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Reviewed 4 April 2014

Yoshiike was a wonderful stay. I highly recommend a visit for the ohnsen, magnificent garden grounds and elaborate kaiseki style dinner. The garden is very expansive, and wraps around also to the back of the property so make sure to go on all the foot trails. While the staff may not speak English well, communicating was not an issue and everyone was extremely hospitable.

Rooms: The rooms admittedly are a bit dated, but was still a comfortable stay in terms of sleep. If you are sensitive to smell, I would recommend a nonsmoking room. Although, if you want the meal served in room (which I highly recommend), you have to choose a Japanese-style room (in which case nonsmoking rooms do not exist, they simply spray the room). The bathroom area and entrance area, while clean, can use some better air freshening, it smelled a bit stale and was my biggest gripe with the room. But I simply showered at the ohnsen so didn’t need to make use of the room facilities much. Also after opening the windows to the garden to let in the fresh air, it was quite a better ambiance. Before coming I kept wondering if the additional $ for the garden view was going to be worth it? And I say it is, the fact when you get a huge window view to grounds and hear the running stream felt very peaceful.

Meal: If you are not as adventurous of an eater, or used to Asian foods, you may not enjoy the full meal. But I am a lover of all foods, and from new York so very open to all types of cuisine. While the food is not the best meal I ever had, the presentation and ceremony of it was top notch. I highly enjoyed it and my husband was wowed by the experience. (A LOT of food, there are several course to dinner and can take 2 hours to get through)

Ohnsen: Etiquette—shower thoroughly before getting into the ohnsen. I am as shy as it gets, but you must respect the beauty and culture of the Japanese ohnsen. It opens at 4am and closes as late as midnight. Do not dip the privacy towel into the ohnsen, instead wrap it on your head as you sit in the water. I went once before dinner and once before breakfast.

Gardens: Make sure to save time for an early morning walk around the grounds, it’s absolutely gorgeous and extremely zen.

Location: I took the Romance car from Tokyo, Shinjuku. It was about $40/pp round trip and I felt completely worthwhile. It got us there in about 45 mins without transfers. There is a more local route / train but will take about double the time and you have to transfer once, which is still probably very easy but as we only had a few days, we really valued our time in Japan. Once you get off the train you can walk towards the 7 eleven, there is a bridge / turn in on the same side of the road which leads you to Yoshiike. There is a sake / wine/ alcohol shop across the street.

Definitely would come again and stay for a restful retreat. I was only in Tokyo for 5 days and still made an easy trip out to Hakone. Highly recommend. Thank you Yoshiike for an authentic ohnsen and ryokan stay.

Room tip: Garden view in spring is worth the added cost
Date of stay: March 2014
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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Thank travelingbug95
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 25 December 2013

Words cannot express how much we enjoyed our stay here, but I'm gonna try anyways!

Location: This ryokan has that magic combination of convenience and quietness. With our big luggages, we decided to ride the local bus from the train station (100yen). It took all of 3 minutes, and walking (as we found out later) only took 10 minutes. It is across a little bridge on the other side of the creek, so it has virtually no traffic (unlike the main drag). A 10-minute downhill walk takes you back to the train station, so the walk pretty much covers the whole shopping street in town.

Room: We picked a garden view room, which overlooks the ryokan's expansive and well-maintained garden grounds. Since we asked for a higher floor, the view also includes the surrounding hills. The window is VERY clean, and its width span the wide side of the room, meaning the view was virtually panoramic. We enjoyed sitting by the window and savoring the tranquility so unique to Japanese gardens.

Hot Springs: Like most ryokans this place has separate facilities for the genders, so I can only review the men's side. There were 3 pools, one indoor (inside a greenhouse-type building) with jungle/forest decor and a waterfall, a small rocky one decorated like a cave, and the best one: the outdoor pond, which has a great view of the surrounding natural environment. It was so nice, we went twice, once during the day and again at night. There are also small hot springs rooms designed for families, with a private changing area, and a private pool/tub. This is first come first serve, no reservations required. Typical of Japan, the facilities are spotless, and the cleaning people were keeping things tidy the entire time I was there.

Room Service: Our reservation included a dinner and a breakfast, both served in our room. The dinner took about 1-2 hours, and was served course by course. We fell full by the end, but to be honest we had no idea what some of the things we ate were, since the serving lady cannot speak English. If you have a tablet, take advantage of the free wifi and pull up Google Translate. The breakfast was a lighter ordeal. All the courses were served at once and it was JUST AS DELICIOUS as the dinner! It was truly the quintessential Japanese experience: wearing traditional yukatas, enjoying a traditional kaiseki meal, in a traditional ryokan!

