Though we didn’t have enough time to take advantage of some of northern Japan’s mountainous regions, we wanted to make sure to check out an onsen – a natural hot spring. We spent two nights in Hakone, an area just over an hour outside of Tokyo, known for its hot springs and stunning views of nearby Mount Fuji.

We stayed at a ryokan, a traditional Japanese hotel that serves both breakfast and dinner. We had a private onsen in our room, though there was also a larger, public one available (separated by gender – no bathing suits allowed). There’s a particular way to bathe, involving sitting on a stool and using a bucket to rinse – fortunately they provide etiquette instructions prior to entry.

It was a slow-paced, relaxing two days – exactly what we needed before heading to Tokyo. We left feeling refreshed and ready for our last, most hectic stop in Japan!