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“Lovely cosy ryokan”
Review of Lalaca

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Lalaca
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 3, 2012

Lalaca is a fantastic cosy place, really loved their warm hospitality. They took time to explain how everything worked in the hotel. Unlike a bigger setup, in a small ryokan there was a lot of attention to details & guests needs. English is limited, just email to them - Kazu will help you, there are a few others who also speak English and everybody is always smiley and would go the extra mile to help you settle in.

Lalaca is in Gora - that is the middle of Hakone which is best, all the different modes of transportation are located at Gora station. You will be surprised at the cost difference - saved quite a bit between a hotel just at Gora station entrance, and a 10 mins slow stroll to Lalaca Hotel. Have a good look at their logo (the flower) to help navigate to their place. ... there is a slope on the way up to the hotel :o P but it is all worth it when you get there. When unsure don’t hesitate to ask anybody, Hakone residents are always so friendly & helpful. Hakone is not an easy place for big luggage in general, we left our luggage in Tokyo hotel and went with an overnight hand carry bag.

The walls are great you get a restful night, in the morning only after you open the curtains & sliding window you can hear birds singing outside. View is lovely with the trees and mountains in the distance.
The room was extremely spacious compared to the city hotels and the mattresses were so comfortable! Everything is new and sparkly clean. You must try the tea which you can make in your room, the tea offered was of high quality, take a whiff of the tea leaves when you open the box you will know what I mean :o ) I also bought a box of thin sesame waffers from lalaca to bring home for family because they are so light & tasty.
In your request you could ask for a toilet in your room. If you like shower facilities in your room please also ask (modern shower ... pretty state of the art creation).

Outdoor Hot Spring is available for 30 mins per room for own booking. We were lucky the previous couple left 15 mins prior their finish time. You love this treat, really relaxing dip after dinner. There was also a few massage chairs for guests use (free).

We didn't opt to have dinner in the room, just come out to the dinning area. The placement is good so you see other diners but there is still privacy. I notice there were different food menu for other tables - maybe that was their 2nd night. A staff will make time to explain each dish and how to eat the food (certain food/s could be a first time experience for foreigners, especially so if you are not Japanese) so that you have a great ryokan meal experience, dinner is like 20+ different dishes in small portions so that you get something of everything. Vegetarian food is available. All food is freshly prepared, you can taste the difference. This is the best meal we had during our 1 week Japan holiday. Drinks from menu to enjoy with your dinner is also available – we had a lovely prune sweet sour soda & local Japanese beer. Next morning’s breakfast was also lovely – a 10+ dish spread (to be honest I lost count) with a small portion of everything. Rice is always presented in a lovely lanquered covered bowl at the side so rice is always warm and you can take the amount you like. Warm rice is always comforting. For foreigners not used to such a sumptuous spread there is always toasted bread. Anyway you will need the energy to enjoy Hakone till lunch time. I like the presentation & portion of all the foods, it shows the care & pride given by the chef to offer the best. It is like a feast for the eyes, then the nose & finally you savour the food ….

I would recommend this place for a 1st time experience in a ryokan and to enjoy Hakone, this is a happy town away from the busy hectic urban life. It is a great place for family excursions (elderly as well as the young) & romantic place for honeymooners too :o )

Room Tip: Do go with western room with shower facilities
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  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank neoneochan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 2, 2011

Amazing food, gorgeous hot springs, great scenery, traditional Japanese tatami rooms, good location, you name it, Lalaca has it.

We stayed here for one night as a transit stop in Hakone and we regret not spending another night here. The standard package included dinner and breakfast, and these were the best meals we had during our whole trip in Japan. It was clear they used the freshest ingredients, and the kaiseki meal they provided had so much variety, we were pleasantly amazed. Make sure you don't eat much on the day when you have dinner here, as they serve you so much food, you will struggle to finish it.

The room was large with a nice view, everything looked very new and clean, and they would lay out the futon for sleeping during dinner, and tidy them away when you have breakfast to maximise your use of space. The room has a sink and toilet, so the only criticism is that they have ensuite bathroom for japanese style rooms. You can however use the public bathrooms, or opt for a western style room which does have ensuite bathroom.

