Hakone is a part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park in Kanagawa Prefecture. It is a mountainous area to the west of Tokyo and is a halfway point before Kyoto. Famous for its hot springs and the view it offers of Lake Ashi and Mount Fuji, Hakone is one of the most popular destinations for travelers as a hot spring resort for hundreds of years up to this day, with its 17 hot spring resort towns–one of which is Gora, on the mountainside on Mount Kamiyama, the highest peak in Hakone. 

Gora Park - Hakone, Kanagawa, Japan.

Gora Park – Hakone, Kanagawa, Japan.

Gora Onsen, developed from a grassland in 1918, sits at a central location in Hakone. Since then, the town has prospered and restaurants, shops, and many traditional and modern ryokan have appeared. Gora hotels and resorts are popular among visitors, and have had Western influence in the interiors and architecture. Gora Onsen is famous for the five different kinds of water sources, all of which have taken on pastel hues. Hence, the town is also known as the pastel-colored onsen. These waters are known to have various positive effects on the body.

Most people who have read the “The Little Prince” in their younger years can revisit the memory in The Little Prince Museum, where visitors can learn more about the author and the book while surrounded by French architecture. Another popular spot is Owakudani, where travelers can visit the smoky valley and try a famous delicacy–black eggs cooked in the sulfuric hot spring waters, which are said to extend one’s lifespan by 7 years. Another iconic spot in Gora is the Hakone Shrine, where many samurai warriors used to visit and have its main buildings hidden in the forest. 

Lake_Ashi view from Togendai in Hakone Kanagawa prefecture, Japan

For a quick sightseeing tour, tourists can also ride the Tozan Train or the Hakone Ropeway that will take riders on a scenic route around the area. There are also museums worth a visit–Hakone Open Air Museum, which is designed like a park with multiple sculptures and pieces scattered around, and Pola Museum of Art, a modern building that is built to adapt to the nature around it. One can also take a stroll through the French-style gardens of Gora Park with its rose and herb gardens situated on a hill, and craft houses that offer classes like learning how to make glass. A more famous attraction among locals is the Ashinoko Warship Boat Cruise, where one can get ferried across the lake or get a tour around the area. Many of these boats are actually warships, complete with sails and cannons.

As a popular tourist destination, Hakone Gora is home to a wide variety of accommodations from luxury to budget-friendly and a mix of traditional and modern. The numerous ryokan in the village pays appropriate tribute to traditional Japanese culture as well as the onsen-ryokan practices in the area. Local and international tourists come back to visit the area year after year to be able to indulge themselves in the spirit of Japan.

Tokinoyu Setsugesuka is a traditional Japanese inn that features a modern take on traditional elements in its interiors with tatami mats flooring, or wood and low furniture with sleek designs. Some rooms will have their own open-air baths as well. Along with the private use baths, the property also features two communal baths with waters sourced from different hot springs. Another luxury ryokan is Gora Hanaougi, a  Japanese-style accommodation that features guest rooms with their own private open-air bath that offers a view of Gairin Mountain and the surrounding woodland. Here, guests will be able to enjoy a traditional kaiseki meal in the privacy of their own dining room. A sister property, Gora Hanaougi Madokanomori is an executive luxury ryokan with unique traditional Japanese-style rooms with their private dining area for guests to enjoy their multi-course meals and individual open-air baths. There are also large public baths –an indoor bath with wide windows looking into the forest, and an outdoor bath surrounded by the Japanese garden.  Another ryokan or traditional inn in Wa no Yado Hanagokoro. The eight-room inn provides individual hot-spring baths for its guests along with a wide view of the natural landscape. It has a large communal bath as well that’s open to overnight and one-day guests, and a restaurant to dine in should they prefer not to use the in-room dining option.

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Shirayu no Yado Yamadaya is a traditional Japanese inn located in Gora Hakone in Kanagawa Prefecture. The inn features 15 Japanese-style rooms fitted with tatami mat flooring and futon beds and a sitting area with low furniture with windows looking out into the mountainside.  Some rooms have their own hot-spring baths, while separate private baths are also available for reservation, from indoor to open air, as well as a large communal open-air bath. Yamadaya also has a restaurant that offers seasonal dishes that guests may enjoy in the serenity of their rooms or in the guest dining room.

There is also a perennial ryokan, Gora Kadan Hakone, that is tucked in the mountainside of Hakone. In the present day, it is part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. Its past served as a weekend cottage, both owned and a favorite of the Kaninnomiya Family in Gora Village. In the 1950s, Gora Kadan was introduced as an inn and has since evolved its design from classic Japanese to incorporating modern elements. Gora Kadan Hakone features en-suite open-air baths overlooking the traditional Japanese gardens. The inn also has a large communal bath, and a spa facility. An outdoor pool is also available for the leisure of its visitors.

Travelers, local and international alike, enjoy the scenic mountainside of Gora Onsen, especially in the spring when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom while soaking in any of their choice baths. It’s a perfect end to a day of sightseeing around Hakone or hiking along Lake Ashi and Mount Kamiyama. Gora Onsen in Hakone can be accessed through the Hakone Tozan Train.

Hakone Gora Onsen Video

Hakone Gora Onsen Location

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