Japanese Ryokan : Hakone Kintoen

I have always wanted to experience a stay in a ryokan or traditional Japanese inn.  A typical ryokan is usually family run and offer a limited number of rooms, hence the expensive price tag.

On my last trip to Japan in May 2015, I decided to splurge a little on a stay in a ryokan in Hakone, a popular onsen town about 2 hours train ride from Tokyo.  After much research, I booked a 2 night stay at Hakone Kintoen (金湯苑).

Hakone Kintoen building

Don’t be deceived by the modern building as this is a true old school ryokan.  The moment we walked in, we were greeted with the best Japanese hospitality.  We had to remove our shoes when we arrived and were provided with slippers to wear inside the ryokan.

After a quick process of checking in, we were ushered into our room.  We were served green tea and light snacks shortly after.

Snacks that are served to guests upon arrival

The traditional style room is very basic, consists of sliding doors and tatami-matted floor, a table and floor level chairs and space for futon.  The furnishing is showing its age but the room is clean and spacious by Japanese standards.

The room also has a small balcony to sit and relax after a day out.

The big glass window makes the room bright and cheery

Guests are given ‘yukata’ to wear while in the ryokan.

At night, the table is moved aside to make space for the futon beds.  Though the beds look so simple and basic, they were comfortable and I had 2 good nights of sleep :).  In the morning, these beds will have to be cleared and the area is transformed back to its day function.

Simple yet comfortable futon beds

For two consecutive days, breakfast was served at 8 am sharp as per agreed with the lady who was assigned to our room.

Breakfast was served in the room by this very attentive, helpful and extremely polite lady

It was quite an elaborate affair with 6 dishes each day!  Best of all, the food was delicious and wholesome too.

The food looked too good to be eaten!

The tasty and very filling breakfast

Hakone Kintoen has its own public bath on the ground floor with men and women having separate bath areas.  Before going into the bath, one has to shower while seated on the plastic stool provided.  I didn’t try the public bath as we had a private bath in the room.  I definitely made full use of it to soak my tired aching limbs after a whole day of walking and sightseeing :).

The public bath for guests

Hot pool in the public bath

The 2 nights stay was really a memorable and enjoyable experience.  Though it’s more expensive than standard hotel accommodation, it’s definitely worth the price of ¥41,000 for the very personalized service we received throughout our stay.

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