Staying at the Hakone Manor. Most people decide to stay in the main town of Hakone, which is in close proximity to trains, buses, and tourist sights / shops. However, another option is to venture out a little more to Gora, which is where we stayed for a night.
In Gora, we stayed at a place called Hakone Bettei Koyoi, which was often called the Hakone Manor depending on what website you booked the hotel from. We searched across expedia, agoda and booking.com and noticed the variety. The actual name of the place when you walk inside is called Hakone Manor though, confusing.
Gora is a 40 minute train ride from Hakone Yumoto on the Hakone Tozan railway. Its an old rickety train that has to pull in and out of stops while the opposite trains go by (single line both directions). You can grab this train from Hakone Yumoto easily after hopping out there from the Romancecar or other train service from Shinjuku.
If you’ve read my other posts, you’ve been warned that the walk uphill to the hotel is pretty devastating. If you are packing light then it works, otherwise you will need to drag up your heavy luggages up a super steep hill.
Its a 10 minute walk to the Hakone Manor, depending on how well you can walk up hills. The hotel looks as described, like a manor. There are two large doors out front that lead you to the entrace of the hotel. When you are inside, you do not need to take your shoes off (pro tip).
Inside the Hakone Manor
Inside, one of the staff will greet you at the door. After confirming your reservation, they will take you to the dining area to talk through the various options for the day/night. These include:
- Picking a time for the breakfast (if included in your booking – highly recommended. Gora isnt the kind of place where you can walk outside and get a feed right away)
- Picking a time for either the stone bath, or the onsen. We picked the stone bath which I’ll describe below.
- Running through the guest facilities and local surroundings. They warn you that things close early and that its more of an early night type of place.
- Picking a time for dinner. We didn’t go with this option because it was quite expensive.
After this, we walked through the main reception area and the staff member showed us the drinks/snacks area as mentioned earlier. Its nothing special, just some chairs and tables with snacks that you can purchase. However, there is complementary Japanese sake that you can drink all you like.
We were then given a room tour to show us the facilities inside before being left to ourselves. The room itself was very nice, with everything we needed including a capsule coffee machine (Lavazza), kettle and green tea, some complementary sweets from the area and more importantly, a TV! The room is very spacious, which may be a nice change if you’ve been crashing in Tokyo for the most part. There’s plenty of room storage around, just in case you decided to drag everything with you.
The beds are a mix of a futon and a western style mattress. Again, quite comfortable if you’ve been staying in budget Tokyo accommodation where the beds can be rock hard, and the pillows without much substance inside.
The views are unobstructed, as there’s nothing outside besides trees! The seating and the view is perfect in the morning with a cup of coffee or tea.
Note – If it wasn’t made obvious on the booking websites (we didn’t know either!), there is no shower in this room. The showers are located in the basement floors and are the public traditional type. If you are going during a quiet season, I recommend bathing in the morning when there are actually people around. Bathing at night alone is quite freaky, more so when its in such a quiet hotel and neighbourhood!
We went for the hot stone bath, thinking that it would be an onsen with large rocks, similar to what we had in Hakone Yuryo. However, when we got there, it was just a bed of hot rocks/stones under a bath towel that you get to lie on. Nothing great here, but I guess its a nice freebie and something to do while there. This was probably a case of lost in translation, so i’d go with the bath option instead!
Best part of this stay? Definitely the breakfast, which was almost worth the trip out here alone. To really blend in, wear the complementary yukata and sandals that you receive from the staff when you first enter your room.
The staff seat you at a specific table that has been prepared for you. The time you picked for breakfast is important, because the rice will be ready at that exact time you arrive. To the best of my knowledge, the meal consisted of:
- A mix of pickles, with the Plum being the specialty of the area. Notice the cucumber shaped frog in the middle of the 3×3 tray?
- Miso soup
- Cod and another type of fish.
- A salad
Because the rice is being cooked on a stonepot, you get these nice crusty burnt bits at the bottom, which are delicious with the pickles and eggs. You can have the eggs raw, or they can fry then for you if you like. We had them fried, and again, with rice, its super yum! (south east asian thing).
Hotel details below. Should you want to make a reservation for this hotel, please use my Agoda referral link 🙂
Hakone Bettei Koyoi
1300-658, Hakone, Ashigarashimo District, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan
My Agoda Referral Link