If you are looking for a place to enjoy the view of Mt.Fuji or a relaxing day at hot springs near Tokyo, Hakone is the place to go!
Because it is only a few hours away from Tokyo, it attracts a lot of tourists from overseas as well as residents of Tokyo.
Besides plentiful hot springs, it has a lot of museums and is rich in nature.
If you are visiting Tokyo, be sure to check Hakone and take a lot of beautiful pictures!
During the edo period(from 16th to late 18th century), Hakone was a station along the Tokaido Road, which was a way for Daimiyo(Powerful Japanese feudal loads at the time) to travel between Edo(the old of Tokyo area) to other places of Japan.
There was the system to control the rulers.
Daimiyo were required to visit Edo once a year and their families had to live there throughout the year.
Hakone was not only a station for people visiting Tokyo but also a security check point.
One of the biggest Sekisho (a gate/the facility for inspection) was in this area where governors inspected passengers to prevent weapons to be taken to Edo and also to check if any wives and children of Daimiyo were fleeing from Edo.
Hakone is also known for Hakone Ekiden running race.
It has its origins in the course that messengers took between Tokyo and Hakone.
Every year on Jan 2nd and 3rd, college students run the course and is is broad casted live on TV.
Here are the 5 must-visit spots of Hakone.
It is a shrine on the shore of Ashinoko Lake.
The original shrine was made on Mt.Hakone, and it was relocated to the current place in 1667.
It was a popular place for Samurai worriers to pray for winning the battle and making their wishes come true.
There’s another shrine called Kuzuryu(nine-headed dragon) shrine nearby.
According to the legend, Priest Mangan pacified the nine-headed dragon that lived in the bottom of the Ashinoko Lake, and the shrine was made to worship the dragon.
You can enjoy the view of Mt.Fuji together with Ashinoko Lake and the shrine.
The main festival of the shrine is held every year on August 1st.
Hakone Hot Springs
To fully enjoy Japanese hot springs, it is the best to stay at a Ryokan (or Japanese inn) with hot springs.
Among a lot of hot spring places in Hakone, Hakone-Yumoto, which is located near Odawara is the most famous kind.
At Hakone-Yumoto, there are over 40 Ryokan with hot springs and you can enjoy your bath whole day.
Even if you are not staying at a Ryokan, you can still enjoy hot spring as a visitor.
Here are some of the popular places to enjoy bath.
It is a popular public bath that is 10-15 min away from Hakone Yumoto Station.
(You can get there by shuttle bus)
It has both indoor and outdoor baths and they are gender segregated.
If you would like to share a bath, you can ask for a private baths with additional fee.
Hours: 10:00 to 21:00
Price: 1,400yen to enter
There are many kinds of baths inside including both outdoor and indoor.
You can also enjoy sauna and private room and baths are available upon request.
Hours: 9:00 to 23:00
Price: 1,300yen to enter
It has about 10 unique baths including a cave bath.
Everything inside is decorated in Japanese style and it only takes 5 min by a shuttle bus from Hakone Yumoto Station.
Hours: 10:30 to 17:00
It is an area of volcanic valley with active vents(sulphur) and hot springs.
It is a popular place for tourists and Kuro tamago(hard-boiled black eggs in the hot springs) is made there.
To get to the place, it is the best to use the Hakone Ropeway.
That way, you can enjoy the view of the mountains and the nature.
As an alternative way to get there, you can use a bus line from Odawara or Hakone-Yumoto station.
Anyone with asthma, heart disease, pacemakers, bronchitis and pregnant women are advised not to enter the valley because of high volcanic activity.
Hours: 9:00 to 17:00
The Hakone Open Air Museum
This museum was founded in 1969 to inspire people and to bring new energy to Japanese art scene.
The museum has sculptures in a natural setting.
Visitors can not only enjoy watching the art works but also admire the combination of the picturesque scenery of the Hakone mountains and the art.
At The Picasso Exhibition Hall, paintings, sculptures and ceramic works are on display.
The Hakone Open Air Museum
Hours: 9:00 to 17:00
It is a traditional Japanese style cafe that has been running business for over 400 years.
It was a place where people rest before entering Sekisho.
Nowadays, a lot of hikers stop by to enjoy traditional sweets like Rice Cake and Amazake(sweet sake).
What’s great about Amazake here is that no sugar is added to it.
Instead, traditional way of brewing is used to add sweetness to the drink.
Don’t miss this place if you are a sake lover!
Hours: 7:00 to 17:30
Take Odakyu line from Shinjuku to Hakone Yumoto station.
(Time:About 2 hours Price: 1,190 yen for oneway)
※Hakone Free pass is also available at Shinjuku Station.
It only costs 5,140yen and you can ride on Odakyu express train, Tozan train, cable car, ropeway, pirate ship, and three other buses as many times as you like for 2 days.
Take JR Tokaido Shinkansen from Kyoto station to Odawara station（either Hikari or Kodama) and then take Tozan Railway to Hakone Yumoto station.
(Time:About 5 hours and 30 min in total Price: 11,310 yen for oneway)
Take JR Tokaido Shinkansen (Hikari) from Nagoya station to Hakone Yumoto Station.
(Time:About 2 hours and 30 min Price:8,730 yen for oneway)
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