One of the oldest resort hotels in Japan, The Fujiya Hotel in Miyanoshita, Hakone is a treasure. First opened in 1891, the Fujiya was Japan’s first ‘Western style’ hotel. In its heyday, this was ‘the’ place to stay. General McArthur, Charlie Chaplin, and Helen Keller are just a few famous visitors to the hotel. There are many things to like about the Fujiya, but the top three are:
1) Atmosphere – how often do you get to explore, and then stay in, a hotel over 100 years old?
2) Service – it is absolutely fantastic.
3) Amenities – even if you don’t see anything else in Hakone, the Fujiya will keep you occupied.
Fujiya Hotel accommodates a maximum of 300 guests in 146 western style guest rooms in 5 different hotel buildings: Main Building (1891), Comfy Lodge (1906), Restful Cottage (1906), Flower Palace (1936) and Forest Lodge(1960); and in 3 Japanese rooms at Kikka-so Inn, a former imperial villa (1895). The Fujiya’s Restaurant House (1930) and all of the buildings mentioned above (except the Forest Lodge) have been designated ‘Cultural Assets’ by Japan’s Cultural Properties Protection Commission.
The Fujiya Hotel is a vast complex. Hidden within are two small ‘shopping salons’, a hotel museum, chapel, indoor hot springs swimming pool, hot springs bath, relaxation corner, tea lounge overlooking the garden, banquet room, party room, the bar ‘Victoria’, an outdoor pool (open only in summer), traditional Japanese garden, and a green house. They also have their own bakery shop, ‘Picot’, just in front of the hotel.
Having lunch or dinner in the main ‘Fujiya’ dining room is an experience, but a costly one (4500 for lunch, from 11,550 for dinner – no drinks included). If you have the money to spend, I recommend it. I especially like that everyone dresses up for the traditional French cuisine dinner!
I would also recommend having some tea in the lounge, or just hang out in the lobby and watch the parade of guests. Live piano often sets the tone. The bar ‘Victoria’ also occasionally has live music performances. This is a REAL bar, not to be missed! For the best deal, hit their happy hour from 5 to 7 pm, where drinks are 20% off and there in no cover charge. Normally the cover charge is 525 per person. When I was there, they were running an interesting special. It was called ‘Cocktail Paradise’ and it was all you can drink + snack foods + no service charge, for two people – 7,777 yen. Not bad if you consider that most drinks are about 1000 yen.
In the summer months there is also an outdoor bar during the daytime. It is ‘Tiki’ style and occasionally you might witness a wedding pass by as you enjoy your drinks!
One of my favorite things to do in the Fujiya is swim. The indoor pool is fed by natural hot springs and is open from 9am to 9pm. Don’t forget your swimsuit, though, or you’ll have to rent one that resembles what your grandmother used to wear. You’ll need a swimming cap as well (they can also be rented). The outdoor pool is also great, but the water is really cold. It has to be a really hot summer day in order to enjoy it.
In the ‘relaxation corner, sign up for a foot therapy massage (1,050 per 10 minutes). Regular massages are also available (40 minutes for 4,200 yen, 4 pm to 11:20 pm). For families or couples who want to enjoy a naked hot springs bath together, the ‘Mermaid Bath’ can be rented. The cost is 2,100 yen for 45 minutes.
You can make a regular reservation at the Fujiya, or there are a number of plans to choose from. The best value is the ‘129 Year’ Anniversary Plan. It is only available to holders of foreign passports and is 129 US dollars + 10% service charge, for a twin room (1 or 2 people), no meals included. This plan is not available from August 5 to August 25, or over the New Year’s holidays. For a Saturday night stay, add $50.
There is a ‘Basic Plan’ that includes breakfast that is also reasonable. From 10,700 yen per person, based on double occupancy. Saturdays are from 14,900 yen. All rooms are spacious and full of character, and the water for your private bathtub is also from a hot spring.
Check their website for details, in English:
The Fujiya Hotel
Kanagawa-ken, Ashigarashimo-gun, Hakone-machi, Miyanoshita 359 250-0404
0460-82-2211 *There is English speaking staff, so English phone inquiries are not a problem.