Searching through my parents’ attic I came across a small stash of letters, photos and Christmas greetings in a red paper folder, sent to my grandmother by her friend Freda, who was a missionary in China from 1935 to 1952. In 1937, Freda married fellow missionary Oswald Peskett and went on honeymoon to Hakone, Japan.

On a trip to Tokyo, I visited Hakone and the hotel they stayed in, next to the lake.

Letter written in 1937 from The Hakone Hotel

The Hakone Hotel
Lake-Side, Hakone

Cable address “Hafuya” Hakone
Tel. Nos. 3 & 33 Hakone-Machi

Hakone, 15.7.37

My dear,

It was ever so sweet of you to send that airmail which reached me a day or two before my wedding. The handkies and sachet are lovely: thank you ever so much.

Cup of matcha tea on a table in the Hakone Hotel

I was in bed for four days before the wedding with fever, feeling absolutely rotten. However I managed to get thro’ it all right, but I was so disappointed not to be feeling absolutely A1.

Silhouette of bottles through a frosted glass window

I will send you a snap when they are ready: some are quite good.

Wedding dress on a mannequin

We are having a perfectly wonderful honeymoon here: this hotel is right on the lakeside and is lovely and cool: such a change from the heat of Hong Kong.

Table and chairs by the lakeside, in snow

We have a rowing boat & do a lot of rowing and swimming and there are magnificent walks – just like England. We even found some honeysuckle the other day.

Lake Hakone with boat moored at the pier

It is very wet today, but I don’t mind. Weather doesn’t affect me these days!! It’s so marvellous to have my beloved with me, after all these 18 mnths of separation & hardship. It seems too good to be true sometimes.

Bird circling overhead, moody clouds

The European news seems very bad & how China & Japan are on the brink of war. I do hope it won’t affect us in Kwangsi.

Tangled branches by the lake

Our new hospital should be ready by Sept. or October & we are so looking forward to moving into it. Our flat is on the 3rd storey & should be very nice.

View of houses nestled under the mountains in Hakone

I had some lovely wedding presents – people were so kind. Mr. Ross Wallis sent a cable: I thought it was very kind of him. We had 10 cables! Quite good.

Snowy path through trees

Well, my dear, forgive more now. The enclosed snap will give you an idea of the beauty of this place.

1937 postcard of Lake Hakone with Mount Fuji

Much love, & many thanks indeed.

Yours as ever,

Freda M. B. Peskett.

View of the port at Lake Hakone