Think of the Pax Yoshino as an onsen ryokan (hot-spring inn) for beginners – everything you could want from a stay in Japan’s most famous mountain getaway, without the daunting costs that some places levy. Conveniently located a short stroll from Hakone-Yumoto train station, you will stay on the quiet side of an already-quiet town, perched on a slight hill beside the rapids of the Sukumogawa river. A typical ‘loop’ of sightseeing around Hakone will tend to start and finish here – so this is a sensible choice for a short getaway in the countryside.
We personally love the traditional Japanese-style rooms, with futon mattresses upon woven tatami floors – but Western beds are available too, if you’d prefer to ease yourself into the experience. All rooms benefit from a veranda or terrace, so that you can enjoy the natural setting of the accommodation in comfortable privacy. A typical kaiseki ryori (multi course Japanese meal) will be served to you by ever-attentive staff in the evening, and breakfast is an abundant buffet in the dining room – with plenty of recognisable options for the ‘unsure’ traveller.
If you’re happy to use the public baths like a true local, an indoor and a semi open-air bath can be used throughout the day – alternating between men-only and women-only, clothes strictly prohibited. Overlooking the fast-flowing river below, they are magical and relaxing places to loosen up after a busy day discovering the region. The helpful front desk team can also help you book some time in your own private onsen, with three to choose from. If you’re not yet ready to strip off in front of strangers, or simply wish to relax with your travel companions undisturbed, this a great way to appreciate this age-old Japanese tradition (with your modesty intact).