Mizno Hotel

 

Prologue

For our visit to Kawaguchi-ko in Japan’s Mount Fuji region, we wanted an accommodation that offered a picture-perfect view of the majestic mountain across the lake, which meant a stay on the town’s north shore. Among the various options we considered, Mizno Hotel stood out for not only fulfilling this criteria, but also for offering a hybrid Japanese-western model. Coupled with a reasonable rate for the nights we needed, it wasn’t a difficult decision to book this newly-refurbished property.

 

Location / Accessibility

Situated atop a small hill on the north shore of Kawaguchi-ko, Mizno Hotel enjoys possibly one of the best locations in the area with panoramic lake and mountain views that draw millions of visitors each year. Being away from the train station and main town also gives it the added benefit of serenity that accommodations on the southern shore do not enjoy, while still remaining accessible via the Red Line sightseeing bus. A regular shuttle service was also available to guests, although we preferred to take a slow walk along the water’s edge to town.

 

Arrival Experience

 

We were picked up by the complimentary shuttle at the train station for the quick ride to the hotel, where the staff welcomed us warmly with hot honey lemon drinks as we completed the check-in formalities. It was a rather wet day at Kawaguchi-ko and the cozy lobby with its burning fireplace was a welcome respite from the chilly weather outside. The friendly agent confirmed our reservation for a traditional tatami room before presenting the keys and escorting us upstairs.

 

Guestrooms

Mizno Hotel offers both Japanese- and Western-style guestrooms, all taking advantage of its location on the lake’s north shore to boast this spectacular view of Mount Fuji in all its glory towering above Kawaguchi-ko. For our two-night stay, we had booked the former and were assigned a room on the fourth floor, which was in pristine condition having been remodeled and updated in 2017.

 

Entering the guestroom, a small foyer opened up to the main tatami-clad living area that was an example of minimalist elegance. The neutral colours and decor were secondary to the glorious mountain panorama outside that guests could (and were expected to) enjoy from their private sheltered balcony. Inside, furnishings were simple with just a low table and cushioned seating in the middle of the room, occupying the space where the comfortable futons were laid out at night.

 

 

The bathroom was of a good size, with separate dry and wet areas for the Japanese electric toilet and the shower/bathtub combination which enjoyed fantastic water temperature and pressure. This was kept spotless and the comprehensive amenity tray well-stocked throughout our stay with the usual toiletries and bath products from luxury French fashion house Maison Margiela’s “Replica Jazz Club” fragrance series.

 

A small closet provided storage space and the laptop-sized electronic safe, as well as yukatas that guests could wear on-property.

 

Every room also featured a mini refrigerator, bottled water and a Nespresso coffee machine, allowing us to enjoy our espresso on the balcony while taking in the calming lake views each morning. Tea drinkers will find a selection of black and green teas also provided.

 

Dining

As opposed to a traditional ryokan, meals at Hotel Mizno are served at its Seikouki restaurant rather than in-room. We were on a half-board rate plan and enjoyed exquisite dining experiences on both days of our stay.

 

 

For dinner, guests could choose from either the Japanese omakase or a seven-course French fine-dining menu, both of which we had the pleasure of sampling.

 

The seasonal omakase meal began with a sweet shiso leaf aperitif and a beautifully-presented appetizer course, followed by a sashimi trio of seared snapper, tuna and yellow striped jack with dried mullet roe on the side that accentuated the freshness of the fish. Next was a flavourful earthenware pot soup concocted with premium ingredients including pike conger eel, matsutake mushrooms and gingko nuts, paving the way for the explosion of flavours that is the variety plate featuring dishes such as a “duck meat roll with shredded Japanese ginger” and “oyster with Japanese pepper and grilled corn”. Cleansing the palate with pickled vegetables in wasabi-vinegar, we enjoyed the succulent Fuji-Sakura pork grilled over a hot plate paired with a simmered course, rice and clear soup, ending with sweet melon and warabi-mochi.

 

Our French dinner started with a cold appetizer course of salmon and green salad, then an aromatic wild mushroom cream soup accompanied by house-baked soft bread and French butter that hit the spot warming us up for the fish course, a pan-seared snapper drizzled in a tangy yuzu sauce. A shiso sorbet was offered as a palate cleanser before the meat course, a tender wagyu steak served with roasted vegetables and potato mash cooked to perfection retaining the flavourful meat juices. Dessert is an important component of any French meal and the meringue with mixed fruits and cream served did not disappoint, with the right balance of fluffiness, sweetness and crunch to round out the meal together with coffee and tea.

 

 

Breakfast was an equally elaborate feast, again with a choice between the Japanese or western menu, accompanied by fresh juice, coffee and tea.

 

Intended to provide the energy needed for a labour-intensive day, Mizno Hotel’s take on the Japanese breakfast comprises a bento box of small, light dishes including a potato salad, tofu, pickles and grilled fish served with rice, miso soup and hot matcha. The main event is a delicious tonyu nabe (soy milk hotpot), where thin-sliced pork, mushrooms and vegetables are boiled in a tasty broth for a healthy and warming conclusion to the meal.

 

We found the western breakfast to be of very high quality and comprehensive in variety. The cold dishes of Caesar salad, cut fruits and yoghurt were first presented while our main plate orders were taken, followed by the bread basket and a less common breakfast dish outside of Japan – corn soup! The creamy texture and sweetness of the soup served as a prelude to the egg dish (both fried and scrambled), accompanied by grilled cheese tomato and savoury local ham.

 

Facilities

 

Inspired by the owners’ passion for France, Mizno Hotel’s lobby area closely resembles a French chateau adorned with European oil paintings and leather sofas rather than a traditional Japanese ryokan. The space is also adorned with a vast collection of books and magazines that guests can help themselves to in the comfort of the private alcoves.

 

Situated on the second floor are the hotel’s gender-segregated public baths, which we made sure to try out during our stay despite having a bathtub in our room. While not mineral springs, the pools were spacious, clean and filled with natural light from the large panel windows that allowed for views of Mount Fuji while relaxing in the warmth of the water. A separate, rooftop open-air bath could be reserved for private use, although we never needed it as the shared onsens were largely devoid of guests when we used it.

 

The hotel also provides a small laundry area with washing machine and dryer, as well as bicycles for loan to explore the area. We took a pair of mountain bikes out for a morning ride along the lake to visit the famed maple corridor, returning to complimentary coffee and tea available in the lobby throughout the day.

 

Service / Staff

The service was definitely a highlight of our short stay here, where we received heartfelt and attentive care from the multi-lingual staff members, who were fluent in Japanese, English and French. From the restaurant servers to the reception associates, all of them were extremely welcoming and went out of their way to please, with no request seemingly too insignificant.

 

Verdict

We can’t recommend our stay at Mizno Hotel enough. The location is excellent and its staff were some of the most welcoming people we met and while there are more luxurious options at Kawaguchi-ko, the hotel combines the best of east and west for a comforting stay in an upscale product at an affordable price point.

 

Mizno Hotel

187 Azagawa, Fujikawaguchiko, Minamitsuru District

Yamanashi 401-0303, Japan

+81 555 72 1234

http://mzn.jp/en/

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