One thing I’ve come to love during my time in Japan is vacationing at a ryokan (旅館). For those of you who might be new to ryokan, they’re a type of traditional inn with a history that dates back to the eighth century. They provide a unique accommodation experience which shows off a different side of Japan to what you’ll get at a hotel, and you’ll get to enjoy the trademark omotenashi (おもてなし) or hospitality, that the land of the rising sun does so well.
When it comes to ryokan, I’ve stayed at a few, but without a doubt my favorite of all is Konansou (湖南荘). They’re situated in Yamanashi Prefecture, with a killer view of Mt. Fuji from one side of the building, and of Lake Kawaguchi from the other – so no matter where your room is located, you’re going to have something stellar to look at.
Experience an onsen with million-dollar views
If you’d like to experience Japanese onsen (温泉), Konansou is a fantastic way to do that. There are multiple public baths or reservable baths if you’d prefer something more private – but the pièce de résistance would have to be the rooms that feature a balcony onsen all to yourself. The view we had from a balcony onsen room still takes my breath away.
If you don’t want to submerge fully, you can head to the roof of the Konansou building where there’s a foot bath to soak those travel-weary feet. You’ll be able to see Mt. Fuji from there if you don’t have a view of the mountain from your room.
Enjoy complete relaxation, with meals brought to your room
Another great thing about a ryokan stay is you generally get “half board” included, which consists of breakfast and dinner. It’s a fantastic opportunity to get introduced to some local specialties, since most ryokans will feature local produce in the meals themselves. When you book, don’t be bashful about indicating any particular eating preferences before your stay. Konansou were incredibly accommodating about the fact that I don’t eat a great deal of seafood, and made a meat-based dinner for my husband and me. We also loved that here at Konansou, the staff give you the option of dining in a private booth in their banquet hall, or in your own room. If you really want to soak up that rest and relaxation, having your meals in your room is the way to go!
One thing you’ll notice if you stay at a ryokan is the level of care put into the presentation of food. From the ornate dishware through to the colors and textures of foods, every last detail is considered. You can see on the desserts we were served above that they even brought out a tiny Mt. Fuji inspired matcha cheesecake piece. Delicious, and adorable!
If you’re seeking a relaxing travel experience where you are really given the chance to unwind, look into a ryokan stay while you’re in Japan – and if seeing Mt. Fuji is on your to-do list, don’t pass up Konansou!
- Address: 4020-2 Funatsu, Fujikawaguchiko, Minamitsuru District, Yamanashi Prefecture 401-0301
- Official website: Hotel Konansou
- If you’re headed there by train, stop at Kawaguchiko Station on the Fuji Kyuko Line.
- From Kawaguchiko Station, Konansou is approximately 10 minutes on foot. Alternatively, the accommodation runs a free shuttle bus service after check in time (3 p.m.) daily.