Sunday, January 15, 2017

Hakone family getaway...

January 6th, still during our winter break, our family went to Hakone for an overnight trip there. To relax and to enjoy the natural hot springs/onsen. Our family always stays at the same hotel every time we go there because we love this hotel. It's so clean. The people who work there are so nice and friendly. The meals are delicious and very foreign friendly. I enjoy the western breakfasts there very much. :) 

I tried to take a pic of the front of the hotel but a truck was there making a delivery. 
The New Years bamboo decorations at the front of the hotel. We entered the hotel and they warmly greeted us... took my suitcase and we checked in and picked from the 3 choices of breakfast at the check-in for the next days breakfast, yes you pick the day beforehand and I like that. You have a choice of a ham and cheese sandwich or a fresh bread plate or risotto. And then the bell boy took us to our room, he wheeled my suitcase to the room. And we just had an amazing check in as always. : )
Our 2 bedroom room, 1 half is western with 2 single beds. Noboru and Noah enjoying looking outside at all the mountains and nature.

And the other half is tatami and there will be futons laid out by the staff later in the evening.

You can see my really large plaid tote in the background. My Jansport backpack as well. And my hibiscus suitcase. 

The fridge got bigger since last time. Nice! : )

Our hotel looks like a French chalet. Hahaha. : ) It's so beautiful up here in the mountains.Not sure if you can see...maybe not. But down below on the first floor outside is the rotenburo/outside hot spring. There is a very good and tall bamboo wall for privacy so it is impossible to see inside which is peace of mind when you are soaking outside. I soaked in the girls side for a full 70 minutes.... later that night. Cooling off by getting out and then getting back in of course. But wow...super relaxing.  

So many amenities in the restroom inside our hotel room. Like toothbrush. Razor. Shower cap. Pony tail holder, because for women you need to keep your hair out of the hot springs. 

Toilet in our room... super clean and this was on it. They just...take such great care of this hotel!

Inside the hotel and where we will be eating our breakfast the next morning.: )

After relaxing at the hotel. We went to dinner. Oh and...we usually go to the Yunnesan hot springs place but we were very disappointed the last time we went, so we did not go this time and we didn't miss it at all. On our way to dinner. 

Our favorite restaurant in Hakone is called Auntie Pasta. And what a fun name, love the play on words. We always forget the name though. Perhaps we just go to.... too many Italian restaurants to remember the name to this particular place. Or perhaps we only go here once a year it's not on the priority of...names of places we need to remember. But anyhow...we love this place.

The staff here is always so nice. So friendly. The pizza here is excellent.

The spicy tomato and garlic pasta. We all ordered this one. Absolutely amazing pasta!

The kids enjoying their dinner. Both Branden and Noah had cokes with dinner. There are free coupons for drinks... it said this in Japanese at the restaurant the blurb about free drink coupon available if you have your cell phone. Noboru used the coupon for the drinks. Which is smart considering the sodas would have been 300 yen each. So super smart husband! :) 

Noboru had a ginger ale and I had a coke. Dinner was amazing and we all left very full. : )

We snapped this picture after dinner. And then we went to the conbini (convenience store) to get snacks and drinks for the hotel room for later that night.

The futons were all nicely laid out. The kids were unwinding. Noboru and I were also in the tatami room watching Japanese TV. 

Nobody had any snacks until... after we got back from the onsen downstairs. I did however drink a hot coffee. The weather in Hakone super cold. 

About to go and enjoy the onsen/natural hot springs downstairs in our hotel. We all agreed to meet outside of the onsen area in 90 minutes. 1 hour and a half. We 4 all walked downstairs in yukata. All the shampoos/conditioners and face washes are all downstairs to use as guests of the hotel. I shampooed my hair super well. I washed my face and body. And I then put my hair up in a twist and a claw clip. And I soaked in the rotenburo/outside hot spring for about 70 minutes. I did shower for a good 7 minutes first before my soak. And then I went back inside and conditioned my hair. Then I clipped my hair up again. And then I soaked in the hot spring inside for the remainder of time. And then I went and got dressed and met my family outside. They were all nicely showered and soaked. And we 4 got into an elevator. There was a Japanese man and woman in the elevator in their mid 50's, married couple. We at first told them they could take the elevator and we'd wait for the next one, not a problem... but he insisted and said in English...please please. So we entered. He started speaking English to me in the elevator as soon as we got in. He said, "where are you from?" I said "I'm from America" And I smiled. Yes I am wearing yukata and since I just got out of a very long bath...I have not a stitch of makeup on and have rosy cheeks. He loved that I was from America. He then said, "where in America?"...I said..."Denver, Colorado" You could tell by his face he had absolutely no idea where that was, but that was okay. I like genki curious talkative people. : ) The door rang and we were on the 4th floor, the highest floor and we all exited. He and his wife said good night to us and we said the same. What nice people! : )

