Pet Friendly Japan
"So, what would you like for your birthday?"
"To play golf, stay overnight somewhere, and for Tupac to come too."
To understand this birthday request, you should know that Tupac is a dog. And so began my quest to plan a pet friendly birthday for my boyfriend and his dog, Tupac. Here are some of the options I found.
Hakuba is a popular tourist spot during ski season, as it has easy access to Hakuba 47, Hakuba Goryu Ski Resort and Happo One. In the summer, ski resorts are reborn as a hiker's paradise.
There is one pet friendly gondola in Hakuba, and that's Hakuba-Iwatake, which whisks you up to a pretty Lily Garden (1, 800 yen round trip.) Alternatively, hike up 1.5 hours, reward yourself with an ice cream in the café at 1289 metres, and take the gondola down.
From Hakuba-Iwatake, a ten minute drive will take you to Canadian Village, a pet-friendly lodge with a cosy feel. Prices range from 5, 000 - 7,000 yen/room including breakfast, so you can enjoy a complimentary breakfast with as many pets as there are people sat around the table. At Canadian Village Hakuba, hearty, family style diners, are served around a large wooden table in a communal area. The food is excellent, the rooms are clean and comfortable, and the revitalizing Onsen is open until 10pm.
Travelling with a pet can sometimes limit your options so it is important to plan. Hakuba for example, has lots of great hiking trails for beginner to advanced explorers. Although most of these trails do not allow pets, it is worth finding accommodation that will allow you to leave man’s best friend safely in the room for a few hours while you explore. By the same token, most National Parks don't allow dogs to enter, but if you like the outdoors, there are other options.
Camping is a simple, fun way to travel with your pet. For example, pitch your tent right on the lakeside at Lake Kizaki, Nagano and wake up to a stunning view. No tent? No problem. You can rent one at Kizakiko Pow Wow Campsite and Outdoor Club, along with a BBQ set, tarp or sleeping bag. There are also rentable Bungalows, though these are not pet friendly. The Club organises water activities, so you can take in the natural beauty of nagano kayaking or paddle boarding with your pet (yes really). The campsite costs 1, 300 yen per person/night plus an extra 1000 yen/day parking fee. For more information, visit the the website. Then sleep, swim, repeat.
Alternatively, the largest of the Fuji Five Lakes, Lake Yamanaka is another good spot for camping. Odakyu Forest Camping has a variety of different camping options, by the lake, or in the forest, ranging from 3,000- 10,500 yen/night. Other facilities include a dog run and bicycle rental. If camping's not for you, rent a pet friendly cabin on-site for between 14,000 - 24,000 yen per night, capacity 4 people. For more details visit the webpage.
Plus, don't miss stopping at the fun Hammock Cafe at Lake Yamanaka, which is pet friendly too. Enjoy a coffee, and a hammock-nap, before heading onwards.
Home to the hot spring, Hakone is another great option for a weekend away. At Klingel Baum, Hakone there are two outdoor rotenburo onsen open 24 hours. Just take a key from the reception desk and choose between two woodland onsen experiences. One is inside a wooden cabin, while an adjacent onsen is open to the elements. Situated a few minutes walk from the main cottage, both are simple, relaxing and and have a thoughtfully placed latch to tie your dog leash too, should you wish to keep them close by.
Previously called Comforts Hakone, Klingel Baum country cottage has 9 pet friendly rooms available. Although the name has changed, the official website still uses the old name Comforts Hakone, so for more information click here. To book online, search booking sites for the new name, Klingel Baum and indicate at the time of booking if you require free parking. An extra 1000 yen/person buys you a gargantuan breakfast to set you up for the day. While diner can be booked by telephone reservation for 6pm, note that this requires a 5pm arrival on check-in days.
Alternatively, Hakone En Cottage West is part of the Prince Hotel chain. Six of these pine cottages make up the Prince Dog Village, which provides pet friendly options. The cabins are dotted around a small forest, and sleep 3/4. There are no self-catering options, however guests can pay extra for breakfast or dinner at several restaurant inside The Prince Hotel main building. Facilities include bicycle rental, hot springs, and a tennis court. Cabins cost upwards of 24, 000 yen/night. Find more details here.
Round the corner from Hakone, lies Gotemba. Gotemba Kogen offers a resort getaway with a micro-brewery, several golf courses, restaurants, a buffet breakfast and multiple onsens. There are various accommodation options ranging from luxury hotels with package deals to include one of two meals, to self-catering family villas, or condominiums. Prices vary depending on your accommodation choice, check the website for a detailed list.
Rooms at Gotemba Kogen do not allow pets but there is a pet hotel on-site costing 3,100 yen/night. In addition, resident golf pro, Bennett Galloway is the English speaking Sales and Marketing Director who can help plan your trip. To contact him directly for bookings in English, arranging golf lessons or to ask about play and stay packages, email firstname.lastname@example.org .