the inn by car, bus or train in under two hours from Tokyo. It is in a gorgeous area of Japan and just minutes from Lake Ashi (Ashinoko). I highly recommend getting up early to visit the lake for a glimpse of the elusive Mount Fuji in the distance.

You won’t need my advice on what to do while in Hakone because the hotel owner Masami Takahashi and his lovely wife and family are friendly, hospitable and well versed in English. They are happy to provide information on what to do in the area. Masami Takahashi is so knowledgeable of the area that he was appointed by Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism as a 2012 Visit Japan Ambassador.

Ask the Takahashis about Owakudani, a volcanic valley with active sulfur vents where you can eat eggs boiled in the hot springs and covered in black sulfur (kurotamago). Legend has it that for every black egg you eat from Owakudani, you extend your life for seven years. But the legend warns against eating more than three eggs, saying it is best to stick with two and a half. No matter, it is a unique experience to eat the black eggs with the sulfuric smell in the air.

Established over 25 years ago, the Fuji-Hakone Guest House has welcomed 100,000 travelers from more than 70 different countries. The rooms are clean and equipped with traditional tatami mats and futons. Several rooms overlook a bamboo forest with a stream running below. A simple breakfast is available in the living room of the guest house consisting of a hard-boiled egg, a couple of bread rolls, yogurt, fresh fruit and coffee or Japanese tea. The lounge has hot water, green tea powder, a microwave and a toaster oven. In addition, there is a piano, reading material and comfortable couches. Computers are available for rent, and Wi-Fi access is available for free. Single, double or triple rooms range from 5,250 yen to 18,900 yen. There are additional charges for weekends, holidays and high season times.

Family Onsen
The Fuji-Hakone Guest House has outdoor and indoor family onsens, or hot spring baths of piped-in volcanic water. The hot spring water at the hotel contains 18 different skin healing and nurturing minerals. A family onsen is large enough for one family. Unlike a traditional hot spring bath or public bath that you must share with strangers, at the Fuji- Hakone Guest House you may enter alone or with your spouse, family or travel group and lock the door behind you to bathe in privacy.

Location
The Fuji-Hakone Guest House is near the resort town of Sengokuhara in the Hakone National Park. Restaurants, museums, convenience stores and mountain trails are within walking distance. An express train from Shinjuku will get you there in an hour and forty minutes while a bus takes about two hours.

Fuji-Hakone Guest House
912 Sengokuhara
Hakone, Kanagawa 250-0631
TEL: 0460-84-6577
FAX: 0460-84-6578
http://fujihakone.com

 

Lakeside Retreat

Seikei Yamanaka Lake Side Hotel
If you come to Tokyo and you’re looking for a weekend excursion that includes seeing Mount Fuji, an inexpensive lakeside hotel to consider is Seikei Yamanaka Lake Side Hotel. Located approximately two hours from Tokyo, accommodations range from 5,000 to 9,500 yen per person, depending on the time of year and if breakfast or dinner is included. A reasonable price, while being lakeside with a gorgeous view of Mount Fuji and surrounded by relaxing forests. There are modest western as well as traditional tatami style rooms available, and guests can dine at the hotel’s Chinese restaurant. The hotel can accommodate 300 people.

Event Facilities
If you’re looking for a relaxing atmosphere to hold a weekend retreat, the hotel has inexpensive meeting facilities seating 18 to 300 people.


Things to do
The hotel has a gym, large public bath, and a barbecue area with 40 barbecues available. I was pleased to see the hotel also has a free bicycle rental service for guests. If you stay during the first week of August, don’t miss the fireworks during the Yamanakako Hokusai Festival. The mirrored reflection from Yamanaka Lake makes the fireworks breathtaking. In addition, the following activities are available in the area:
» Fuji Golf Course (behind the hotel)
» Tennis
» Canoeing/sailing
» Trekking/jogging
» “Swan Lake” Sightseeing boats
» “Kaba Bus” Sightseeing
Amphibious Vehicle
» Fishing (with boat rental)
» Paddleboat
» Horseback riding
» Hot Springs
» Spa
» Handicrafts
» Fujikyu Highland Amusement
Park
» Fuji Safari Park

Location
The Seikai Yamanaka Lake Side Hotel is located next to Yamanaka Lake, the largest of the five lakes that surround Mount Fuji, 1,000 meters above sea level. The hotel is accessible by bus and train from Tokyo (approximately 2 hours).

Yamanaka Lake Side Hotel
Asahigaoka, Yamanakako-mura
Minami-tsuru-gun, Yamanashi
Tel 0555-62-0020
Fax 0555-62-4460
http://nippon-seinenkan.or.jp/seikei


This story appeared in Issue 270 of the Tokyo Journal.

To order Issue 270, click here.

 

Written By:

David Bracey

A resident of Japan for two decades, David Bracey has worked in both education and journalism. He has held various positions in education, journalism, photojournalism, and business development. His jet setting lifestyle has him commuting to and contributing from Tokyo, Los Angeles, and numerous locations around the globe.



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