We whirlwind-ed our way through a short Japanese excursion and christ, I realized that city travel with two small children ain’t no cup of tea. I’m motivated to travel with these guys, REALLY motivated, BUT, if that meant subway, cab, and training it for weeks on end through bustling metropolises, I might throw in my towel. With that said, our short and sweet Japanese getaway was splendid and definitely made me want to see MORE of Japan.
First, I’ll get my Hyatt tangent out of the way, or not (see below). We opted for the Hyatt Regency Tokyo over the Park Hyatt, even though I longed to feel like Scarlet Johanssen in Lost in Translation (figured that making friends with Bill Murray would be a long shot and the Regency cost us 7000 points less per night). If you can get past the disconnected, slightly gauty decor of the lobby and the small rooms, the location is convenient (a short walk from Shinjuku Station) and despite the not-so-toddler friendly Regency Club, cocktail hour was delicious.
After a night in Tokyo, we boarded a train bound for Hakone. After 5 hours and three train changes, we arrived in Gora… the location of Hakone Hyatt Regency Resort and Spa. Like I’ve mentioned before, Hyatts end up defining our family vacations these days (mostly because of my opportunisticly frugal house-wife self) and NONE have I felt more pleased with than http://hakone.regency.hyatt.com. BEAUTIFULLY designed, IMPECCABLY appointed, and SERENELY peaceful. Which was more than welcomed after being told by the ubber polite receptionist that no, we could not get a free ride from their shuttle with kids under 6 (to which I bitched and moaned and assumed it was going to be a repressive, sterile concentration camp of a hotel) and that we’d have to take ANOTHER train, over an hour, through switchbacks, up one hell of a mountain. I was grateful, to be real, as that train ride turned out to be quite spectacular: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hakone_Tozan_Line.
Okay, okay. Our trip and correspondingly, this post, is a bit Hyatt-centric (no, I’m not cool enough to be sponsored by them)… but let me get to the best part. Gora, Hyatt Hakone, and Yukata Style. After trying to make our way by stroller up what we found out was a mountain nearly the size of K2 to the hotel, we settled in and went to http://www.gorakadan.com for dinner. Though far more expensive than my frugalness had hoped to spend on dinner, we dined in a private room on a coursed meal of fresh Japanese dishes and it was all made worthwhile when we were offered a ride back to our hotel in a sick Mercedes. Ballers. Staying at the Hyatt only because we could for free, with hotel points. Double ballers.
During a personal tour through our immaculate room, we were told about this Yucuta Style and its suggested uses around the hotel. We were told that we could/should (I’m still not sure) wear our Yucuta’s in all of the communal hotel spaces. And so, we did as we were told. Which meant that we were among a very small handful of people who executed our orders (or suggestions, I can’t be sure). So here we are, four VERY obvious causasian folks, decked to the gills in our Japanese gear. I almost felt like I was mocking the culture because of my eager naivety to embrace the style. If we wouldn’t have been bringing it with our bells on, though, the world would be denied these epic-ly cute photos.
After the most relaxing of days (the hotel had a hot springs, called an Onsen – gender separated, clothing not-not optional – and to which there was a very specific ritual surrounding), we headed back to HOLY-SHIT-NOW-I-KNOW-WHAT-MAXIMUM-CAPACITY-LOOKS-LIKE, Tokyo. And ventured through Shibuya and Harajuku (tear drop, I didn’t get to see the girls). AND FAILED AT MY ATTEMPT TO SEEK OUT THE PLAYGROUNDS OF THE WORLD. Damn me, damn us. We saw a super piddly looking one while exploring through neighborhoods, hardly worth documenting. Next time we’re in Japan, I’ll make it my mission. Assuming that I’m not still in a selfish, lets just make the kids tag along and do whatever we want to do, mentality.
In short, great trip, much too quick but without which, Safari wouldn’t have been able to watch Alvin and the Chipmucks: Chipwrecked, 4 times, start to finish, on the flight home.