Amenities: The room has quite large, with a long entryway into the dining room, where there is a western style regular height dining table, a small bathroom (which a tub that's fed by the same hot springs water), and the tatami style side for the rest of the space. The bathroom has detailed explanation of the quality of the hot springs water, and although it was in Japanese, we at least understood that the water is never diluted and never reused.

Services: Typical of Japan, the service was exceptional as usual. The hotel staff takes you on a brief tour on the way to the room. When you get to your room, you know it's yours because they have already printed out your name (in Japanese) and placed it on the door. The dinner and breakfast were right on time and very professionally served, with the serving lady dressed in kimono, and the beddings were both spread out at night AND made in the morning by the hotel staff as well. At check out, the floor manager (it appears there's one on every floor, and they dressed differently than the cleaning staff) would get the elevator for you as soon as they see you coming down the corridor with your luggage. They even bow as the elevator closed! On the way out as we were getting into the taxi, the staff stood outside and bowed as our taxi pulled away.

OVERALL: This is, hands down, the most memorable stay for my entire life. From the meticulously-groomed grounds, to the tastefully-decorated room, to the luxurious hot springs facilities and the impeccable services, this is one of those experiences people come to Japan for. Of course there are even more luxurious options for a higher price, but this ryokan is the best you can find in Hakone and I promise you will leave satisfied that you've made the right choice.

Date of stay: September 2013
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
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5  Thank hkpuipui99
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 6 May 2013

We have just returned from a romantic trip to Japan.
Yoshiike Ryokan was the highlight of our trip.
We had a twin western room with a magnificent garden view.
Enjoyed each and every minute of our stay. Would highly recommend for a romantic getaway.

Room tip: Ask for a high floor room, magnificent views.
Date of stay: April 2013
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Yonit_Harel
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 6 April 2013 via mobile

The loveliness of the Japanese gardens and the tranquility of the outdoor onsen at this hotel are enough to lure any world weary traveller. But on top of their wonderful facilities, the rooms themselves are stylish and classy ( garden view rooms are definitely the way to go )
My partner and I stayed in a western style twin room overlooking the glorious gardens. We opened our window at night to hear the water from the stream running through the gardens as well as the town river.
We didn't eat at the hotel restaurants, preferring to walk into town but be warned! - most of the restaurants through Hakone Yumoto close by 7pm.
I write this now while overnighting at the famous Nara Hotel in Nara and honestly, even though both are pricey, the Yoshiike Ryokan wins as a splurge place to stay.

Date of stay: April 2013
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Thank lifeiscolour
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 25 January 2013

Was pondering what to rate Yoshiike. For foreign visitors who are new to ryokan culture, want to enjoy it with locals speaking minimal English and having western understanding to help balance the experience, yes, it shall be 'Excellent'. For visitors who have been visiting ryokan and onsen, enjoying the famous and most respectable Jap service, then Yoshiike is just 'Good or Very Good'.

Booking process : We booked a Mountain View Tatami Room directly from Yoshiike's Jap site. The other languages were directed to JAPANiCAN, but we found that the prices in Jap site were cheaper, about 12% less for our room. The site also includes many more packages (eg. seasonal package, day-only onsen+meal) and other detail information like room price for different day of the week and clear walking directions with pictures (www.yoshiike.org/access/). Can be difficult booking directly from Jap site if you don't know Jap characters or Kanji, or even after translation using Google or Bing. It is a 3 step booking process with the 2nd step sent via an auto generated email (also in Jap). You then need to click on the link in the email to generate a reservation code and wait patiently for final email confirmation. If you click the link twice, it will generate 2 reservation codes and you are expected to pay for it! If you don't click the link, booking is not completed and you may arrive without a room reserved. In our case, no payment needed until we check-out, but some packages may need advance payment with more online steps. We emailed Yoshiike some questions and they replied well in English the next working day.

Room : We booked for 1 night in Jan. Figured all leaves were gone and all buds still waiting to bloom in winter, so no point looking at a bare garden. We were given the highest 6th floor with a not-too-bad mountain view room. Spacious and clean with large windows. Lighting is '60-70s style and does make the room look tired. We usually just convince ourselves it is part of the rustic and traditional experience. Their 2 big fabric arm chairs near the windows are the most comfortable chair we had ever sat on! It felt like a day bed made of futon and hugged you comfortably. Had nice nap on it after our onsen visits. There is a safe, big enough to keep 11" notebook and SLR camera. The fridge filled with drinks and beer (chargeable). Hot water and tea are complimentary. We had a good stroll in the beautifully maintained garden while waiting for our checkin at 2pm. No doubt, one MUST book the Garden View room during spring and autumn, but we are happy with Mountain View room in winter.

