The very first time the thing is Mt Fuji is one thing you will find difficult to forget. We were around the train passing with the hills at customary Japanese speed. Once we appeared from a tunnel, suddenly it had been there: ten times larger and much more imposing then you may ever imagine. We, obviously, immediately performed the customary millennial reaction, our iPhones pressed resistant to the train window attempting to capture something that in truth can never be digitalised.
It was the ultimate day's our two-week trip, and that we had saved what we should hoped would be the best till last. Returning from Kyoto we decided to stay an evening in the uber-luxurious HOSHINOYA Fuji Resort over the lake from Mt Fuji. HOSHINOYA is one of five equally amazing looking resorts run by Hoshino in Japan. All of them appear to stick to the same pattern; stylish architecture, immaculate interiors and incredible attention to detail. HOSHINOYA in Fuji proudly boasts to be the 'first glamping site in Japan'. Included in the nation's Park located by Lake Kawaguchi, it consists of 40 minimalist guest rooms each with private balconies and enormous mountain-facing windows.
Hoshinoya Fuji Resort: How to Get There
The journey to Mt Fuji is comparatively simple from Tokyo but a smaller amount straightforward than other excursions. Your very best to get at Shinjuku station where there's a 1 hour train to Otsuki (you can use your much recommended JR pass with this).
From there, a significantly slower train takes you to the town – you have to pay for a ticket and make certain to determine the times first as the express trains get pretty busy (and take Forty-five minutes). After that there's a taxi to the resort which takes about Fifteen minutes. Overall, we arrived fairly sweaty and sick of the view of our wheelie bags. However, as soon as you need to do arrive you realize you've arrived at somewhere special. You're delivered at an off-site reception where you're introduced to the resort and the lay of the land. You're then inspired to choose from a variety of backpacks which contain your glamping essentials – a torch, some tools, etc – to tell the truth we never opened the bags again, but it's the idea that counts. The thought of this removed reception, I'm told, is to allow us to believe that we have truly escaped once we reach the resort itself. Our approach to escape is really a shiny jeep a number of that are parked outside prepared to go ahead and take glampers for their cabins.
HOSHINOYA Fuji Resort: The Accommodation
These cabins are, undoubtedly, well worth the journey alone (and possibly the cost). It's pretty easy to state that our cabin was probably the most stunning rooms I've ever stayed in. They're designed in the shape of a telescope, with a giant front window and simplistic fittings to permit all your focus to be on the center of attention: Mt Fuji. Framed front and centre over the lake is the perfect postcard look at Mt Fuji you could ever expect. I spent the first hour just sat looking out inside a Fuji-induced coma. Everything relating to this room has been thought through; whether it is the large mountain-facing shower and bath, the dimmable lights, the rugs, slippers, chairs and soft Japanese pyjamas. The actual hero, however, may be the balcony. Every cabin includes its own balcony filled with what I can only call a heated sofa duvet device (keep in mind they are just for the cold months), meaning you can stay night and day outside watching among the great wonders around the globe.
HOSHINOYA Fuji Resort: The Amenities
Some guests might want to just do that, and i am sure would leave happy. However, there's plenty more about offer at HOSHINOYA Fuji. After waking up from our Fuji coma we walked up through the forest towards the ‘Cloud Terrace’ perched around the hill encompassed by Japanese pines. In route up I mustered what little outdoor skills I possess, and chopped some wood fairly convincingly (among the free activities).
We reached the library just in time for tea. Teas are an extremely brilliant mixture of Japanese teas, English-style mini scones with cream, jam and basil pesto (?) as well as marshmallows, chocolates, and biscuits ready to make American S’mores on the fire. It's a multinational feast and plenty of fun too. The eating didn't end there, we were booked right into a smoking class in the forest. No, not that kind, however the kind you may do around the British coast. It is really an additional activity that involves smoking a variety of cheese, nuts, fish, and meat in your own mini smoking oven. We chose a whiskey smoke which gave the food an abundant sweet flavour. For anybody who has eaten smoked food before, this isn't revolutionary stuff but it is nice the same. That left us just in time before dinner to check out the final complimentary activity. Back in the Cloud Terrace marshmallows have been replaced with broad beans. Cooked around the fire until blackened on the exterior the broad beans in the centre go perfectly with a glass of local wine.
