Even if you are not planning to take a long, hot spring bath in Hakone, having a nice cold beer while enjoying a leisurely footbath is an excellent alternative. Take off your shoes and free your spirit from all its worries and tensions! Ahhhh.
The cafe is just in front of the Miyanoshita Station on the Hakone Tozan Testudo Line. They serve snacks, coffee, soft drinks, beer, wine and sweets. Because the building stands on a slope, their second floor gallery is on the same level as the road. To place your order, please go down the steps inside the gallery, or down the slope and circle in to your right through the footbath area. The café is self-service. Choose a table and bring your drink to it by yourself. After you finish, don’t forget to bring back your glass and dish to the counter, please. There are a few types of tables available. The cliff-side terrace seats offer a nice mountain view. Other choices are the inside tables, outdoor footbath tables, and the gallery floor tables.
The footbath is free. Basically they are at shared tables, so might have a chance to make some friends! Floor cushions and lap blankets are provided, but not towels. If you need, you can buy one for 250 yen. Everyone here is (understandably) relaxed and friendly.
Upstairs, besides the gallery space, there is a small library corner. Books about Hakone, hot springs, old Japanese houses and some travel guides are there to enjoy. It’s fun to look at photos of old Hakone.
History of Naraya
Naraya was the name of a famous inn established around 1700. High-level samurai stayed at Naraya in the Edo era, and after Japan opened her doors to the rest of the world, a lot of foreign tourists visited and stayed at Naraya too. In those days, the Fujiya Hotel and Naraya were both popular inns for foreigners at Miyanoshita, and they were strong rivals. Naraya was a pure Japanese style inn, whereas Fujiya consisted of Western-Japanese style buildings. But finally they reached an agreement between themselves; Naraya would be for Japanese guests only, and Fujiya was exclusively for foreigners.
Unfortunately, Naraya had to close its doors in 2001 due to financial problems caused by inheritance tax. Naraya Café opened in 2007. The owner-couple of Naraya café renovated the old house by themselves. They are now planning to open a guesthouse here, too.
Taking a footbath is an enjoyable treatment for body AND soul. Please enjoy one at Naraya Café, Miyanoshita.
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Japan is a small island nation, but we have a huge number of surprising things to discover here. Many of these delights can be found when you step off the main street onto small side paths. I really enjoy studying about and researching various aspects of traditional Japanese culture, and then sharing this information with visitors to Japan. I hope you will enjoy it, too! ARTICLE INDEX & PHOTOS: An index of most of my Japan Travel articles can be found at the entry page of my blog, and my photos are shown here. 日本はとても小さな国ですが、大通りから一本小道に入ればたくさんの発見があります。日本人が積み重ねてきた歴史を学びながら、古い建物や庭を訪ね、物語の舞台となった景色を眺めて、皆様といっしょに日本文化の奥深さを探求していきたいと思います。