The cafe, run by a young couple, is housed in a renovated 50-year old building, and the do-it-yourself ethic is on full display.
The main attraction is the foot bath, which draws its hot water from the same spring that Naraya Inn used.
There are a handful of these foot bat cafes in Hakone, and there really is nothing like sipping on a cup of tea while you soak your feet. Since the bath constantly draws fresh water from the hot springs, it warms up your whole body—not just your feet—making the cafe a perfect spot to take a rest on a cold winter’s day. You might even feel like taking a book and soaking for a while, but the cafe is always bustling, so don’t forget to be mindful of those waiting for their turn.
The menu features coffee, tea, jasmine tea, a selection of world beers, sweets, and light meals, all of which can be enjoyed in the foot bath or at the regular tables inside.
You will notice bottle gourd decorations throughout the cafe. The bottle gourd was actually the symbol of the old Naraya Inn. The inn used to brand its wooden clogs and wash basins with an illustration of a bottle gourd.
According to the owners, when Toyotomi Hideyoshi attacked Odawara Castle, his soldiers used the hot springs of Miyanoshita to recuperate, so the inn adopted the bottle gourd, which was Hideyoshi’s insignia, as its logo.
The trademark dish at Naraya Cafe is the Narayan, a bottle gourd-shaped monaka (bean jam inside crispy thin rice cake wafers).
When you order the monaka, you get to spread the bean jam in between the crispy wafers yourself. It is cute and delicious, which makes it a big hit among the staff of Hakone Honbako. You can opt for the standard smooth bean jam filling or a seasonal bean jam, and there is also a set that comes with maccha au lait.
There is nothing more relaxing than enjoying this monaka and green tea set in the foot bath.
If you are feeling a bit hungrier, you can order a pizza or the soba chazuke (buckwheat doused with green tea).
There is a small gallery space inside the shop where local artisans exhibit their works.
Open: 10:30 – 18:00 (Dec. ~ Jan. until 17:00)
Closed: Wednesdays and every 4th Thursday; winter holiday (mid-January – mid-February)
Access: Located immediately in front of Miyanoshita Station on the Hakone Tozan Railway. 20-minute drive from Hakone Honbako
Parking: 5 spots (along the national highway)
Official homepage: http://naraya-cafe.com