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Region
Kanto
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Yokohama
Population
8,489,932

Hakone

Competition for the most beautiful region of Japan is fierce but Hakone is a serious contender.

Hakone lies within the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park comprising the beautiful landscape of Lake Ashinoko, Mount Fuji and some of the best onsen towns you’ll ever visit. The Hakone region itself is made up of seven hot-spring towns, each with their own unique characteristics and charm.

Hakone, Japan - September 21, 2013: The red torii gate which stands on the shore of Lake Ashi near Hakone Shrine. The shrine is a popular Shinto temple near Mount Fuji.

Photo by: See the famous red torii gate at the stunning Lake Ashinoko.

The main gateway to Hakone for many visitors is Hakone-Yumoto. This touristy town is defined by its red bridge, waterfalls and natural appeal that transcends the seasons. It’s also a major stop on the Hakone-Tozan Railway, which is essentially Japan’s answer to the Hogwarts Express.

Instead of weaving your way through the Scottish highlands though, you’ll find yourself transported into luscious Japanese forests, careening between some of the world’s most striking volcanic zones.

Lake Ashinoko is a prime example. As a caldera lake formed during an almighty eruption from Mount Hakone over 3000 years ago, its violent beginnings have lead to one of the prime sightseeing spots in Japan. Behind its famous red tori gate on the lake shore, those lucky enough to pick a clear day will be able to see unparalleled views of Mount Fuji.

Ropeway and view of Mountain Fuji from Owakudani, Hakone. Japan.

Photo by: Take the ropeway at Owakudani for some epic views.

If you want to get more up-close and personal with a volcano, take a day trip to Owakudani. There are many hiking trails and ropeways allowing visitors to properly explore the area.

If you’re not a fan of sulphurous fumes, Susuki-sogen (or silver grass field) in Sengokuharae is a photogenic area of the countryside where you can explore nature in respiratory comfort. Gora, an onsen town that has five different kinds of hot-springs, is also a place of deep relaxation. Hop from onsen to onsen and soak in the mineral-rich waters. Throughout the Hakone region, onsen can be found almost anywhere. Even the most budget of hostels can come with a refreshing indoor and outdoor onsen.

Hakone,Japan-April 3,2015 :Japanese boy take a pose with rickshaw waiting for customer in Hakone,Japan on April 3,2015.Rickshaw available in tourist attractive place .

Get around in a traditional rickshaw.

A favourite of imperial families both past and present, Hakone has always attracted people and areas of historical significance. His imperial highness and co. often visited Hakone during the summer months, with Hakone’s Detached Palace Garden built as a resort for the higher classes boasting a stunning array of nature and magnificent views of Fuji.

Religious monuments like Hakone Shrine and Choanji Temple are well worth the goshuinchou (temple book) stamp. Hakone-Machi was once one of the main routes along an ancient highway linking Eastern and Western Japan and therefore has the stunning Hakone Checkpoint. Slightly further out in Odawara is Odawara Castle, a fine specimen of a castle that historically dates back to Japan’s 15th century (although it has been rebuilt and restored many times). Hakone also has many art museums such as the Hakone Open Air Museum and Okada Museum of Art.

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How To Get There

By train

From Shinjuku Station, the Odakyu line operates a service between Shinjuku and Hakone-Yumoto Station. A one-way ticket via the “Romance Car” limited express train takes about 85 minutes and costs ¥2080. By slower express trains the journey takes about two hours and requires one transfer at Odawara Station, for only ¥1190.

Alternatively, local JR lines such as the Tokaido Main Line and Shonan-Shinjuku Line can also be used to access as far as Odawara Station. From Odawara, you can transfer to the Hakone-Tozan line to reach places such as Hakone-Yumoto Station, a 15 minute train ride away. These trains are covered by the Japan Rail Pass, JR Tokyo Wide Pass, JR East Nagano Niigata Area Pass, JR East Tohoku Area Pass and JR East South Hokkaido Pass.

By JR Tokaido Shinkansen you can access Odawara on selected Kodama and Hikari trains. It’s about half an hour from Tokyo or Shinagawa Station (about ¥3500 one way, fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass only).

By bus

Direct highway buses operate every 30 minutes between Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station and the Lake Ashi area in Hakone. The one way journey costs about ¥2000 and takes about two hours. Less frequent direct buses run between Haneda Airport and Hakone, which stop at Yokohama Station along the way. The one way journey costs about ¥2000 yen and takes about two and half hours.

Where To Stay

Hakone Yunohana Prince Hotel
  • Ashinoyu 93 Ashigarashimo-Gun Hakone-Machi, Kanagawa 250-0523
  • 8.3/10
  • 0.5 km
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Hakone Kousano Mori
  • Kowakudani 443-137 Ashigarashimo-Gun Hakone-Machi, Kanagawa 250-0406
  • 1.0 km
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Matsuzakaya Honten
  • Ashinoyu 57 Ashigarashimo-Gun Hakone-Machi, Kanagawa 250-0523
  • 8.9/10
  • 1.1 km
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Kinokuniya Ryokan
  • Ashinoyu 8 Ashigarashimo-Gun Hakone-Machi, Kanagawa 250-0523
  • 7.8/10
  • 1.1 km
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