Hakone Must-Stay: The Fujiya Hotel


With its beautiful nature, its wonderful onsen, its fantastic views of Fuji-san, and its myriad museums, Hakone is a must-visit location in Japan, and to me, there is only one must-stay hotel in Hakone: the Fujiya Hotel.
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Conveniently located in the heart of Hakone, the Fujiya Hotel is only about a seven minute walk from Miyanoshita Station on the Hakone Tozan Railway that will take you just about anywhere else you want to go in Hakone.  Of course, the Hotel will always make sure you have transportation if you need it--simply visit the concierge or bell staff and they will ensure you are accommodated.
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The Fujiya hotel boasts myriad restaurants, the fantastic Picot Bakery, and a host of other attractions like a pool, onsen, beautiful Japanese garden, and a greenhouse, among others. 
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The rooms are spacious and welcoming, and the staff is courteous and attentive.
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All of those are wonderful traits that many other Japanese hotels offer, but what sets Fujiya Hotel apart is the mystique it gains from its storied past.  Founded in 1878, it is one of Japan's oldest hotels, and the architectural styling is representative of the changing Japanese society during the Meiji era with its blend of traditional Japanese and western influence.  It quickly became a major destination for western distinguished visitors, as the hotel has welcomed a number of famous guests including Charles Chaplin (shown below), Helen Keller, John Lennon, Prince Albert (later George VI) of the UK, and other royalty.
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Adding to its history is that during the Occupation era, the Fujiya Hotel served as an Armed Forces Recreation Facility for the Allied powers.  Visiting the hotel bar, one can almost imagine the host of GIs that would have sojourned there, among them including future U.S. president Dwight D. Eisenhower (first male on the left in the photo below).
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The history permeates the Fujiya Hotel and gives it an ambiance that cannot be matched with any other hotel in all of Japan.  Pair that with the wonderful views, delicious food, and excellent accommodations, and the Fujiya Hotel makes for a must-stay location in Hakone.
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For more information on the hotel, please visit the Fujiya Hotel website here: http://www.fujiyahotel.jp/en/index.html.  Directions to the Hotel from Tokyo are included below.
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Mike B