Hoshinoya Fuji | Hotel Review
Almost every year since Josh and I met, we’ve spent Valentine’s Day apart. Last year Josh had training out of town, the year before he worked until late in the night but this year we found out that we would not only would get to be together but he would also get a long weekend off. We decided to go away and our idea was to find an amazing hotel that would be an experience to remember. During our search for the perfect place, Josh stumbled upon Hoshinoya Fuji. It was everything we were looking for - a beautiful hotel and location and altogether unique experience. Ignoring the price tag and the fact that it would be a serious trek to get there (a plane, 3 trains and a cab), we thought it would be perfect. And it was. Sometimes trips live up to expectations and sometimes they don’t, but this time every expectation we had was exceeded.
The hotel is built into a mountain next to Lake Kawaguchi. It’s less than 15 miles from Mt. Fuji which is visible from every room at the hotel. Mt. Fuji is more than just the tallest mountain in Japan, it’s a cultural, spiritual and physical symbol of Japan. Its last eruption was in 1707 but it’s an active volcano that sits on 3 tectonic plates and is capable of erupting at any time.
Hundreds of thousands of people visit and climb it every year. I’ve had many friends climb it while living out here but never felt a desire myself. It felt like something you “have” to do while you’re here simply because you have the opportunity. It wasn’t until we got up close to Fuji that I became aware of its beauty and I finally understood why people climb it, why it’s so important to the Japanese and why it’s depicted in art and pictures all over Japan.
The check in spot for the hotel is located at the base of a mountain - from there the only cars that drive up to the hotel are their own Jeeps which will transport you up and down anytime you like. After they drive you up, you’re brought into the lobby. The lobby has floor to ceiling windows with a view out into the pine forest that surrounds the hotel. They brought out tea and a snack of dried fruit while they checked us in and we picked our activities and booked our meal reservations. They have free and paid activities like canoeing on the lake, guided hikes and horseback riding.
As soon as we stepped out of the Jeep the first thing I noticed was the smell of the pine trees. It reminded me of being a kid and going to my grandparents house in northern California. Their house was nestled deep in the trees in a town called Paradise and it smelled exactly the same.
They showed us to our room which was bright and clean with floor to ceiling windows, the floor was heated and there was a bathtub that had its own window and view of Fuji. There was a couch and table as well as a patio with seating and a fire. The room itself would have been enough for us to have an amazing stay regardless of anything else but every other detail of the hotel was thought out perfectly as well.
We told the staff that we were vegan ahead of time and they made sure all our meals were vegan. We had our first dinner on our patio outside of our room. There was a low Japanese style table that was heated underneath so even though it was freezing outside we were so cozy. They brought ingredients for us to make our own meal – udon noodles, tons of vegetables and a soy based pumpkin miso soup. We ate our dinner with the sun setting and Mt. Fuji towering next to us. It was one of our all time favorite dinner dates.
We had breakfast in the dining room the next morning. They again brought us a vegan meal which started with fruit, salad and a warm cinnamon apple juice. Next, we were brought fresh warm bread with all kinds of spreads. Our next course was soup and lastly they brought us some matcha tea.
We spent the day walking, reading by the fire, and exploring the town a little bit. There are some cool stores and restaurants at the base of the hotel. Every afternoon the hotel sets up a hot chocolate bar by the fire with a ton of toppings, there are also hot and cold coffee and teas inside the library with another fire and tons of books. There are always s’mores ingredients by the fire. I guess s’mores are more of an American thing because we had to show a lot of people how to properly make them haha. They had thin biscuits instead of graham crackers but they were really crispy and good! And tiny! Again I was reminded how big everything is in the states compared to Japan.
This was one of the most relaxing weekends we have ever had. If you’re looking for an amazing experience in Japan, this hotel is something you should seriously consider. We are definitely planning on visiting again before we leave Japan!