We all stood awake passed 11pm. Just relaxing in our room. The kids and Noboru ate and enjoyed snacks. I had my jasmine tea. And enjoyed the TV and the chatter in the room. Good night kids. 

Good night everyone. I'm off to dreamland now... At 6:30am my alarm went off. I woke up and peed. Washed my hands. Brushed my teeth. Then washed my face with my face wash and a hot steaming wash cloth. Then I put my Olay face moisturizer on. Went and got dressed. Then everyone woke up. And everyone went to the bathroom, then brushed their teeth and the 3 guys, Noboru, Branden and Noah went to soak in the onsen from 7am to 8am. They were gone a full hour. I on the other hand had a full hour to get ready for the day. Nice! : ) I didn't need that long. When they left I put my makeup on. It took me like 15 minutes. I can put it on faster, but since I knew I had time, I took my time. I then flat ironed my hair. And after that. I folded the kids futons in half. And I waited for the fam-bam to get back to the room. They came into the room wearing yukata and they dressed quickly for breakfast. 

Beautiful napkin, I noticed you. : )

The drinks are all in the center of the dining room. Unlimited hot fresh brewed coffee. Apple juice, mikan juice and milk. The first course. A huge fresh salad with a vinaigrette dressing. Mashed potatoes. The 2 sausages and the onsen egg in the little ramekin, I did not eat the onsen egg or sausages. But the salad was stellar! And the fresh fruit in the upper left hand corner was fantastic. 

Fresh lightly toasted bakery bread and rolls with butter and jam. And Noboru's ham sandwich in the top. Noboru asked me, do you wanna share/split our breads? I said for sure! So, I had half of his ham and cheese and he had half of the breads. The waiters speak English. Not 100% fluent English but pretty good. They spoke to me in English the entire time and the kids. There was also an older western couple vacationing from someplace English speaking. They and I good morning-ed each other while we filled up our drinks. So wonderful wait staff trying very hard to speak to their western visitors. Their efforts don't go unnoticed. I noticed and appreciated how hard they try! Love this hotel! : )

Noboru went to get some juice and the 1 Japanese woman server spoke to him in English and Noboru speaks to all Japanese persons in Japanese. So he came back to the table telling me...they don't know WHICH language to speak to me! He chuckled about it and he took it all in good fun. He knows that international couples...sometimes confuse folks...meaning which language should they speak to us etc etc. So he didn't mind.  Hahaha. : ) So the staff spoke to Noboru in Japanese. They spoke to me in English and the kids in English. I could go either way and the kids can too, know....we're flexible. And hey...they were a super nice staff and they were *trying*. If I were to speak to them in Japanese that maybe could have discouraged them. So, I used easy English with them and I did tell them how wonderful they are doing when we left : ). They said they appreciated hearing that. Perhaps they're prepping for the upcoming Olympics. : )

Noah drinking his minestrone soup. The kids breakfast meal was french toast along with salad and fresh fruit and all sorts of yummy things. Branden hotel-wise is no longer a kid, so he had the delicious ham and cheese sandwich and all the amazing side dishes that came with an adult meal. See Bran's empty milk glass. My kids always gravitate towards milk. Especially Branden. He loves the taste of milk and he drinks tons of it here at home...or anywhere. Anyway...this is only part of our Hakone trip. I will be posting another post later in a day or two. It's just we did a lot and I have a lot of pictures and stories to share with you, so it's best to cut the Hakone posts in 2.