27.9.10

Japan Honeymoon: Relaxing in Hakone

[All smiles at our kaiseki dinner at Setsugetsuka]

After four days in Tokyo, I was ready to get out of the city. The funny thing is that I grew up in a rural town always yearning for "anywhere but here". I always wanted to leave and would drive my puttering mint green Honda hatchback (r.i.p.) out of town. But now that I'm older, I yearn for the country and wide open spaces.


[Top: Fisherman on Lake Ashi. Bottom: Cedar Lane]

Hakone was next on our trip, and it was beautiful. It is just about an hour outside Tokyo, clothed in cedar trees, fog, and dotted with hot springs, or onsen. We stayed at the very romantic Setsugetsuka, a ryokan, which is like a Japanese bed and breakfast. We chose it because of its onsen, its extremely close proximity to the train station (we walked maybe 50 steps and we were at the front entrance,) and the staff's ability to speak English. I'm so glad we chose it, as this was my favorite part of our honeymoon.

Upon arrival, we were pleasantly surprised that we were given a top floor room with a fantastic view. On the table, we found this card next to a pot of green tea:

["Congaldlations!! I hope you'll have a good time in Hakone, to your marriage."--not bad! I thought it was really sweet they wrote it in English. We were also assigned a special server at dinner who could speak English to us. They took one look at the way I wrote my name on the reservation card, and then looked up and said "please, right this way."]


[The view from our room's patio]


[Our patio had a small tub we could fill with bath water. There was also an outdoor shower so you could clean yourself before entering the room again.]

[We're lucky we're the size of the average Japanese person, because the tub was just big enough for the two of us!]

The ryokan also had several options to enjoy the hot springs on the grounds. There were two public bath houses, one for men and one for women, and three private onsen. We tried one of the private onsen, and I was surprised by how hot the water was. I had read about it beforehand, but I wasn't really prepared by how difficult it was for me to soak--this water was HOT.

Nevertheless, it was quite beautiful to be soaking in the tub, surrounded by trees, underneath a bed of stars with only the sound of crickets in the background.

Some onsen guidelines:
+The hot springs are not meant to be for cleaning, therefore bathers should shower and be clean before entering.
+Bathing suits are generally not allowed, so strip down!
+Like I said, it's HOT! To help transition your body, pour some of the water on yourself before very slowly entering.
+Lie back and relax.


[Little baskets with towels and socks for any onsen excursions]

[Each private onsen had a lock, and once one was occupied, a little light would go in the corresponding bird house.]

[The private onsen we soaked in was surrounded by cedar trees and had a small changing area with a table and hooks. There was also a wooden bench for resting.]


[Our stay included a kaiseki dinner at night, and this gargantuan breakfast in the morning, so not only were we super clean from all the bathing, we were also properly fed!]

[The grounds also had these two rabbits. I don't know what the sign says (anyone read Japanese?) but this is a popular honeymoon resort so my guess is that they symbolize good fortune for baby making, seeing as how they are rabbits and all.]

Hakone and Setsugetsuka exceeded my expectations and I was sad to leave. If you're planning your honeymoon to Japan, you must come here. Please say hi to the bunnies for me.
Moo

16 comments:

honey my heart said...

hakone looks like such a peaceful retreat :)

MayLove said...

What a beautiful and romantic place to honeymoon! great choice!

buhdoop said...

Oh my goodness, that looks so peaceful and BEAUTIFUL.

D. Marie said...

What a beautiful place for a honeymoon. It seems like a wonderful place to get to know each other as a married couple and just enjoy the time you have together. I love that you share this with us because when I think of Japan I think of the fast cities and the very tall skyscrapers! I think my husband and I would enjoy a place like this! ♥

Mo said...

@D. Marie: I thought the exact same thing about Japan until I did more research and read some blogs (hooray Internet!)
You should go one day, it was amazing!

Creature Gorgeous said...

Such a wonderful place to honeymoon! I've always wanted to go to Japan! Congratulations on your wedding!

Mrs. Wedding Crasher said...

Wow looks amazing!!!!!!

anko said...

WOW -- that ryokan looks amazing....making me really miss Japan and the onsens!!

Translation of the bunny signs:
Left: Yuki-chan (name), there's a lot of white fur, so my name is Yuki (snow). I'm starting to get a little fat lately, so I've been meaning to get on a diet...

Right: Hana-chan (name); I'm mostly brown in color, but I really have a bright personality. But I'm a little shy though, so sorry if I have my butt faced to you.

:D :D

The Less Than Domestic Goddess said...

Wow, amazing re-cap! Everything looks so tranquil and beautiful. I'm glad you guys had a wonderful honeymoon :)

Mo said...

@anko: Thank you for the translation!!!
And Hana DID have its butt facing us.
They were pretty cute and cuddly distractions on our way to the onsen. :)

Mo said...

@The Less than Domestic Goddess: Thank you Carly, and thank you again for consulting L's colleagues about the time of year. We survived the heat and humidity! Luckily Hakone was very mild and cool.

My Owl Barn said...

Looks like a beautiful place for a honeymoon!

The Professional Bridesmaid said...

I'm THIS close to booking right now! Your photos are amazing...so tranquil and peaceful. I'm a huge hot springs fan so this looks like paradise to me.

Mo said...

@The Professional Bridesmaid: DO IT!! It was amazing and so romantic.

Kristin - Mrs. Glasses said...

I know this is an old blog post but it caught my eye in the "My Favorite Posts" section. Hakone is one of my favorite places outside of Tokyo. The ryokan you stayed at was very, very beautiful! I've never stayed in a ryokan so nice. Beautiful pictures, sounds like you had a very well-rounded Hakone experience!

P.S. The bunny sign is explaining the temperament of the bunnies, "Yuki" and "Hana" :)

j said...

Hi,
thanks for the post :) May I know which room did you book? Is it with the open bath or without? Which website did you book from?

Thank you :)

Blissful marraige :)

http://www.japanican.com/hotels/shisetsudetail.aspx?st=4311033

- Jenny

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