A retreat of ultimate seclusion awaits on the hilltop of Hakone Gora, offering the perfect getaway 【Natural SPA Auberge gen Hakone Gora】

~All rooms have spacious landscaped decks and large open-air baths with free-flowing hot-spring water. All meals of creative kaiseki cuisine and spa treatments are served in the guest rooms. You will be healed in a completely private space.~

Located on the hilltop of Hakone Gora, blessed with abundant nature and hot springs, " Natural SPA Auberge gen Hakone Gora " is an inn that offers an "ultimate secluded stay" where you can enjoy panoramic views of the Hakone Mountain range, including the prominent peak of Myojogatake, which is crowned by the large character for Hakone, and Sagami Bay. With spacious interiors, the inn strives to provide all services to create the perfect secluded stay.

For this interview, we asked Hideki Funahara, the manager, about the concept and particulars of " Natural SPA Auberge gen Hakone Gora ".

Table of Contents

●Natural SPA Auberge gen Hakone Gora Concept

-Could you first tell me about the concept of "Gen"?

The character for "Gen" has the sensory meaning of illusionary and mysterious appearance, depth, and profundity, and in Lao Zhuang philosophy, it also means the root of heaven, earth, and all phenomena that transcend space and time. It also has the meaning of a doctor and an entrance to welcome people.

And the hieroglyphic root of "Gen" comes from the shape of a bundle of "hand-tied threads". Our main theme is to welcome guests with the profound and tranquil presence of "Gen", characterized by a sense of serenity and transparency. We aim to weave together the hearts and thoughts of our visitors, allowing them to take back warmth with them. Our service concept is built upon the idea of providing hospitality that supports and enhances your stay behind the scenes, with the desire to bring healing and tranquility to both mind and body.

- If you were to mention one characteristic of the ryokan, what would it be?

It would be the panoramic borrowed landscape that showcases the beauty of nature.

Our hotel is situated on a high hill in Gora, and we take pride in our breathtaking views. From the guest rooms, you can admire the panoramic scenery stretching from left to right, with the Hakone Mountain range on the left and a distant view of Sagami Bay on the right. To maximize your enjoyment of the stunning vistas, all our rooms are positioned to face the side with the best mountain views and feature large windows and spacious decks.

At night, the moon rises above the rooms, unveiling a breathtaking expanse of stars. Binoculars are provided in the rooms, allowing you to observe the phases of the moon or search for constellations while holding the constellation chart provided in the room. One of the attractions of our inn is the ability to enjoy stargazing from the comfort of your room, immersing yourself in the wonders of the celestial world.

And the view of the sunrise is also magnificent. Even while sitting inside the room, you will be greeted by numerous beams of morning light streaming in. You can also enjoy the sunrise while leisurely sipping coffee in the lobby.

Being able to enjoy the changing seasons and the shifting light of each day from the comfort of your room is a unique experience that our inn offers.

The mountainside where Hakone's Daimonji Yaki (giant bonfire) takes place every year on August 16th can be viewed from all guest rooms. Guests have the privilege of witnessing the blazing flames and the illuminated giant characters rising, as well as the beautiful fireworks bursting open one after another accompanied by thunderous sounds, all from the comfort of their private room decks. This unique experience attracts repeat visitors who choose to stay with us specifically on this day.

●Natural SPA Auberge gen Hakone Gora Points of particular interest

-What is the most important point that "Gen" is particular about?

It is the realization of the ultimate secluded stay.

Above all, we place great emphasis on the spaciousness of the rooms, with an average room area of 88 square meters. Even the smallest room measures 60 square meters, while the largest room boasts a generous size of 115 square meters.

Each room is equipped with a large open-air bath fed by natural hot springs, allowing multiple people to relax comfortably. The windows are adorned with expansive glass panels, providing a sense of openness and panoramic views to enjoy the ever-changing colors of nature throughout the day. Spacious decks are also provided, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the surrounding scenery. Our commitment lies in ensuring that guests do not feel confined or stressed during their stay, as they can stay in their rooms from check-in to check-out without feeling any sense of suffocation. This is a testament to the meticulous attention to detail and charm of "Gen."

Meals are also naturally served in the "secluded style." To ensure that guests can enjoy their meals without worrying about their surroundings, both dinner and breakfast are provided in the rooms. Instead of traditional low tables on tatami mats, each room is equipped with dedicated dining sofas and tables, allowing comfortable dining experiences for elderly guests and foreign visitors. Even guests with babies can enjoy their meals while keeping an eye on their little ones placed on the sofas or in baby cots. This style has received positive feedback from guests traveling with infants.


Regarding the spa, we primarily offer in-room services, where treatments are conducted in the comfort of your own room. Highly skilled practitioners, trained and certified by the Esalen Institute in the United States, provide treatments that utilize a meditative oil technique, applying a gentle and rhythmic approach that affects the entire body. Since the treatments are conducted in your room, you have the option to fully relax and even transition directly to restful sleep, completely free from mental and physical stress. It truly embodies the ultimate relaxation experience.

In conclusion, apart from accessing the communal baths or enjoying the free-flow lobby drink service, all services can be enjoyed in the comfort of your own room. Once you enter your room, there is no need to step outside until your departure, allowing you to fully indulge in the "supreme seclusion" experience without having to leave the room for anything.

To provide you with the experience of "having everything you need within your room," we ensure that any items that may have been missing during your initial request are prepared and provided for your next visit.

-It is truly the ultimate secluded stay, isn't it? What kind of guests typically stay at your accommodation?

We have a significant number of relatively young families, couples, and guests with children. It could be due to the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic, but we receive feedback that having an in-room open-air bath and the ability to dine in the room provides a sense of reassurance. When guests have small children, they often worry about disturbing other guests and find it difficult to relax as parents or adults. At "Gen," since all services are provided within the room, there is no need to be concerned about the surroundings.

