The best thing about Gosaikan Ryokan in Hakone is the view. Each of the eleven rooms has a small sunroom and balcony which look out across the mountains and down to the sea.
Of course, staying at Gosaikan, which literally means ‘five colours’, has plenty of other obvious benefits.
It’s an easy five-minute walk to Sounzan Station, which gives you access to both the cable car down to Gora and the ropeway up the mountain. Being in the middle of the two, Gosaikan is ideally located to be a base for your stay in Hakone. There is also a bus stop directly across the road if you prefer.
It’s peaceful and quiet, with literally no noise except for the cicadas in the trees around, and the occasional clucking of the chickens that scurry around the edges of the grounds.
The meals, in true ryokan style, are fabulous. Eaten in the pleasant, sunny dining room, they are colourful, elegant and too big to finish, no matter how much you want that last bite of perfectly grilled fish. Both breakfast and dinner left us pleasantly stuffed and very happy.
The water naturally flows into the bath at a scalding 51°C, which some people find relaxing, but for those like me who find it a little too much, there is also a cold tap to help you get the bath to the perfect temperature.
The rooms are spacious, with the extra sun room-type space with comfy chairs, as well as a wide entryway with a small toilet and basin. They are well-equipped with tea, cups, kettle and a couple of little treats for your tea break.
There are no shops around (that’s part of the appeal of a mountain retreat), but there is a vending machine in case you get a craving for coffee or beer.
The staff is very friendly, and more than happy to answer questions about the area, and help you plan your travels around the area.
So when you’re planning your trip to Hakone, why not stay in a sweet and sunny ryokan with amazing views over the valley below?