At a Glance
This iconic Japanese ryokan delivers a traditional yet luxurious experience.
- The location in the heart of Hakone National Park, a mountainous area known for its hot springs and views of Mount Fuji
- The beautiful, tranquil property’s taste of ancient Japan
- The natural onsen (Japanese hot spring), which is fed with mineral-rich hot water that is believed to promote good health
Located in mountainous Hakone and just a 90-minute drive from Tokyo, the esteemed Gora Kadan is the perfect spot to relax after visiting the bustling Japanese capital and before continuing to the culture-rich Kyoto. Formerly the summer retreat of the Imperial family, the traditional ryokan (Japanese inn) offers guests a taste of life in ancient Japan.
Most of Gora Kadan’s main building has been carefully restored to preserve the original details of the royal summer villa, but other parts of the property have been upgraded with modern design elements. The 39 rooms and suites are done in a minimalist style with rice-paper walls and short-legged tables and chairs but are fitted with such modern luxuries as stand-up showers, wooden baths and Japanese toilets. Guests have a choice of bedding, as all rooms include tatami mats (traditional straw mats for sleeping), futons and twin beds. Some rooms boast open-air stone baths and indoor wooden baths.
Guests of Gora Kadan are paired with an attendant for the duration of their stay, who teaches them how to wear the inn uniform of a kimono, toe socks and wooden flip flops. Your attendant also serves the meals, including an exquisite, multi-course kaiseki dinner and American or Japanese breakfast in the morning (most meals are enjoyed in-room).
One of the main draws of Gora Kadan is its onsen. The hot springs, of which there are separate ones for women, men and families, are fed with volcanically heated spring water that is collected in the property’s wells. The healing waters are thought to promote good health and soft skin. Note: It is required that bathers are completely naked when using the hot springs, and you must wash off before entering the baths.
Kadan Spa offers facial and body treatments as well as traditional shiatsu massage and meridian therapy, which implements shiatsu and acupuncture along the body’s meridian lines to improve the flow of energy. The property also has a large indoor pool, outdoor Jacuzzi and a small gym.
Who Should Stay
Couples and families who want a traditional ryokan experience with a luxurious, modern touch. While the experience itself is not particularly kid-friendly, many guests bring their children so that they can experience a bit of Japanese zen.
Written by Rose Allen