Roundtrip in Japan: Hakone & Mikawaya Ryokan - Vikingess Voyages

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Roundtrip in Japan: Hakone & Mikawaya Ryokan

Arriving in Hakone in the afternoon me and my family wanted to check out the Hakone Komagatake Ropeway, close to Lake Ashi.
We took the bus from the station Odawara, a little distance from Hakone, and since the tourist brochure told us that the ropeway was open all year from 9:10 till 16:50 we hurried over there to be certain we would make it.
But when we came to Hakone-en at a couple of minutes past 16, the ropeway was already closed for the day...In the end, this turned out to be a pricy and bitter experience; we ended up paying over 1000 yen per person by the bus just for this somewhat pointless round-trip to the lake.
Not to mention that we never got the chance to actually take the ropeway.
Hakone has another ropeway too (just called Hakone Ropeway), I guess this one might be more reliable..

Because of this ropeway-failure our mood was kind of down when we finally arrived at the traditional Japanese hotel (ryokan) where we were going to spend the night.
The bad mood did not last long though, cause upon arrival at the ryokan we was welcomed by what seemed to be most of the staff working there; they all came out to welcome us.
I had called them from the information center at Hakone-en to ask for directions, so they were already expecting us. We then received some information about the hotel and a little roundtrip too (the explanation was in Japanese because I preferred that, but the lady showing us around was fluent in English so it shouldn´t be a problem communicating for those without Japanese knowledge).
The ryokan itself was truly interesting; the architecture and the atmosphere was amazing, and the view from the hotel windows was really good as well.

Mikawaya was actually built over 120 years ago.
View from the window in our room. The trees outside are cherry trees, so I guess it must be really pretty with the sakura flowers in the springtime.

Dinner time!

Dinner was included in the hotel prize as well. Here is a picture of the sashimi we got.
Japanese style dinner!
The food was really delicious too. I can't imagine how much this meal would have cost at a normal Japanese restaurant.

We really got a lot of food.

.. Not to mention that we got dessert as well!

After dinner, our dining room was made into a bedroom.
And before getting to bed it was time to check out the onsen-baths!

My brother must have been quite tired after the long day, cause he fell asleep with his yukata still on.. Haha:)

For breakfast, we had the chance to choose between western and Japanese breakfast! Which was great, since I and my brother preferred the Japanese food and my grandmother and great-aunt longed for toast and jam. :p

Western-style breakfast (toast also included)

Breakfast with both western (on the left) and Japanese (on the right) food.

Time for a morning bath!

An old poster of Mikawaya.
Mikawaya ryokan also has some outside baths. If you for some reason don´t like to bath in public they also have some rooms with private onsen-pools though..!
But when we went there it didn´t seem to be that many people there, so most of the time I was the only one using the baths anyway! February probably isn´t the busiest time of the year, but I can imagine it will be crowded in April!!

The outside bathtub

Japanese Bathing Etiquette
If you´ve ever wondered how to take a Japanese bath properly you can check out this poster;)

In March it is time for the Japanese Doll Festival (Hinamatsuri 雛祭り), and at the ryokan they had already finished the preparations.

The entrance to Mikawaya Ryokan
Experiencing this Japanese ryokan was great, and probably one of my best experiences in Japan as a tourist so far. I have no doubt about recommending this place whatsoever.

From Hakone, we returned to Odawara Station, where we took the Shinkansen (bullet train) to Osaka.
Above: Mt. Fuji as seen from the Shinkansen train

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About Anette
Anette came to Japan as an exchange student in 2010, met the love of her life and got stuck. From her base in Tokyo she writes about her experiences as a full-time worker in Tokyo and about her travels in Japan and abroad. She's a free-spirited adventurer who enjoys both the great outdoors and her urban lifestyle.

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About Me

Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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