For travelers to Hakone who want a truly Japanese experience, but who also want to be taken care of by a very foreigner-friendly staff, the Mount View Hakone is a perfect accommodation choice.
This privately owned ryokan-hotel is located in the beautiful Sengokuhara area of Hakone, a large grassy plateau that was once a water-filled caldera. It can be easily reached by car or by bus. Many sightseeing spots are nearby, including the famous Hakone Garasu-no-mori (Glass Forest Museum), which is five minutes by car or fifteen minutes on foot. It is also only a five minute walk to either the Hakone Lalique Museum or Little Prince Museum.
We traveled by car and were greeted in the parking lot. The front desk spoke to us in English, and other guests were being taken care of in Chinese. Hotel staff that can speak these languages are onsite from 8:30am to 9:00pm.
The ryokan-hotel is decorated in a modern Japanese style and has three floors with 33 rooms; singles, Japanese-style twins with toilets and shared bath, superior twin rooms, and one special deluxe twin. We stayed in the deluxe twin, and were very impressed. The suite contained a traditional tatami area, a separate room with raised twin futon beds, and an amazing private hot spring bath.
It is not necessary, however, to splurge on the special twin rooms. Even without a private in-room bath, all guests have great bathing options to choose from. There are lovely indoor and outdoor segregated onsen, and three private open-air baths that can be 'rented' for only ¥2,000-3000 per 45 minute visit. All are filled with volcanic hot spring water, called 'Nigori-yu', which is great for your skin (and a variety of ailments), as it is full of sulfur, iron, and other minerals.
All rooms have tatami floors, traditional futon beds, TV, safe, toilet, washstand, and yukata robes that can be worn anywhere on the property. The Japanese meals are especially impressive, featuring local and seasonal ingredients. The Mount View Hakone even offers a special vegetarian package, which is well publicised on their website. The lobby area contains a small shop selling local products, a lounge, and a recreation room containing a ping pong table. Reasonable massage and aromatherapy treatments are available.
For those traveling by mass transportation, there is a highway bus that travels from Shinjuku directly to Hakone that stops in front of the hotel. The bus stop name is 'Sengokuhara Bunka Center Mae'. Anyone purchasing the 'Hakone Free Pass' can use the local bus system to reach the hotel. These buses depart from Odawara and Hakone Yumoto Stations.
It is important to note that the hotel does not accept credit cards, guests are expected to pay in cash upon arrival.