During mealtime, even if children are playing in the tatami area, the flooring area, or the sofas, adults can still enjoy their meals comfortably at the dining table. While it is possible to separate the room, the basic setup is open, providing good visibility. This brings a great sense of reassurance to parents, as they can easily keep an eye on their children. To enhance the enjoyment of the room, and play for children, we also offer rental services for a children's ball pool.

The spacious rooms are also a feature of Gen, allowing for the spread of generations and horizontal connections, such as three generations staying together, or two young couples with small children.

●Natural SPA Auberge gen Hakone Gora Guest room & Facility

-I heard there are a total of 18 rooms. What are their characteristics?

The guest rooms are located on the 3rd to 5th floors. On the top floor, there are six rooms with a magnificent view of the sky, featuring a spacious deck without any roofs or walls. These rooms are part of the premium floor. On the 4th and 3rd floors, there are twelve rooms with covered decks, providing protection from rain and wind. These rooms are referred to as the Hideaway Deck Floor.

The interior concept is natural, emphasizing pure, simple, and warm transparency. Among the large furniture pieces crafted by renowned domestic designers, we prioritize selecting designs that do not obstruct the guests and focus on both aesthetics and comfort.

To ensure that guests can relax and enjoy the panoramic view of the sky and mountains in Hakone from the spacious deck, each room is equipped with yoga mats, stretch poles, and an astronomical observation set (binoculars, compass, and constellation chart).

-In addition to the open-air baths in the guest rooms, it is mentioned that there is also a communal bath.

In our establishment, we provide abundant and high-quality hot spring water from the Hakone area for all bathing experiences in the main bath. The water is delivered through a clean and reliable flowing system. While it is not a privately sourced hot spring, the quality of the water is characterized by its high beautifying effects on the skin and its gentle, soft texture. It is a sodium chloride spring.

The communal bath is located in a semi-underground area, and one side of the bath is a volcanic rock wall covered in moss. Every 15 minutes, a mineral-rich intermittent mist, drawn from the underground water vein in Hakone, is sprayed onto this rock wall. This mist creates an effect as if the entire bathhouse has turned into a mist sauna, and it exudes a fantastical atmosphere throughout the bathing area, allowing guests to fully enjoy a bathing experience in a mystical space.

Furthermore, in the communal bath, we have both sauna and cold-water baths available for both men and women. Alternating between bathing in the high-quality hot spring water and enjoying the sauna infused with the rich scent of wood is believed to stimulate the sympathetic nervous system and enhance the function of balancing the mind and body.

In the relaxation area after bathing, we provide massage chairs, complimentary drinks, and ice confections for our guests to enjoy.

-What are the unique features of the meals?

The cuisine is primarily based on traditional kaiseki dishes but with a slightly unique twist. We incorporate a natural and fusion approach to kaiseki, adding the chef's bold ideas. This fusion kaiseki with a touch of creativity is the distinctive feature of dining at our establishment.

In the kaiseki course, various dishes such as appetizers, soup, sashimi, and small side dishes are served. However, at our establishment, we include a dish called "Yaki-Hassun" during the course. Yaki-Hassun is a visually appealing dish presented on a large plate, featuring over eight grilled items and other accompanying delicacies. Guests can enjoy a variety of flavors in small portions, creating a vibrant and captivating presentation.

This particular dish, called "Yaki-Hassun," is included in the menu despite being labor-intensive and not commonly found in many establishments. However, at our establishment, we intentionally serve this Yaki-Hassun as a "modern and artistically elevated kaiseki." We use organically grown vegetables with vibrant colors as ingredients, aiming to create kaiseki art that resembles modern abstract paintings on the plate.

-Are there any other points of enjoyment that you would like to provide for the guests?

Since it is called the "Saryo", (Tea house) we would like our guests to relax and enjoy tea in a leisurely manner.

As the character "玄 (Gen)" is included in the name of Genmaicha (brown rice tea), we have prepared "Gen" originals of baked sweets such as financiers and herbal tea with Genmaicha added, which are served throughout the facility. We also incorporate Genmaicha into desserts served during meals, showcasing our efforts to incorporate creativity and uniqueness.

In our lounge bar, we offer a service called "Free Flow," which includes complimentary drinks and snacks for our guests to enjoy. We have a wide selection of teas available, including various types of black, green, and herbal teas. Additionally, for coffee, we have a unique style where guests can choose their own beans and grind them using a hand mill to brew their desired blend, savoring the aroma of freshly ground coffee. Whether it's selecting the type of tea or choosing the beans for coffee and adjusting the grind size, we encourage our guests to take their time and enjoy the process, all while indulging in the beautiful view from the lobby and taking a moment to relax and unwind.

●Natural SPA Auberge gen Hakone Gora Official information

Name of hotel: Natural SPA Auberge gen Hakone Gora

Address: 1300-238 Gora, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa prefecture, 250-0408, Japan

TEL:0460-82-2229 FAX:0460-82-2854 E-mail:[email protected]

【by Car】

 Tokyo IC, Youga > Tomei Expressway > Atsugi > AtsugiOdawara Expressway > National highway Route 1 > Gora

【by Train】

- From Tokyo/Osaka/Nagoya -

Take the Tokaido Shinkansen > Odawara Station > Hakone Tozan Railway > Get off at Gora Station

- From  Shinjuku Station -

Odakyu Romance Car > Hakone-Yumoto Station > Hakone Tozan Railway >Get off at Gora Station

Pick-up service available from Gora Station (5 min. by car, Prior reservation required.)

■The person we spoke to this time

Mr. Hideki Funahara (General Manager)