Tokyo Day 4: Hakone Onsen & Gora Kadan Ryokan

Day 4 of the Tokyo trip began off with a very serious hangover.  You can’t drink that much sake and not pay the price.  So I was pleased that our plans were very low key.  Hop on a train to Hakone and soak in the hot springs.  Mother Nature decided on rain that day to boot.  So chilling on a train taking in the scenery versus juggling an umbrella and shopping bags worked out grand.

We took the subway from Ebisu to Shinjuku.  While many had suggested a 3 train journey to our destination, Asumi knew best.  If you are willing to add a little extra time to your adventure, it is a much nicer route (and 1 less train connection) taking the Romance Car to the Switchback train headed towards Gora.

The Romance Car was simple enough.  Big train at a big station.  We reserved seats at the counter in the station and were off.

tokyo express romance car

The second leg of the ride was the best part.  We were on the Hakone Tozan “switchback” train which zig-zags its way up the side of the mountains.  It is one of the oldest trains and the driver and conductor change shifts as the train reverses its travel direction, slowly making its way upwards.

hakone tozan switchback mountain train

odakyu hakone switchback-train

Gora Kadan

In just under 2 hours we arrived at our destination, the ryokan Gora Kadan.  I can’t even believe that we debated adding this to our trip plans.  I think everyone needs to experience the beauty and tranquility of a traditional Japanese inn.  The proprietress, Miwako Fujimoto, heads a first class establishment that is the former summer villa of a member of the Imperial family.  We were also now in the care and service of Taka-san, our personal attendant, who was very attentive and pretty much adorable.

gora kadan proprietress miwako fujimoto

After a quick stop to the main building to check in, Taka showed us to our suite.  Some girls plan their dream wedding and honeymoon.  Not me, don’t need it.  However, I have long dreamed about Japan.  So we spared no expense on certain activities of the trip; this being one of them.  We booked the annex suite “Kokou” and will never regret it.

Stay tuned for the next post to see a tour of the Gora Kadan ryokan suite.