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Reviewed September 12, 2017 via mobile

Over the past 25 years have used this course sits out on the Ito Hanto peninsula just south of Tokyo about an hour by Bullet Train Andorra local Express train Situated upon elevated cliffs over the Pacific Ocean has 36 holes many of the holes have spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean about $200 to $300 us per round depending on the season and the package you can arrange

Date of stay: January 2017
Trip type: Travelled on business
1  Thank ToddDrumm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed May 27, 2017

A wonderful historical hotel. Yes, certainly some minor upgrades could be helpful, but the wonderful history and beautiful location more than make up for it. The Kawana Hotel was the honeymoon destination for Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio. The rooms are nice and the staff is lovely. Getting to the resort requires a train change at the Atami station to Ito. If you call ahead you can book their free shuttle from the Ito station (just across the street). As with other places outside of Tokyo, English is slightly more challenging, but planning ahead should alleviate any concerns. This area is a major vacation destination for the Japanese and they love the area for good reason and the amazing golf! There is also a wonderful spa and hot spring.

Date of stay: May 2017
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank travbud1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed March 11, 2017 via mobile

Visited the place last last March 11, 2017 together with my sister and friends.. The place was awesome, with ocean view lounge.. Staff were so amazing, there were all accommodating and helpful.. Definitely going back..

Date of stay: March 2017
Trip type: Travelled with friends
Thank crixicon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed October 15, 2016

two hours by train from tokyo this golf resort is a jewel! fantastic service coupled with two of the month beautiful golf courses, this place can very well compete with pebble beach and the likes... there are two restaurants, one japanese and the other western food. white table cloth and black tie waiters. some of them even speak french....

Room tip: highest floor, pacific coast facing
Date of stay: October 2016
  • Trip type: Travelled with friends
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank SSchaerrer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed September 25, 2016

Of the 100 current reviews on this site, only 9 are in English, and most weren’t that helpful to me. So I am going to write this for the golf traveler, who, like me, only stayed here in order to knock Kawana’s Fuji course of their list. I’m not going to say much about the hotel because there isn’t much positive to say and instead will focus on how to get there as well as a little bit on the Fuji course itself.

There is no way to sugar coat this, but the hotel itself is badly in need of a multimillion dollar upgrade. Everything about it screamed 1960s. It needs an upgrade like Banyan Tree in Seoul needs an upgrade, only more so. Anyway, the carpeting was badly stained on the floors and the control panel next to the bed had a radio dial that you find in cars from the 1960s. The bathroom did seem like it was renovated, but perhaps over 10 years ago, which is probably when the towels were last changed (paper thin with faded Kawana lettering on them). There is an observation tower with two telescopes, but they are of poor quality and are the kind you might find at a zoo or an observation deck. Although I wandered around the Japanese spa, I didn’t use them (I was just too tired).

Having said all of this, the hospitality of the staff was excellent (perhaps they realize this is their only way to make up for management not spending the necessary money to upgrade) and there is no more luxurious place in town to stay (many people have their weddings at Kawana). The food was overpriced but good, and it was a first for me to have my omelette branded with the hotel’s logo.

I arrived at 2pm at Narita airport and then took 4 trains, arriving the same day at Kawana Hotel at 6:30pm to give you a sense of how long it will take. When you arrive at Narita airport, stop by the JR East ticket office. The people there speak excellent English and I was able to buy my tickets to Kawana and back ahead of time (with a stopover in Yokohama on the way back). I first bought a round trip N’EX ticket and took the first half of that ticket from Narita to Shinagawa (I will use the final half when I go back to the airport). I then transferred to a different train and went to Atami, then transferred again to go to Ito, and finally transferred one last time to go to Kawana station. A couple of things to note: there are multiple different train lines and they don’t sell each other’s tickets. So with JR East, you can buy the N’EX ticket, the Atami ticket, and the Ito ticket, but not the Kawana ticket. Also important…. once you get to Shinagawa, you insert all your tickets together at once in the machines (kind of like turning in multiple checks at a ATM) and it spits out the remaining tickets at the other end of the turnstile. Because Kawana station is on a private train system, you just have to buy a separate ticket once you arrive at Ito (cost of 330 yen). Alternatively, you could just take a taxi from Ito to the hotel, but the cost would be around 4000 yen (roughly $40 USD). By spending an extra 300 yen (cost of ticket from Ito to Kawana), you can cut your taxi fare to 1100 yen. One downside is that Kawana is so small that there was no waiting taxi at the taxi stand and so I had to wait 15 minutes until a taxi arrived to drop off a passenger. But who knows how long I might have waited for that to happen. I guess you can call the hotel and ask them to send you one if none show up.

Note that I needed help along the way and multiple times would have taken the wrong train if I had not asked (I would show my ticket to various people). Also note that the Japanese people’s English speaking ability drops off considerably the farther away you get from Tokyo. And on the way back, after boarding the train at Ito I asked the gentlemen sitting next to me if I was on the right train and he informed me I could take that train all the way to my next destination (Yokohama), without having to transfer at Atami which I would have done if I had not asked him. I did have to pay a fare adjustment to the train conductor of about 950 yen (totally worth it) as I was on a Express train but I had only paid for a local train ticket when I first bought my train tickets at the airport. Anyway, my advice is to go to Youtube ahead of time to learn about the train systems and download some timetables from the JR East website, both of which will make your travels a little easier.

I have been wanting to play Kawana for 20 years (I have the original Confidential Guide to Golf Courses from Doak) and can tell you that I was not let down. I’ve played many of the top courses in the USA as well as the world, including most recently Cape Wickham and Tara Iti, to give you a sense of my travels. The Fuji course is kind of a cross between Pebble Beach and Olympic, except there are a lot of trees lining the edges of the cliffs. There is tremendous elevation change on many of the holes and it’s a walking course so I’d advise stretching ahead of time. You have to use a caddy, which is typically a woman who uses a special cart that carries up to 4 bags. Also note that you cannot be paired up with other groups. I came alone but I convinced them to let me tee off first on the front nine and finished in about 80 minutes. However, I then had to wait 45 minutes at the turn as 4 groups of 4-somes teed off (including many with women). So I ended up playing at least 2 balls on the back nine and took a lot of practice shots as well. Warm up, by the way, is in the basement where the logo shop is and you are charged a fee to hit balls off a mat into a net.

The first hole grabs your attention immediately. It’s a severely downhill drive, slight dogleg right, with the ocean in the background. There is a photographer who will take pictures of your swing in sequence which you can purchase after the round. In addition to hole #1, I also especially enjoyed holes #7 and #15.

Having taken the elevator at Bel-Air Country Club in Los Angeles, I was looking forward to taking the escalator at the Fuji course that I had read about from prior course reviews. Well, there is no escalator but on two of the holes you get into a golf cart, press a green button, and the self-sterring cart drives itself up to the next tee. After you get out, the caddy hits the button again, and the cart drives itself away. I thought this was pretty cool having never seen it before.

Also, no secondary greens to speak of (as written in Doak’s book) and the greens were on the slow side (but not terribly slow). And I loved Alison’s bunkering so that’s something to look for when you’re waiting on every hole for the group in front of you.

Bottom line.... if you're a serious golfer and find yourself in Tokyo (or some other part of Japan), make the trip. The train system is excellent and it's worth it.

Date of stay: September 2016
  • Trip type: Travelled solo
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
7  Thank IYCNYC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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