Hakone, Japan

  • Date
  • 25 June 1999
  • Lodging
  • Fujiya Hotel Hakone
  • Distance
  • 419 KM
  • Total
  • 25609 KM

25 June 1999 – Jim and I planned to climb Mt. Fuji the day my parents were to depart Japan yet I wanted them to see Fuji-san. So the evening before their exit, we stayed in Hakone, a small, old mountain town with splendid views of Japan’s tallest mountain.

While in Hakone, we lodged at the Fuji-ya Hotel, which was the first Western-style hotel built in Japan in the late 1800s. The place feels like an old-fashioned English inn but combines beautiful Asian influences in architecture and interior design to make Fuji-ya a special retreat. There are large parlors and living room spaces, enormous guest rooms, a vast dining room that was certainly a showpiece in the early 1900s, a café on the back porch overlooking an exquisite Japanese garden with a mini-waterfall, and natural hot springs for bathing and soaking. Paint in some places is peeling away, but instead of detracting from Fuji-ya, this adds a bit more depth.

I booked an 8 p.m. reservation in the Main Dining Room and persuaded Mom to go with me to the hot springs before dinner. So after showering, soaking and relaxing in typical Japanese fashion, Mom and I felt primed for our dinner.

Jim, Mom, Dad and I didn’t mind that the service was extremely slow, since this was our last supper together for at least six months. The dining room, with a dark hardwood floor and matching walls along with an intricately carved ceiling, contained perhaps 30 white linen covered tables, but only a quarter were full.

Jim, Mom and I drank a Japanese white wine (which cost as much as a Montrachet but tasted like it should have been priced scores less) while Dad drank a Japanese red (which cost half what the white did, but tasted twice as good as the white). As Jim said, the white was potable, and after a glass, the taste developed into a soft, good drink.

I ate a lettuce salad and then deviled crab with rice. Jim began with a white asparagus salad, Mom with the combination salad, and then both Jim and Mom ate Hakone trout with rice. Dad ate the combination salad and then a sirloin with rice. Dad and I finished the meal with apple pie and a small scoop of vanilla ice cream.

We concluded the evening around 10:30 p.m. after a delicious meal and conversation that even topped the food.