After spending a few days in Tokyo, we hopped on the Shinkasen and headed south to Hakone. Many people opt to take a day trip from Tokyo to Hakone as you can easily catch a glimpse of Mount Fuji and then head back to the big city. We decided to make a stop on on our way down to Kyoto, and spent the night at the Hyatt Regency Hakone Resort & Spa.
On this trip, we stayed at several Hyatt properties (three others including the Park Hyatt Tokyo, Andaz Tokyo and the Hyatt Regency in Kyoto) and this was one of my favorites. Even though it was a Regency, it felt super luxe and the Onsen (Japanese bath) was so serene. The entire hotel felt spa-like and calm.
We also had one of our best meals during happy hour sitting by the fire. I’ll forever think about that beef wagyu.
Since this was our first trip on the Shinkasen (Japan’s high-speed train), it was a long day of travel. The train system in Japan is really easy to use and we were amazed at how everything runs on time. The process was so streamlined, and I enjoyed that way more than I anticipated. When everything runs on a schedule, it really diminishes any travel-related stress.
We arrived at the Hakone station after dark and there were no cabs waiting. There was supposedly a shuttle from the hotel, but after waiting for a little while, we decided to call the hotel who sent a car to come and pick us up. From the first interaction with the hotel, we were really satisfied with the level of customer service. Everyone in Japan was so accommodating — especially when it came to anything for the baby — but this hotel really went above and beyond making sure that we were comfortable and happy.
If I am being honest, a big draw of stopping in Hakone was the ropeway. Matt had been eyeing it for awhile (he loves funiculars and anything of that sort) and he was so excited. Once we arrived in Hakone, it seemed that the ropeway was closed for renovations. Matt was pretty bummed, especially since it meant that we couldn’t do the full loop, but instead would have to retrace our steps to get back to the hotel. The full loop entails taking a boat, the ropeway, and then a cable car back down.
We decided to make the best of it, and we hopped on a bus to take us to the pirate boat, which was essentially just a big boat. It was so fun to be on Lake Ashinoko and see Mount Fuji peeking out. Once we arrived at the ropeway, we realized that it in fact was open! Matt was so happy. I was, too, as it was such a special way to see Mount Fuji. Taking the ropeway reminded me of our time in Tahoe. I love seeing things from above, and it’s so nice when you don’t have loud noises. Once we reached the end of the ropeway (30 minutes), we jumped off to take in views of the active, sulfuric hot springs and to try the famous black eggs.
It was such a wonderful experience being able to see Mount Fuji. After spending some time at the hot springs, we hopped onto the cable car to head back to the hotel. While we were in Japan, Matt and I got in the habit of taking a daily bath in the Onsen. It was such a nice ritual, and I really looked forward to it each day. After spending the day doing the loop, it was so nice to warm up with a nice bath.
The next day, we left the hotel to head further south to Kyoto. Our hotel was so awesome, and they recommended that we leave from a different train station to make the trip faster for us. They have an employee shuttle that takes employees to the train each day. They offered us a ride in the employee shuttle — for free! — it was amazing. This is just one of many examples of how the hotel staff went above and beyond to make our stay relaxing and easy.
I also can’t believe how small Milo looks in these photos. We were just in Japan a few months ago, but in the life of a baby, a few months makes such a difference!