Kaikatei Hotel, Hakone, c. 1910.

1910sCommerceMt. Fuji/Hakone
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“I found at Kaikatei the most curious and cozy little hostelry that I have ever come across in my many travels and adventures.

“A crowd of Japanese servant girls stood in the threshold to welcome us. They bowed to the ground, they grinned, they chirped like sparrows, and in a few minutes they shuffled after us over the clean white boards, slippety-sloppety, but ever anxious to be cheerful and obliging.

“I am literally taken possession of by O. Do-San … She is a harmless but chronic grinner, uglier than any woman I have ever seen, but as playful as a kitten and as babbling as a baby. She dances with delight when she sees my dressing bag, and examines it with the curiosity of a child who plays with your watch and blows it open.

“… My room is a little box, protected alone from the keen mountain air by paper screens, adorned with Japanese devices, and warmed by a square box of charcoal stirred into lambent life by brass knitting needles. But no one could be quite cold, though the termometer is below zero, with so cheery and honest a welcome!

“Besides, O. Do-San announces that the ‘honourable’ bath is ready. She shuffles along the clean white floor in advance of me, and in less than five minutes I am neck deep in sulphur water that has bubbled into the bath, scalding hot from the depths of the earth. Fancy a bath whose hot water comes into the tub so scalding from the earth that you can scarcely bear it!

“This steaming sulphurous water is the cure of Kaikatei, and could it spring anywhere in Europe, think what fortunes would be made?”

‘The Japanese Girl’, by Clement Scott, The English Illustrated Magazine, Vol. XI, 1894

Kaikatei Hotel, Kowakidani, Hakone, c. 1910. Kowakidani is a district of Hakone nearby the more well-known Miyanoshita, and was once called “small hell” [小地獄, Kojigoku] for its rough terrain and multiple steam plumes rising up. It was renamed when the Emperor visited this spot in the Meiji period, and was later developed into a hot spring resort.

“The most delightful Mountain Resort in the Hakoue District is the Kaikatei, at Kowaki-dani, which is admitted by the Medical Faculty of Tokyo and Yokohama to be the Sunniest, Breeziest, and most Healthful spot accessible to foreigners in the Hakone District, standing alone and delightfully situated upon the mountain side, free from every suspicion of bad drainage and malaria, with a cool and constant breeze in the hot summer weather, and a view not to be equaled in the neighbourhood for variety and extent.

“The baths are filled with a constant and never-failing supply from the hot mineral springs just above the Hotel, the medicinal virtues of which are too well-known to need recapitulation. It is sufficient to say that whereas visitors find many of the hot springs enervating those at Kowaki-dani are distinctly invigorating.

“One of the features of the Kaikatei is the detached suites of apartments, where perfect quiet and privacy can be secured. This arrangement for invalids and convalescents from the Tropics is a great desideratum, as being entirely removed from the Dining Room, Billiard Room, Bar, and Baths, while all are connected by covered passages.

“Visitors to Kowaki-dani who bring a rod with them will be shown the haunts of the speckled trout, a nice stream of several miles in length being within easy walking distance of the Hotel; Hakone Lake is also well stocked with a variety of fish, including salmon, and the fishing is FREE; while Entomologists will find rare and valuable specimens in the surrounding hills, and the Flora of the district is extremely interesting to the Botanist.”

“A Delightful Mountain Resort”, Japan Weekly Mail, July 7, 1894

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