Japan’s mini-boom of ‘book-lovers’ hotels’ goes large scale with Hakone Honbako (meaning ‘Hakone bookcase’), a boutique-style accommodation themed around the joy of discovering new reads. The rooms are kitted out with bookshelves containing an eclectic selection of titles, drawn from Hakone Honbako’s collection of around 12,000 books. The rest of these tomes are spread out across a space that feels like the most luxurious library imaginable, replete with classic mid-century modern furnishings and huge picture windows looking out over the surrounding mountains. All books are available to purchase, and though most are Japanese-language, a selection of art and photography books transcends any language barriers.
As with many of the town’s more traditional hotels and ryokan (inns), Hakone Honbako is a self-contained resort also housing a restaurant (a suitably upscale affair specialising in organic Italian dishes) and its own onsen baths including the outdoor rotenburo. There’s also a zakka lifestyle shop, café and coworking space, with selected facilities open to daytime visitors as well as staying guests.
From Hakone-Yumoto Station, the hotel is about 35 minutes way on the Izu Hakone bus. You can also get there via the local Hakone Tozan Cable Car – alight at Naka-Gora Station.