Kawaguchiko is the perfect weekend getaway for Tokyoites, contrasting the capital’s concrete canyons and breakneck pace with its tranquil namesake lake, birdsong-filled forests and views of Mount Fuji that would have stopped Hokusai in his tracks. And all this within 90 minutes of central Tokyo.
Research has suggested that post-Covid active leisure travelers are more likely to go glamping than to opt for traditional hotel stays. As demand increases, so does the caliber of available options. One of the finest in Kawaguchiko is Glamping Villa Hanz, an adult glamping retreat that opened in June 2020 and focuses on “sophisticated ideas suited to your lifestyle… that will leave you wanting more.” There are many ways to enjoy the area, but there’s something special about sharing a detached cottage or villa with your loved ones, family, closest friends or colleagues.
Sound intriguing? Read on to see what makes Villa Glamping Hanz stand out from the crowd.
Admire The Goddess Mother of Japan
The old Tibetan word for Mount Everest, Chomolungma, means “Goddess Mother of the Earth.” Applying this same logic to one of its east Asian neighbors would make Mount Fuji the “Goddess Mother of Japan,” and she certainly presides over Kawaguchiko with divine grandeur. Worshipped since time immemorial and welcoming ascetic pilgrims since at least the 7th century, Mount Fuji is a tangible element of local folklore, embodying Japan’s traditional reverence for the natural world.
Positioned at the foot of Mount Fuji, Glamping Villa Hanz offers unimpeded views of the 3,776-meter high stratovolcano and the rivulets of snow that appear to trickle down the grooves on her peak. Viewing conditions tend to be at their best between November and March when clear blue skies frame the mountain.
Choose Your Own Glamping Option
There are two premium accommodation plans at Glamping Villa Hanz: Villa and Guesthouse.
There are 20 villas studded around the property, each fronted by a terrace where you can enjoy the passing sounds of Japanese nature or gaze at the star-filled firmament after dark. The villa interiors are a seamless combo of rustic and elegant: each is equipped with a wood-burning stove and a loft with a hammock. The designers at Glamping Villa Hanz dared to go with animal-fur beddings and sleeping bags for an indoor-outdoor luxurious feel.
Each villa also comes equipped with its own sunken jacuzzi, which guests can of course use to decompress, but also as a foot bath while enjoying the night sky.
Guests can enjoy complimentary coffee and drip sets, said to taste exceptionally delicious when prepared with vanadium-rich water. Luckily, Glamping Villa Hanz’s water is pumped from the grounds of nearby Mount Fuji. For sustenance, crank open the terrace BBQ and tuck into a flame-grilled dinner in view of the night sky. Enjoy quality meats and vegetables, and take your pick from a variety of appetizers from the buffet.
Traditionalists may prefer the thatched-roof guesthouse, a gentrified building from Niigata Prefecture relocated to the more southern climes of Kawaguchiko. The 263-square-meter cottage has five twin bedrooms, which can accommodate up to 10 guests, shower booths and an outdoor jacuzzi. The indoor space has a timber-and-stone, mountain-man feel, with splashes of modern art and plush furnishings. A party of guests can also enjoy auberge-style dining around the house’s sunken hearth, where a professional chef will entertain the diners. For more information or questions about the dining options, guests can consult Glamping Villa Hanz staff upon arrival. Please note that guests are not allowed to bring their own ingredients.
Simplistic glamping options are also available. The igloo-like tents, encircling a communal bar in the Hanz Pao area, look unassuming from the outside but are kitted out with modern furnishings, large bathrooms and outdoor dining areas. Hit the bar in the evenings for a tumbler of Yamanashi whiskey or a smattering of rums from around the world.
All guests are welcome to walk to the main building to enjoy the public bath or private open-air baths at any time during their stay.
While the facilities at Glamping Villa Hanz lend themselves to kicking back and relaxing, the proprietors emphasize that curating your own outdoor adventure experience is a central component of each guest’s stay.
For this, check out the property’s concierge service, where you can book guided tours through the highland forests or along mountain trails home to spiritual power spots. The looking-glass waters of Lake Kawaguchiko are accessible by canoe, while adrenaline junkies can try their hands at mountain biking, wakeboarding and flyboarding. For something a little outside the box, consider segway tours, steaming in tent saunas popularized in Siberia, or a game of ring toss complete with prizes.
With many guests new to the wilderness, you can also learn how to search for firewood, chop it for kindling and handle a campfire. The idea is that guests will experience the primal surge of joy that comes from roasting meat over a fire and carving it up to be shared amongst the tribe.
Punctuate Your Evening With a Steak Dinner
Glamping Villa Hanz runs a collaboration with Benjamin Steak House. Initially established in New York in 2006, the Benjamin Steak House brand migrated east, with restaurants in Tokyo’s Kioicho and Roppongi neighborhoods, and another in Kyoto. Here, customers can enjoy USDA-approved beef in the form of a dry-aged T-bone (Porterhouse) or tenderloin steak paired with their pick from a selection of 400 wines.
An on-site chef will grill the aged prime beef over open flames, cooking it to guests’ specifications on the private terrace of both the Guesthouse and Patio Villa.