For the last 7 years we’ve been going to a resort in Gotemba every Golden Week. The resort has a choice of accommodation ranging from hotel rooms to self catering lodges. This year we stayed in the “slow house villa” area in a yurt or パオ (Pao) as they are called in Japanese. The yurts in the complex are designed on a theme. Our room was one of the Peter Rabbit themed lodgings.
The Peter Rabbit influence may well have gone beyond the interior of the yurts, as the slow house villa area is reminiscent of a rabbit’s burrow. It was great fun for the kids to find their way around the maze like paths. Management makes good use out of the design too, laying out a scavenger hunt challenge of sorts for guests of the slow house villas. The kids followed clues to find letters which, when all were discovered, spelled out a word. On presenting the word to reception they got a prize of Peter Rabbit stickers. Another treat for guests of these particular lodgings is a fluffy bunny rabbit (soft toy) hidden in the room – if you find it, you get to bring it home. (You can also borrow teddy bears and soft toys from reception to keep in your room during your stay).
The yurt itself was also a great source of excitement for the kids. They aren’t the most practical, but between the Peter Rabbit paraphernalia and the spacious loft, it was a dream come true for the kids to stay there. They are also the lodgings closest to the big playground, which turned out very convenient for us. They have a hot spring in the villa area (one of many in the resort) and it is where the pet hotel is too. This is also the area with the resort’s badminton court, games room (billiards and table tennis), reception for some activities (such as fishing and segways) and where they have the magnificent night time water, illumination and projection mapping show. The breakfast hall is a little bit far away, but it is a nice walk, with some great views of Mt Fuji.
While I enjoyed the novelty, I did think the room was quite dingy, dark and hard to regulate temperature. I did enjoy staying there and the kids certainly did, but once was enough for me. There are other accommodations within the resort that are more practical for big families and people with young children. My top two in the resort are the Blueberry Lodges and the Western/Eastern fusion room in the Tokinosumika hotel. For anyone who is interested in more information about the resort it is linked below the photos from the playground.
We went to Tokinosumika in Gotemba, Shizuoka, this past Golden Week. To be honest, I love discovering new places, but with 4 young children it is easier just to go somewhere we are familiar with. Tokinosumika never disappoints and each year they have something new there.
Something that is not new and is somewhat of a symbol of the resort is their “Bell of Love”. This year I thought to get a snap of it in the daylight, as I only had old photos taken in the dark. It was a clear day and you could see Mt Fuji under the bell. Bonus! The bell, at 36,170 kilograms, is the 2nd heaviest in Japan and 5th heaviest bell in the world.
There is a quote beside it in English
“The bell calls the living Mourns the Dead And overpowers the thunder
Mount Fuji echoes the bell on the morning of cherry blossoms”
With all the volcanic activity in nearby Hakone,I hope it’s not a forewarning!!
The Tokinosumika Resort aka Gotemba Kogen in Gotemba, Shizuoka
This post was first written in 2012 and has been updated on a number of occasions to reflect the changes in the resort, which is always modifying and upgrading.
A wide variety of accommodation choices with babies and toddlers free
A number of different types of eateries, both Japanese and Western
A selection of hot springs including ones that are toddler friendly
An abundance of sports facilities and sporting options. Some require booking in advance
Swimming pool and paddling pool in the summer
Activities and Crafts for people of all ages
Playground with mountain trampoline, bouncing castles, carousel
Indoor play area with goldfish aquarium, projection mapping, wooden toys
Events such as seasonal illumination, travelling exhibitions and Gotemba Kogen Fireworks Display in August
A water, light and projection mapping show in the evenings
Segways & bikes available for rent
A pet hotel
Coin Laundry and Vending Machines
Free parking and free shuttle bus from station
A doctor and clinic on the grounds (seasonal)
A multitude of Fuji Views 🙂
The Tokinosumika resortis one of the few places I know in Japan that has a huge selection of things to do and see all available in the same complex. It also has great views of Mt Fuji. It is an ideal location to travel with family. It has plenty to do for a day out, and even more available to patrons of it’s accommodation, but please note there are charges for some facilities and activities. They are a very child friendly establishment with a huge selection of attractions some of which are listed below. It is also pet friendly and has a pet hotel on the premises. They have self catering accommodation as well as a choice of hotels.
The first time we stayed in Tokinosumika, also known as GotembaKogen, was when I was pregnant with my eldest. We had never heard of the resort; we just came across it by Providence when looking for somewhere to stay to break up a journey. It was the best accidental find ever! We arrived at night and the resort had quite a romantic feel thanks to the illuminations. We chose not to have dinner included in our stay and thankfully were in time to try out some of the restaurants on site, which, due to the family friendly focus of the resort, close quite early. We had a light dinner in the GrandTable followed by dessert in the BooksandCafe only a short walk away. The Books and Cafe is home to an Art Aquarium since 2015. On subsequent visits we have dined in the hotels and in some of the other restaurants on site. On each visit we have had our breakfast included and all the breakfast restaurants are buffet style. If you opt to stay in the self catering Blueberry lodges (which have a cooker, microwave, and fridge) or Slow House villas you can still avail of a buffet style breakfast in a delegated breakfast hall. The cheapest accommodation option within the resort are the tepees. The tepees have futons, but nothing else, and sleep up to 6 people. There are toilet and bathing facilities for people who stay in the tepees, and you can rent/buy necessities (e.g toothbrush, facecloth) from the reception. (2015 Teepees no longer available for private hire). A list of the hotels and accommodation options are listed below.
The initial highlight for me when we stumbled across this resort was the hotsprings. On that first visit to the Gotemba Kogen Hotel in 2009 (update 2014 now divided into two hotels; Gotemba KogenBu Hotel and Hotel Brush Up) we visited the hot springs in the hotel. These particular hot springs are only available to guests staying at the hotel, but there are other hot springs in the resort which are open to the general public. The hot springs in the Gotemba Kogen Hotel are okay (they may have improved when the hotel split into 2), but not as nice as the springs in the neighbouring hotel Hotel Tokinosumika. The springs in this hotel are larger and are toddler friendly. They have a number of relaxation services, such as massage and body care, that you can pay for as well as free relaxation rooms with TVs and reclining chairs. There are other spas on the resort which we hope to try out on our next visit!
The list of activities available a the Tokinosumika resort is impressive. On our first visit we enjoyed a travelling exhibition that was been shown at the SakuraTemple. We walked through the nature trails enjoying the number of water features in the resort. We visited the Giant Bell, observed some tennis games and soccer matches, relaxed in the Wood and Tree Museumand stopped in to watch potters at work. With the kids, as they were only toddlers, they were just happy to play outdoors and go for walks. There are playgrounds and a playroom available for guests of the resort. There are also a number of sports facilities available such as tennis, basketball and badminton courts. They also have fishing, a mountain trampoline, some shops and in the summer you can use the outdoor pool. You can rent segways or bikes. You can pay to try your hand at pottery or pitch and putt or even ice skating. They even have a doctor and clinic on the premises during certain times. I’ve tried to summarise their facilities below.
If you are coming by train there is a free shuttle bus you can get from Mishima and Gotemba Stations. If you have a group of more 15 you can request the bus pick you up from neighbouring cities. You will need to organise that with the resort.