After just an hour’s drive, visitors can arrive at a second accommodation in the mid-afternoon — which is ideal as it gives us an opportunity to try out several of the activities at Japan’s newest “glamping” resort. Fujino Kirameki opened this spring and is a stunning amalgamation of “glamourous” and “camping.” Twenty cabins have been sited on a slope that looks towards Lake Kawaguchi and, rising majestically beyond it, Mount Fuji. Even at the height of summer, there are still patches of snow and ice visible on its highest reaches and, after the sun has set, it is possible to see snakes of light inching higher up its flanks as hiker’s ascent through the hours of darkness to see the sun rise from the peak. The cabins are a series of steel shipping containers that have undergone a dramatic makeover to create spacious and luxurious rooms. The decked area between the two separate sides is large enough for a gas-fired barbecue and a table that easily seats four. Dinner includes a selection of starters made with local ingredients, such as camembert cheese with blueberry jam and prosciutto with pork from nearby Gotemba. The trout are from the nearby Fuji River and the mushrooms grew not far off. The squid and shrimp for the fish course are not local, but are delicious nonetheless, while the tomahawk steak sizzles satisfyingly on the grill before being served. A hammock can be set up on the lawn outside and seems to be something of a magnet for dragonflies, while a steel cauldron is set up by the staff outside the entrance and a log fire is lit as the sun is going down. Perfect for roasting marshmallows and watching the stars in the velvety sky. The final touch before bed is a long soak in the whirlpool bath on the deck with a chilled glass of wine.
HOW TO GET TO HAKONE How to get there from Guam: United Airlines has direct flights to Tokyo’s Narita International Airport for around $633, while several other carriers — Philippines Airlines, Korean Air and Jeju Air — have flights that include stopovers. Travel time from Guam: The flight from Guam to Narita Airport is just less than four hours. A hire car from the airport direct to Hakone takes 2.5 hours. Currency and conversion rate: $1 is 111.32 yen. Best time to go: Spring and autumn are the best times of the year to visit Hakone. The air is cool and crisp at both times of the year, with cherry blossom out in the earlier part of the year and the mountainsides taking on the golds, reds and russets of the fall from early October. The summer months are less humid than elsewhere in Japan, thanks to the altitude, but it can still get muggy. Winters are cold with snow on the ground. Where to stay: Hakone Tenyu: https://www.hakone-tenyu.com/en-us and +81 460 82 5111 Fujino Kirameki: https://www.fu-ji-no.jp/kirameki/en/index.html and +81 55075 9111 Must do: Take a cruise on Lake Hakone: https://www.hakone-kankosen.co.jp/foreign/en/ Take a cable car to the Sulphur fields of the Owakudani crater http://www.hakoneropeway.co.jp/foreign/en/ Visit the Okada Museum of Art: http://www.okada-museum.com/en/ explore history at the Hakone Sekisho checkpoint: http://www.hakonesekisyo.jp/english/main/main.html
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