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Gora Kadan
Hakone

Gora Kadan is one of Japan's finest Ryokans and an Ampersand favourite. This property perfects the concept of a ‘luxury ryokan’, striking just the right balance between traditional Japanese aesthetics and comfortable modern design.

Formerly the Kaninnomiya Imperial family’s summer retreat, its guest list is a real Who's Who. Follow in their footsteps and experience this ryokan’s impeccable service, amicable staff and idyllic location. The property is located in the charming village of Gora in Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, just two hours away from Tokyo. Taking the train from the capital city to Hakone is a delight in itself – in the winter, a romantic blanket of snow covers the surroundings and, in the summer, colourful flowers line the winding railways tracks through the scenic countryside.

This exquisite ryokan is home to two natural wells from which mineral rich, hot spring water flows and feeds the open-air baths. The minerals contained in the spring water are regarded as having many remarkable qualities promoting good health and smooth skin, which visitors can soak up in private onsens. This unique experience is a real highlight as it’s rare to have the opportunity to enjoy the onsen culture – which we believe is one of the most memorable parts of a tour of Japan – all by one’s self. Relaxing in a private bubbling bath is a treat, especially in Gora Kadan’s outdoor onsen. In our opinion, bathing in this secluded spot is the absolute height of ‘onsen’ sophistication!

The beautiful 23 rooms and 14 suites differ in layout but share an authentic Japanese style, with sliding paper doors, tatami living quarters and deep wooden baths – most have comfortable futons but some western beds are available. The ground floor rooms have private gardens with outdoor baths whilst the higher rooms have balconies overlooking the forests and mountains.

The architectural design of the public areas is clean-cut and striking, drawing one’s eye to the floor-to-ceiling windows that create a strong sense of place with their sweeping views over the vibrant flora and fauna outside. The modern design is particularly well-suited to the vast walkway that leads to the spa and pool, as it emphasises space and light in a tasteful, chic manner. A traditional Kaiseki dinner is included, consisting of local delicacies, which vary from season to season. This multi-course gourmet meal is served either in one's room or suite by a kimono-wearing personal hostess, in the restaurant or al fresco on the terrace or in the garden.

With such close proximity to Tokyo, you will be hard pressed to find a more convenient or idyllic spot to relax, drink in the pure and unspoiled nature around the National Park from a natural hot spring bath, while also visiting highly-regarded cultural sites. Hakone is home to many impressive art museums, especially the acclaimed Hakone Open Air Museum. Open to the elements, works by Picasso, Henry Moore, Churyo Sato and many other 20th century masters are well worth admiring here.

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35.246448,139.050831,5
My favourite thing is to go where I've never been.
Diane Arbus