Onsen : The most valuable asset of Yoshiike is their 5 onsen - 1indoor+1outdoor for men; 1indoor+1outdoor for women; 1 private indoor onsen. With 2 outdoor onsen available separately for men and women, it means everyone in your company can go fully enjoy their respective onsen at the same time. Some ryokan rotates 1 outdoor onsen beween men and women on different day or time. For women, the outdoor onsen is directly linked to the indoor onsen. Unfortunately for men, the outdoor and indoor onsen are separate. That means you need to go to the indoor onsen first to bath and go to the outdoor later. We visited onsen 3 times during our 1 night stay : after checkin, after dinner, and after breakfast before checkout. We never use the bath in our room (yes, no shades or curtains in the bath but it's really just facing the mountain). In the indoor onsen, there is always a bathing area with all the amenities (shampoo, conditional, shower gel, facial cleanser, shaving cream, shaver, etc) where everyone is supposed to clean themselves before stepping into the onsen. After onsen when you return to the dressing area, there are facial cream, body lotion, hair dryer and other amenities to beautify yourself. For couples or family, it's nice to try out the private indoor onsen together, or use it if you are shy. There are English instructions in Yoshiike if you want to know what to do. At the exit (also the entrance) of all the 5 onsen, there is a common area where you can sit, drink tea (complimentary) and wait for your company. This is also where the small lockers are so you can store valuables (eg. room key, phone) before proceeding into the onsen. Unlike most of other ryokans we visited, you need to bring the big and small towels from your room to the onsen, and then return to the room again. If you plan to use onsen often, ask for a room in the block nearest to the onsen, else it could be a long walk (in Yukata and slippers with towels on hand!). On the other hand, it will also be the furthest from lobby. Take note that checkout time is 10am. After that it cost 5000yen for 1 hr! Plan the time properly if you want breakfast and onsen in a short morning, or you can always add a day-only onsen+meal package which cost 4000-6000yen pp depending on the meal you select.

Meals : Many have been said about the wonderful Kaiseki cuisine in TA. Just want to add that the meal will come on-time. That means, if you change the timing last minute, whether later or earlier, it will cause some trouble to their process but they will try their best. The nice lady tried to name the ingredients and always gave us heads-up what is next step, eg. what is serving next, how to get the plates cleared, when to sent someone to lay the futon or store the futon in the morning.

Location : We actually chose to stay in Hakone-Yumoto first before we choose Yoshiike, since it is the shortest time (and cheaper route) from Tokyo for a proper ryokan and onsen visit. Took 8.43am Express train from Shinjuku Odakyu Rail and reached around 10.30am, total 1150yen pp. Take Odawara Line to Odawara station, then change to Hakone-Tozan Line to Hakone-Yumoto station. There is a Tourist Information Centre opposite the station next to the bus stops incase you need help on directions and map. Did a little shopping and walk around for 1.5hr, mostly local food and specialties, had lunch then went to checkin at 1:30pm. Yoshiike is just at the end of the shopping street. Can reach in 7 min without shopping, though the interesting shops will temp you to stop. There is a convenience store 7-11 near the end of the street. The street actually continues for cars, just no more shops to visit anymore. Turn left into a side charming street that leads to a short red color bridge. You will see Yoshiike almost immediately a few steps after crossing the bridge. There is an authentic looking restaurant on the left side after the short bridge, popular among locals and good to try lunch there. If you have time, exlpore further up along the road after Yoshiike. The river is marvellous and the charming scenery is worth the up-hill walk.

Service : Everyone is professional, helpful when approached and always smiling - from the man who check us in, the lady who led us to the room, explained the layout of the ryokan and onsen, suggested different sizes of Yukata to us, another lady who laid our tables during dinner and breakfast, the man who expertly laid and stored our futons, the onsen care takers who offered us a glass of cold o-cha, to the young man who ran out of the door on his own will to take a picture for us when we left (nice touch at the end!).

Due to limited time, we can't go further up into Hakone for better ryokan and onsen. Still, no regrets choosing Yoshiike. A fabulous time enjoying the sumptuous dinner and relaxing in the beautiful outdoor onsen. What Yoshiike short of is the unique passion and missing that extra mile which is commonly found in top ryokans. Those looking for fresh and modern room will be disappointed too though you can also consider their western style room (might not include in-room dinning experience). The garden will be the WOW factor when in season. Strongly recommend Yoshiike for foreign visitors who want to try ryokan and onsen. Pls do read up on ryokan culture and onsen etiquette first. It is not easy to find English speaking traditional ryokan and Yoshiike offers good balance experience overall in easy-reached Hakone-Yumoto.

Room tip: Definitely book a Garden View room during spring and autumn. Rooms near lobby will be far from onsen and vice versa.
Date of stay: January 2013
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
15  Thank PoppyJn
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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