Gora Kadan is one of Japan’s finest Ryokans and its guest list is a real Who’s Who. Blending Japanese tradition along with modern design elements it was once a summer retreat for the Kaninnomiya Imperial family and is located in the charming village of Gora in Hakone National Park which is two hours from Tokyo. It has two 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 healthy qualities promoting good health and smooth skin.
The 23 rooms and 14 suites are in traditional Japanese style, with sliding paper doors, tatami living quarters and deep wooden baths - most have 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. A traditional Kaiseki dinner is included which is served in one’s room/suite, in the restaurant or al fresco on the terrace or in the garden.
The ryokan is a 10 minute walk from the acclaimed Hakone Open Air Museum which has incredibly impressive collection of art by Picasso, Henry Moore, Churyo Sato and many other 20th Century masters.
To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.