“Enveloped in nature, nurtured by the soil, surrounded by beauty, this harmonious world is epitome of luxury in today’s Japan.” The Ryokan Collection
Part of the prestigious Ryokan Collection, Fufu Kawaguchiko is tucked away in the forest overlooking Lake Kawaguchi with a backdrop of Mount Fuji. This small luxury mountain resort and contemporary Ryokan offers guests Japanese traditions with a modern twist, impeccable service and fine dining.
Fufu has a back to nature approach akin to a forest lodge but with the added advantages of modern technology such as heated floors and a bioethanol (renewable energy source) fires to combat the harsh Japanese winters. The resort embraces its locality, the neutral palette uses all-natural materials like the wood cleared from the construction site and volcanic rock lining the onsens. An abundance of plants and greenery throughout the resort mirrors the outside that’s seamlessly blended with the interior via an expanse of floor-to-ceiling glass windows.
The lobby is a living forest with seating surrounded by botanicals, the large outdoor communal terrace area has comfy seating and fire-pits. There are four gazebos dotted around the garden for relaxing outdoors in good weather, a perfect place to sit and breathe in the fresh mountain air. We were there at the beginning of October so the trees were tinged with the first colours of Autumn.
Thirty-two spacious suites of varying sizes are spread over four floors, each one offers lake and mountain views. We stayed in a Kozue Precious Suite, a tastefully designed, spacious room with two double beds, lounge area with a flat screen TV, Blu-ray player, bluetooth speaker, humidifier, desk and a bioethanol fireplace. Tea and coffee making amenities were provided as well as Japanese cakes and free beer in the mini bar. Room service included the rather unusual bear curry, a first for us on any hotel menu, of course the other half had to sample it.
A large outdoor terrace has additional seating and floor-to-ceiling glass doors that fully retract to transform the whole room into an open-air space. The private open-air natural hot spring bath (onsen) is lined with volcanic stone from Mount Fuji. Additional features include a separate washroom with an electronic toilet (the lid lift and closes automatically, the seat is warmed, there’s discreet waterfall sounds, and it has washing, drying and water massage options), walk-in shower and Dyson hairdryer.
Japanese style roomwear (pyjamas) and Haori’s (kimono-style jacket) are provided for guests comfort while in resort as well a selection of organic toiletries including face lotions. As per Japanese custom, in-room slippers are provided as outdoor shoes are not permitted inside the rooms to minimise contamination from outside to indoor living areas.
The resort has one restaurant, Yamanoha and its motto is ‘Savor the moment while sampling the flavors of the forest’. It features a modern glass fronted open kitchen with tiered seating so that all guests can enjoy the stunning lake and mountain views during breakfast and the illuminated garden at night. A traditional Japanese breakfast is served every morning, regional dishes such as vegetable soup, Japanese yams, Jiyoran eggs, gratin with natto (fermented soy beans) and rice cooked on the wood-burning kamado stove. If you prefer something a little more Western (like myself) you can request coffee and toasted Japanese bread which is delicious.
There are private dining rooms where we sampled a kaiseki dinner, a multi-course fine dining experience with live cooking at the table. The menu was interesting, modern Japanese dishes that showcased locally produced, seasonal ingredients prepared using wood, fire, and volcanic stone. Unusual dishes as raw sea urchin, foie gras custard, jellyfish and Fuji pork cooked on lava stone were served along with many ingredients that were new to us.
The hotel messaged me prior to arrival for any dietary requirements and to reserve a dinner slot, they also prepared a separate vegetarian menu just for me. We sampled a few glasses of fantastic white wine and while it was delicious, it was as expected at this calibre of hotel, overly pricey. Beer and a selection of sake is also available to accompany the meal.
A stunning bar and lounge area leads onto the lobby terrace but unfortunately the nightly fires were not lit during our stay due to inclement weather. As well as the private onsens in the suites, the resort has a public wellness area with separate male and female hot spring baths. There’s also a Finnish-style dry sauna in the men’s area and a skin-soothing mist sauna in the female section. As with all Japanese baths guests are required to enter these facilities butt naked, it’s all about personal choice. Mini fridges are stocked with complimentary beer, soft drinks and ice-creams.
In-room spa by Sisley treatments are available including facials, massages and body treatments. Electric bikes can be used to explore the local area. Guests can also book a variety of activities including nature tours, Mount Fuji hikes, canoing on Lake Kawaguchiko and local handicraft workshops.
Staying at Fufu Kawaguchiko is a unique experience, where a back to nature approach meets modern luxury, it really is an immaculate resort inside and out. A modern Ryokan located in an area of natural beauty that’s definitely a box-ticker.
The Nitty Gritty
Fufu Kawaguchiko, 2211-1 Mizuguchi, Kawaguchi-Aza, Fuji-Kawaguchiko-Machi, Minamitsuru-Gun, Yamanashi, 401-0304, Japan
Spacious, luxury accommodation
Picturesque vista over the Lake Kawaguchiko and Mount Fuji
Private Onsen and wellness facilities
Breakfast and dinner included in the room rate.
Free & fast wifi
The Not so Good…..
Leaves quite a dent in your wallet
About a 20 minute bus ride or 10+ minutes taxi ride from Kawaguchiko station
Limited English speaking reception staff
Read more about Japan in previous post In Pictures | A Postcard From Japan, Discover Japan | Nagoya, Discover Japan | Kyoto, Discover Japan | Osaka, Discover Japan | Hiroshima and Discover Japan | Kawaguchiko
The views in this post are all my own based on my experience. Unless otherwise stated all photos © Jo Brett 2019. All rights reserved. Additional photos used with courtesy of Fufu Kawaguchiko