On the way to Hakone we stayed in the Ashikari Ryokan near Yugawara. This is a charming traditional Japanese inn with natural hot-spring baths. I tried my first Japanese bath in the lovely outside bath during the hours for men. I enjoyed the indoor bath the next morning. The traditional rooms are very attractive and are built in the style of tea-ceremony rooms and all have a view of the Japanese garden. The multi-course kaiseki of seasonal specialties was with each dish a work of art. The staff was really excellent as well.
Right in Hakone is the famous Gorakadan Ryokan. The hotel, a Relais & Chateaux property, is really wonderful. It is located in a beautiful, former summer home of a member of the Imperial family. Don’t miss the restaurant Kaiseki Kadan located in the hotel, where the food is exceptional and exquisitely presented.
Just featured in the New York Times is the Kai Hakone, a contemporary hot springs inn, near Hakone. It is a “high-design hotel and thermal spa”. It was also featured in Wallpaper* Magazine for its design.