Hakone, a Japanese mountain town located in the heart of Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, west of Tokyo, is known for its hot springs (onsen) and the panorama it offers over the iconic volcano from Mount Fuji. It also houses the Hakone Shinto Shrine, with a red “torii” gate emerging from Lake Ashi, accessible by boat.
From tokyo it will takes you 1h30 to go to hakone. I higly recommend you to buy the odakyu line hakone pass on the odakyu office at shinjuku station. This pass cover the round trip in romancer express (a special odakyu fast train; known for its view from the head of the train) , the pass cover also all the transportation : bus in hakone. The pass also allow you to have access to severals activities at hakone and you will have many reductions and promotions on local restaurants.
At the odakyu line office in shinjuku you can buy very convenient pass all over the odakyu lines, not only for hakone but also for kamakura and ooyama mountain (that i will present you in the next blog). If you are interested please find here their website in english.
Through the window the view is wonderful especially before arriving in hakone, surrounded by the mountains you really have the feeling that your enter in a secret hiding place in the middle of the nature. When you arrived to the station you can take a hot coffee to the station coffee with a majestic view on the river and on the landscape. From here many hikking are available and you can find all the informations on the tourism office in the front of the station.
Probably one of the most famous spot of hakone the lake ashi(芦ノ湖, Ashinoko).
You can walk all around through medieval japanese traditional museum, through the mountain and the forest and if it’s in summer they have a small spot to swim.
The best views of the lake in combination with Mount Fuji can be enjoyed from Moto-Hakone (a few steps south from the sightseeing boat pier), from the Hakone Detached Palace Garden and from the sightseeing boats cruising the lake.
As mentioned you can enjoy a beautiful view on fuji mount and on the lake ashi by using on of the cruising boat running on the lake.
Two companies, Hakone Sightseeing Boats and Izuhakone Sightseeing Boats, operate boats between Moto-Hakone and Hakone-machi at the lake’s southern shores and Togendai and Kojiri at the lake’s northern end.
A boat cruise from one end of the lake to the other takes roughly 30 minutes and costs 1050 yen.
The Hakone Free Pass is valid on the pirate ship shaped Hakone Sightseeing Boats but not on boats operated by Izuhakone.
This experience is highly recommended 🙂
Hakone Shrine (箱根神社, Hakone Jinja) stands at the foot of Mount Hakone along the shores of Lake Ashi.
The shrine buildings are hidden in the dense forest, but are well advertised by its huge torii gates, one standing prominently in the lake and two others over the main street of Moto-Hakone.
Please enjoy here some pictures of the torii.
When I went there I had to wait over than an hour to take a picture.
The Hakone Ropeway (箱根ロ－プウエイ) is part of the Hakone Round Course, a popular way to visit Hakone.
It connects Sounzan Station (at the terminus of the Hakone Tozan Cablecar) with Togendai Station (at the shore of Lake Ashi) and stops at Owakudani and Ubako stations on the way.
The ropeway is fully covered by the Hakone Free Pass.
It will cost you around 1200 yens for a round trip with the ropeway, but the cost is covered by the hakone pass.
On the top you can enjoy a majestic view on fuji and on temple.
This moment was magical for me.
Thanks for reading me, and I hope to see you soon to share more of my travels around japan.