There are so many hotels and inns in the Hakone resort area that you might have trouble deciding where to stay. Yes, everyone has the same problem! If you are the type of person who likes to keep things simple, “The Prince Hakone” is your hotel. Using only a few modes of transportation, you can do many things from here.
Lots of Advantages
If you go to Hakone by the Bullet Train (Tokaido Shinkansen), Odawara is the stop you get off at. The hotel has a free transfer service for their lodgers from JR Odawara station directly to the hotel (11:00AM, 2:00PM, 4:00PM). You can reserve a seat on this bus when you reserve a room.
There are many ways to enjoy Hakone. But the three places I prefer and recommend are: Ashino-ko Lake, Mt. Komagatake, and Hakone-jinja Shrine. For easy access to them, this hotel is the best place to stay. You can go to all three of them QUITE easily from here.
Ashino-ko Lake sits just in front of the hotel. You can enjoy taking a short walk along the shore, or do some real trekking. In the morning the surface of the lake is calm and clear. It’s almost like a mirror! You’ll be impressed seeing the mirror image of the mountains reflecting on the water. The lake at dusk is even more beautiful. The head of Mt. Fuji is rimmed with brilliant orange, and in combination with surrounding clouds makes for stunning art. There is a dock for a pleasure boat near the hotel. This entire area is called Hakone-en. You can make a round trip of the lake or get off at another area of the lake and come back to the hotel by bus.
Mt. Komagatake is a holy mountain enshrined with nature Gods. You can get there by ropeway near the hotel.
Hakone-jinja Shrine is about 20 minutes walk from the hotel. The shrine was established about 1200 years ago. Rows of incredibly old and tall cedar trees lead you into ancient Japan, and you will feel the spirit of nature as well. If you want to go by bus, catch it at Hakone-en and get off at Yama-no-Hotel. It is 5 minutes on foot from that bus stop.
Nice view from rooms
Most of the guest rooms face Ashino-ko Lake, which is surrounded by a lot of trees and nature. The hotel also has rooms with garden views and Mt. Fuji views. Both of these views also include plenty of green throughout the year. There is a set of small table and chairs on the veranda of each room, so you can breathe super fresh air any time you want. The average size of the guest rooms is 38 square meters. You can enjoy music using a CD player that comes with the room.
Variety of activities
Basically the hotel is in a developed area called Hakone-en, but still you can enjoy nature. In addition to the lake, mountain and shrine I mentioned above, the hotel also features or is near a golf course, aquarium, a kids’ room, tennis courts, walking trails, many shops, a spa, and restaurants and cafes. You can easily stay here for a few days without becoming bored.
Excellent hot spring bath
As well as at other hotels in Hakone, the water and hot spring bath at this hotel is really nice. There are several kinds of baths inside, and a big one outside. The water in Hakone varies from place to place. They used to say that Hakone had 7 kinds of healing waters, but now they say there are 11 kinds. Each provides its own effects and cures for your body. Nerve and joint pains will feel relief from the water here.
There are two high-grade restaurants in this hotel. One is a French restaurant, le Trianon, and the other is an authentic Japanese restaurant, Nadaman Garden. Both serve great dishes that will leave you feeling completely satisfied.
To tell the truth, Hakone has been so popular for such a long period that there are almost no undeveloped areas remaining here. In particular, the lakeside and Owakudani-Valley are always crowded and busy. If you really want to touch pure nature here in Japan, it would be best to choose someplace else!
One other point: Everything in Hakone is expensive!
The Prince Hakone is convenient, reasonable, relaxing and a bit luxurious. Please add this hotel to your list of places to enjoy during your travels in Japan.