Hakone is a pretty easy train ride from Tokyo. It takes about 2 hours, and the seats are very comfortable. When I celebrated my sister’s 40th birthday 2 years ago, we traveled to Hakone with a few of our cousins and stayed at a ryokan that provided us a really nice experience. We decided to take Brianne and Bridgette back to that same ryokan this time so that we could share that lovely experience with them.
We checked out of Keio Plaza Hotel and left Shinjuku after a delicious udon + tempura breakfast. The train ride to Hakone was uneventful, and we were able to take a short nap in between snacks and chit chats.
Upon our arrival to Hakone, the girls were delighted to find even more snow awaiting us. It was a quick walk to the ryokan, and we quickly checked in, picked our individual yukatas, and got settled into our spacious room. The best part about staying at these ryokans is that you can just stay in your comfortable and pretty yukatas the entire time that you’re there. That’s right, no need to change out of them even when you dine at their restaurants!
Be sure to check out Bridgette’s Youtube video of our stay at Setsugetsuka here.
Mimi and I had prepped the girls a bit beforehand for their first onsen experience. They were both bewildered and terrified at the thought of having to be naked in front of other strangers. Before we actually walked into the onsen, we went over the etiquette again with the girls, just to be sure they understood the essentials….such as the importance of bathing ourselves prior to getting into the water, the importance of refraining themselves from staring at others, the importance of keeping our voices to a conversation level, etc.
In the end, the girls had a fabulous time in the onsen! Once they were inside, they quickly realized people weren’t gawking at each other’s naked bodies and felt comfortable immersing themselves into the experience. The four of us chatted quietly and alternated between the outdoor and indoor onsens.
After the incredibly relaxing experience in the onsen, we headed to dinner, still dressed in our yukatas. We were served a delicious traditional shabu-shabu meal, which also included some sushi nigiri as well. Bridgette got to try raw fish for the very first time!
We slept so well that night in our tatami beds, and awoke to this gorgeous view from our room….
We had a traditional Japanese breakfast in the restaurant and went to the onsen one last time before reluctantly packing our bags to check out. 1 night was definitely too short!
Before heading back to Tokyo, we walked to Gora Park and hung out there for a little while so the girls could play in the snow.
Stay tuned for our final day in Tokyo!