HOSHINOYA Fuji Resort: The Food
Dinner in the resort is available in two forms: there is the mountain restaurant including a grilling station where chefs prepare and cook selected meat in front of you, but as i was only there for just one night and I only fancied eating one dinner, we tried their latest dining experience – the Forest Kitchen.
I can only describe the Forest Kitchen as a lavish five-course meal set amongst the red pines. You ‘prepare your own food’ in a dutch oven using wild game meat caught by local hunters. Eating outside in a forest has the potential to be cold but because expected, they've considered everything. In addition to wearing large coats (provided within the room) we were given rugs, a heater and, yep, the table was fitted with a duvet and heater for our legs. We were possibly the warmest people in Japan.
Outside amongst the trees under Mt Fuji is hard to conquer with regards to restaurant settings and the food didn't disappoint either. The menu is really a mixture of Japanese and Western flavours with dishes which range from risotto to trout caught from the nearby lake. The extent we truly 'cooked' anything ourselves is debatable (the very first course involved us spooning some parmesan onto a dish before it continued the flame), but when I possibly could cook anything this well I'd be immensely proud. Every course was matched having a delicious, again local, wine (who knew there was such good rose in Japan?) and that we wound up with believing that we'd consumed a really once-in-a-lifetime meal. We wandered back into the forest to hear live music before heading back to our cabin.
HOSHINOYA Fuji Resort: Activities
One observation at the end of the very first day: we were brought to various 'Glamping Masters' who contributed to all of these activities – I wondered if the term 'glamping' became slightly lost in translation. In the end, how on earth do you even train to become a glamping master? From things i will easily notice the program might involve game meat searing, champagne popping with an additional masters in neat furniture arranging. It did sometimes 'glamp my style' with a sense that glamping had come to mean camping, but where things are done for you or someone is there to let you know exactly how to get it done. An example of this came throughout the afternoon session of marshmallow roasting where my companion was politely informed that they, actually, wasn't holding her marshmallow at an optimum distance from the fire pit, which risked burning it. This isn't to be critical from the staff who have been all incredibly kind and warm and there is without doubt that many of those who visit here not just such as this level of service, they expect it. For additional adventurous travelers just be aware; it is a five-star hotel, expect five-star amounts of fuss.
No more was this the situation in the following day’s morning canoeing (another additional extra). The activity, which costs around lb20 per person, kicks off at 6.50am. Normally that could be a pain, but getting out of bed to that particular view each morning (especially that early once the conditions are light and also at their finest) is all about as painful like a tax rebate. The issue is the majority of us Brits have probably canoed at least once before. Otherwise, I’m sure we're able to all get it in some paddles. What ought to be an incredible experience is slightly crowded out with safety briefings, lessons on getting in, lessons on paddling and, importantly, lessons on getting out. Overall we spent probably half an hour of the two-hour activity actually around the lake. Yes, those were thirty-eye-popping-pinch-yourself-lake-next-to Mt Fuji minutes, but nonetheless part of me wanted to create a distraction and liberate in the instructor and paddle vigorously in to the distance. Was it worth it? The photo above hopefully answers that, I just wish we'd amped on the glamp on this one.
HOSHINOYA Fuji Resort: Breakfast
Our stay led to the easiest way possible – a breakfast of warm bread, yogurts, jams, and soup all served around the world's warmest balcony with that never-gets-boring look at Mt Fuji. Reading the papers and relaxing in the sun's rays I'm wondering why anyone ever leaves their rooms. Overall I would definitely recommend a remain at Hosinoya in Fuji. The prices are steep, so stay for one night as well as for something truly special. If it does stretch your budget i quickly indicate cutting out a few of the additional activities, in the end, searching your window is free and there's no better place in the planet to achieve that.