The hotel has in house hot springs which is always a nice treat, and you could reserve one for half an hour private use in the evening which is an extra bonus. The outdoor hot springs has a nice view during the day, but the indoor ones are a bit small particularly during the busy season when they quite popular.

The hotel is a short distance from Gora station which is a nice stop on the round trip in Hakone, but the walk up to the hotel requires going through an underpass (with stairs), then a steep climb up a hill, so wouldn't suggest it if you have large luggage. You can take an extra stop on the tram and walk from there.

The staff here were very friendly and helpful, although maybe not as attentive as the more exclusive traditional ryokans, which for us worked out fine as you were free to do your own thing without someone following you around, or saying things in Japanese to you everywhere you went.

  • Stayed: December 2010
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5  Thank Peridot28
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 30, 2010

Stayed at Lalaca for 2 nights and yes, I agree with the reviewers that Kazu was helpful, the lobby area was very picturesque with full glass windows looking out to the trees and a very scenic view.

What we were disappointed with was really where our room was situated. We knew we were going to get a room where we couldn't open the windows and that was fine but we didn't know that we were going to be situated in the basement right about where folks hang around after their onsen to chat and smoke. It got quite noisy on our 2nd night there although the 1st night was ok.

Also I appreciated the efforts that Lalaca took to vary the menu since we would otherwise have the same meals both days. To be honest, their shaby shabu was so good, we would have taken that for both nights (gladly). We were a little disappointed with our 2nd night's meal.

Lastly, the booking for the private onsen time ... is only just that. Whether you get to enjoy the rontenburo or not is a different matter altogether, and depends on whether those in front of you get out in time. We had a 9.00pm reservation but the Taiwanese family came out only at 9.15pm which meant that we didn't get to enjoy it a 2nd time round.

I guess whilst nothing is wrong with the hotel per se, the experience is only as good as the owners and other stayers make it. My experience was marred by the other inconsiderate guests as well as the fact that we weren't informed that our room was where the smoking area is!

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled with friends
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7  Thank glotraveller_8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 10, 2010

Stayed here for 2 nights after extensively researching on TA. Yes it is expensive but it is worth it.
Emailed kasu, the owner via their website and made the booking for a japanese/western room since it is a bigger room with a raised bed and a shower. He was extremely helpful and managed to take into account my wife's vegetarian request which not many places were able to do. You do need to put a deposit about a month before your stay via paypal.
To get to it you can walk uphill from gora station or take the funicular one stop from gora and walk for about 5 minutes.It is actually quite easy to get to.
The place is in a beautiful setting and the room was fantastic.It has all the amenities you need. You leave your shoes in the entrance and are provided with slippers.
The included japanese breakfast and dinner was spectacular and the hostess explained everything in english to us which was excellent. Also they provided us with different food for the 2 nights including breakfast which was nice.
They have a male and female onsen which are free and a family onsen which is outside which can be booked for 30 mins per day per room free of charge.
I can thoroughly recommend it!!!

  • Stayed: October 2010, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank dselvan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 24, 2010

We booked Lalaca as we wanted to try out a Ryokan and see the lakes and Mt Fuji. Tripadvisor reviews suggested this was an easy introduction to a traditional style ryokan with an onsen bath.

We expected a basic Japanese “bed & breakfast” establishment, the price seemed very reasonable for dinner, bed and a full Japanese breakfast so our expectations were not particularly high. The hospitality and the quality of the food were exceptional and at the end of our far too short two nights I felt I had stayed with friends who were excellent caterers! Neither of us wanted to leave.

Our room was spacious and sparsely furnished. It had a sink and toilet, but no shower as at the time we booked the western rooms had already gone. We showered in the onsen area which was an experience in itself.

The stone onsen we used looked out onto the hills so we bathed under moonlight. Because of this there is always the chance of wildlife – and we were joined on one night by a hapless moth! But this just added to the charm.

Kazu spent time explaining how the onsen booking worked and the protocol for showering etc. Over dinner he also explained what food went with what and how to cook the table top barbeque. In all of our dealings with Kazu and the other staff we felt there was a genuine concern that we enjoyed our stay.

