Surrounded by the beautiful mountains of Hakone, Yama No Chaya has been a local favorite for over 50 years, offering a respite from the Tokyo heat and enjoy the autumn leaves in the fall. In a rustic, homey atmosphere, guests can enjoy hot springs drawn from its own hot spring and delicious cuisine.
I reserved the largest room in the ryokan, Special Room Asebi, ¥117,560/night for 2pax from the hotel’s official website. This room is especially popular, and the current reservation status shows that the rooms are almost fully booked for the next month, so I was lucky to reserve this room during my stay in Japan.
Since the Yama No Chaya was close to the Tonosawa station, we decided to walk from the station that day, but this was the wrong call. The road from the station to the ryokan is a bit bumpy and dangerous as you have to walk alongside a heavy traffic road. I recommend taking a cab from Hakone-Yumoto station to the ryokan, and the fare is about ¥800, so it does not cost that much.
The entrance to the ryokan is at the top of a hill, with a wooden water wheel and shishi odoshi(water-filled bamboo tube which clacks against a stone when emptied) at the entrance, reminding us that we are now going to stay in a Japanese ryokan, not a hotel!
Even after entering the ryokan, there are many stairs and no lift, so I don’t recommend this ryokan for those who have physical disability.
While we were relaxing in the lobby with a cup of tea, our room was ready, so we finally headed to our room.
Special Room Asebi
The rooms are on three floors, the lower floor is the entrance to the rooms, the middle floor is the main room with a Japanese-style living room, bedroom and bathroom, and the upper floor is the observation floor. 100 square meters on three floors combined.
Elaborately designed 10-mat Japanese-style room on the middle floor.
The bedrooms were small but beautifully lit and relaxing to sleep in!
There is a relaxing chair at the back of the Japanese-style room from which you can overlook the view.
The room has a balcony with a footbath there, always moderately warm, soaking my feet and looking at the view from there made me want to sleep right away.
Bathrooms are of traditional Japanese design with separate toilets, showers, and bathtubs.
A fresh breeze blew through the private Japanese cypress open-air bath, and I was so relaxed that I forgot about the time!
And there’s a shower room outside also. It may be cold in winter, but soaking in a onsen to warm up your body will be fine.
Toothbrushes, mouth wash, shaving kit, hair brush, vanity kit and body scrub towel were provided.
In addition, lotions and hair tonics for men and women are available, so there is no need to bring lotion from home!
The drinking water is only tap water, but this water is fresh because it is natural water from the mountains of Hakone.
The tea is only green tea, but the combination of that green tea and natural water from Hakone mountains has made it one of my favorite green teas I have ever had.
The observation floor on the upper floor had great views of the mountains. At the beginning of November when we stayed, there were only a few autumn leaves near the Yama No Chaya, but the area near the lake in Hakone was already in color.
The climate in Hakone is completely different between Hakone-Yumoto Station and the area near the lake, so the time of autumn leaves is also different. Even in winter, it may snow near the lake, but may not snow near Hakone-Yumoto Station.
There are four public onsen, each for men, women, or private use depending on the time of day.
Kajika is the only indoor onsen.
You can reserve a private onsen only for Keikoku, it is better to reserve a private onsen as soon as you check in because the reservations fill up really fast. I was able to reserve my private onsen from 11:00 p.m.
Or, even if we went to a public onsen, in most cases no other guests were using the onsen, so we could use the onsen almost as if it were our own private onsen.
The bar is located next to the lobby and facing the beautiful mountain!
There is also a gift shop selling yukata and other souvenirs.
Dinner is included for this room package and it served in Kaiseki style.
Appetizer starts from daikon and hotate soup (radish and scallop soup) which is refreshing and slightly sweet taste.
Second dish is homemade sesame tofu with wasabi paste that really soft and my first time to try sesame tofu.
Third dish is grilled mochi with miso paste and seaweed that need to wrap it all together and eat. Mochi normally tastes bland without any sauce but miso paste and seaweed brings out the flavour which is slightly sweet and crunchy at the same time.
Sea eel with matsutake mushroom and yuzu soup that the chef has good cutting skill on the sea eel and cook with the matsutake mushroom and yuzu fruit to make the soup taste refreshing and no fishy taste at all.
Coming to fifth dish is our all time favourite sashimi dish. Tilefish with bubble soy sauce, lime and wet seaweed for pairing with the sashimi. It tastes slightly sour and salty after put the lime juice and bubble soy sauce.
Sixth dish is half grilled of japanese spanish mackerel with ponzu sauce. It tastes really fresh and ponzu sauce makes it taste more flavourful.
We never see this kind of food arrangement and every food placed in details and apparently these are for two portions size of people so it is quite huge. Surprisingly different types of fish served in different kind of way in this food arrangement like sashimi, sushi, etc. However, the dish served in the fruit instead of using plates and dessert served together as well.
Wagyu sirloin steak is the one that we always looking forward to try as wagyu is one of the popular meats in Japan. This wagyu sirloin steak tastes really soft and it’s like going to melt into my mouth!
Grilled red bream fish and fried lotus root with lime that we need to press some lime juice on the fish. It tastes really fresh with slightly sour lime juice and crunchy lotus root make us love it!
Coming next that cold soba noodle is served with tsuyu sauce, radish and wasabi. Normally we will mix the radish and wasabi in the tsuyu sauce and dip the soba noodle that taste really satisfying.
Finally comes to dessert after so many main dishes. There two types of dessert that we have here are muscat grape custard pudding and mochi that taste quite different but we like it!
They even provide supper for us that are maki roll and inari sushi that taste good after come back from the onsen.
Breakfast is also brought to your room by a butler.
Start with salad and homemade tofu.
And chicken porridge and thick sauce.
The main breakfast arrived, and each dish was served on a small plate, allowing for a variety of tastes and dishes. Yes, everything was great!!
Dessert was pomelo and homemade milk in it, which was also good! A simple dessert is perfect, especially after eating a variety of dishes.
|Value for Money||7.5/10|