Founded in 1662 and depicted in Hiroshige Utagawa’s ukiyo-e(woodblock prints), the Matsuzakaya Honten has been in business as a onsen resort for over 360 years since the Edo period. Since its establishment, it has been visited by many people, including members of the Japanese imperial family.
I reserved the luxury room in the ryokan, Senshintei, ¥91,476/night for 2pax from the official website. However, making reservations through the official website was troublesome because only Japanese is displayed. There is no English language representation, so you will probably need the help of a Japanese speaker.
We took the train and bus from Hakone-Yumoto station to the ryokan. The ryokan does not provide transportation, so you will basically have to take a cab or bus to get there from Hakone-Yumoto Station.
A three-minute walk from the bus stop brings you to the parking lot of the ryokan. When we arrived at this parking lot, the hotel staff came to us and greeted us politely before carrying our luggage.
The entrance to the ryokan was hung with wood carvings and tatami mats on the floor, which were beautifully decorated with ikebana.
Before check-in, we were given a welcome drink and Japanese sweets.
Check-in procedures take place in the Western-style lounge with a lovely chandelier on the ceiling.
Luxury Room Senshintei
The luxury room called “Senshintei” was built in 1887 and is where Emperor Taisho rested. The tea room, bedroom, and living room together cover an area of 75.4 square meters, making it a spacious and comfortable place.
The first thing you see when you enter the room is a tea room, but it does not seem to be used as a tea room now.
The hallway to the living room has chairs and tables for relaxing, and from there, the view of the stunning Japanese garden is sure to soothe your soul. During my stay, I sat in these chairs and looked out all the time without worrying about the time.
The floor-to-ceiling windows in the hallway allow you to go outside and listen to the birds singing close by, and the garden tinted with autumn leaves still leaves a strong impression on me!
Finally, we found a large living room and a bedroom in the back. Each room can be closed with sliding doors so they don’t get cold at night. In the bedroom, there was no bed, but a mattress and futon(Japanese mattress) layered on top of the tatami mats, which was amazingly thick and comfortable to sleep on.
There are yukata provided in the closet, so you can wear them to preserve your memories of the ryokan. Unlike bathrobes, you can wear a yukata to dinner, to the onsen, or even for a walk outside.
Tea and capsule coffee are available on the cabinet.
Beer and soft drinks are complimentary.
Now let’s take a look at the bathroom. The vanity is modern in design, and the shower and bathtub are located outdoors.
The bathtub is made of stone, from which we could see the view of the Japanese garden, but be careful when getting into the tub because it is hot. If it is too hot, do not worry, you can add water to cool the water temperature.
Toothbrushes, shaving kit, hair brush, vanity kit, relax pad(I’m not sure, but something to use for feet) and shower cap were provided. And also, there were so many types of lotion that I did not know what to use where on my body.
Probably an umbrella to wear on your head when it rains.
In the lounge, coffee, tea, juice, as well as beer, shochu, wine, and sake were available from 7:30 to 22:00. Of course, those drinks were provided free of charge, but no snacks or food. This lounge may be a unique feature of this ryokan, as it is not common to see ryokans with lounges like this.
This room used to be a bar, but is now a lounge with a view of the green Japanese garden in front of it. Also, the design of this room is so unique with its blend of Japanese and Western styles that you will always want to be in this room.
There are 5 private outdoor onsen and you can reserve a time at the reception desk. They did not seem particularly crowded, so I was able to book any time I wanted.
I have been to the onsen twice, once at night and once in the morning, and both were wonderful experiences. The view and design of the onsen do not change much, but you can change how you use the onsen depending on the time of day, at night to warm up your body and relax, and in the morning to wake up from sleep.
In the playroom, you can play with old Japanese toys such as Kendama, Shogi(Japanese chess game), and Origami. I played with kendama a few times, but it was too difficult for me to keep the ball balanced on the cup.
There was a gift store, especially with a wide variety of Japanese sweets.
Dinner is included in this room package and we will have dinner in the restaurant “en” instead of room. Kaiseki cuisine is our dinner course menu.
Matsuzakaya Syukuba Kaiseki Dinner menu list that included 9 dinner courses.
Start from appetizer that comes different kinds of small plates and bowls that contain different kind healthy dishes that tastes unique and delicious!
Second dish will be the pumpkin soup with turnip and duck meat ball tastes creamy and rich pumpkin flavour with the sweetness of turnip and meat soup.
Three kinds of sashimi with tofu skin then a small bowl of tuna sashimi with seaweed, seasonal vegetables and miso sauce are served then we really enjoy the sashimi flavour due to freshness and no fishy taste at all!
Baked egg served in small claypot with shrimp and lily root that the egg taste slightly dry and not really fascinating.
Grilled conger eel and taro with dengaku miso together and we can only taste the miso sauce but the original taste of the eel and taro totally get covered by the miso.
Steamed and grilled turban shell with mushroom and this is our first time to eat this. The turban meat slightly hard and soft in the inside and actually quite good!
Wagyu beef is grilled on a ceramic plate and served with vegetables. The taste of the Wagyu beef was enhanced when eaten with two different sauces, ponzu and yuzu kosho (Japanese pepper).
Japanese mixed rice with salmon and ginger served with ikura and seaweed soup and pickles, perfect for the last main course! I really love the ikura as it bursts in your mouth.
2 pieces of peach and grape with sweet cheese paste and homemade chestnut & matcha jelly that taste really fresh and sweet! The jelly colour might looks not appetizing but it tastes really soft and rich matcha chestnut flavour!
Breakfast was served in a private room in the same restaurant as yesterday’s dinner. It was too dark at night to see the view outside, but in the morning when I opened the window, there was a nice view of the trees with autumn leaves in front of us.
As you can see from the menu, there are going to be many dishes served in the morning.
Unlike hotel buffets, ryokans offer only Japanese food choices. However, the many well-balanced small dishes are sure to satisfy you, and the taste is excellent.
Japanese grilled fish may be a little salty, but I like it a little salty.
It’s nice to end a Japanese breakfast with a simple dessert, homemade milk jelly. I like it!!
|Value for Money||8.5/10|