Clearly this is not a Hyatt hotel, it is a small family run hotel with an onsen. It does not have 5* spa facilities, but very charming wood and stone onsens in clean and well thought-out rooms. It felt much like a Swiss style building, built onto the slope of a hill with the onsen on the lower floor looking out onto the hills without being overlooked by neighbouring properties. The staff were very attentive, and Kazu took great care of us and spoke very good English. I would recommend Lalaca to anyone who wanted an introduction to onsen ryokan

Getting there

Kazu sent us a very helpful map and a warning not to walk up the hill from Gora station! We did walk back on the second evening and even without cases this was a steep hill in 33C heat.

We had taken the Shinkansen to Odawara and a helpful information office sold us two rail passes for all of the transport in the Hakone area – this was a really great deal, as the local train / bus / cable car / ropeway services are not covered by the JR pass. This got us to Hakone and then on to Gora on a delightful switchback railway. From Gora we took the cable car to the first stop and leaving the car on the right hand side we walked the short distance to the ryokan. Kazu’s map was very helpful and the sign, whose first character looks like a sunflower was easy to spot.

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank telcotraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 7, 2010

This place was great. The hotel is very easily accessible from the cable car station. I believe you can alight either at Gora or the station before Gora. It takes only abt 5 mins to reach the hotel from the station.

The food was great too and the staff are very very friendly and polite (as with most of the Japan service staff). The place also give a very good onsen experience. The owner of lalaca will explain to you abt the proper procedures for onsen in Japan.

Overall, the experience was great. A slight down side is the cost but I guess it is worth due to the wonderful experience.

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank yrrwys
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 19, 2010

We booked Lalaca after reading these wonderful reviews here on Trip Advisor and we were absolutely satisfied!

After stressful weeks in Tokyo and Niigata we stayed in Lalaca for 2 nights with dinner and breakfast included both nights (May 2010). It was the best of the 4 hotels we stayed at during our trip. We asked the staff at Gora station and they pointed out Lalaca for us on a map. It was only a short 5 minute walk from the station.

When we entered, we were blown away by the beautiful view of the mountains from the lobby. The staff was extremely helpful and polite to us, catering to our every need. (Bringing up ice to our room, carrying our luggage, explaining the sights and Onsen-themeparks etc). The Japanese style tatami-room was very spacious, the biggest of our trip, and the view from the window was spectacular. Everything was very clean.

The onsen in this ryokan/hotel was very nice, with milky white water. It was possible to book the private outdoor onsen for free (each room could book only half an hour per night, so all the rooms got the chance to book), and we did both nights. Amazing!

The best part of Lalaca is the spectacular food. For dinner I got shabu-shabu, a stew in which you cook your own pork. We got several delicate appetizers, as well as fried fish and tempura. The food just keeps on coming! One of us is vegetarian, and because we had notified the staff of this they made a special vegetarian course for my partner. Instead of simply removing the fish and meat they had come up with different dishes with mushrooms and noodles, all of which were beautiful and delicious. Great service!

My only complaint is the fact that the restaurant looked a bit like a school cafeteria. They should perhaps tone down the lights and get some candlelight to make it more cozy.

There is plenty of sightseeing near the hotel, including a hot spring theme park named Yunessun (5 min by bus), the cable car and ropeway to lake Ashi as well as a wonderful outdoor museum with quirky figures and sculptures.

When I go back to Japan in the future, I will plan my trip so that I can return to Lalaca!

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Traveling_Norwegian3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Lalaca

Address: 1320-270 Gora, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun 250-0408, Kanagawa Prefecture
Location: Japan > Kanto > Kanagawa Prefecture > Ashigarashimo-gun > Hakone-machi > Gora Onsen
Hotel Style:
#23 Best Value Hotel in Hakone-machi
#33 Top resorts Hotel in Hakone-machi
Price Range: $251 - $672 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Lalaca 3.5*
Number of rooms: 10
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Also Known As:
Lalaca Hotel Hakone-Machi

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