Ready to embark on an unforgettable journey?
Here are 10 things to do in Hakone that will make you fall in love with Japan’s hidden gem. Packed with thrilling adventures, tranquil spots, and epicurean delights, this guide promises to take you beyond the usual tourist trail.
Get set to discover Hakone like never before!
1. Hakone Open-Air Museum
Stepping into Hakone Open-Air Museum is like entering a different realm where art and nature harmoniously coalesce. With stunning sculptures set against the backdrop of lush landscapes and the ubiquitous presence of Mount Fuji, it’s a picturesque setting that embodies the harmonious blend of human creativity and natural beauty.
Pro Travel Tip: Don’t miss the remarkable Picasso Pavilion that houses over 300 works of the master himself.
2. Owakudani Valley
Owakudani Valley, often referred to as the “Great Boiling Valley,” introduces you to Hakone’s volcanic side. A testament to the region’s seismic activity, the valley is famous for its sulfur vents and hot springs.
Pro Travel Tip: Savor the local specialty, Kuro-Tamago (black eggs), believed to add seven years to your life!
3. Lake Ashi Cruise
A Lake Ashi cruise is an essential experience when in Hakone. This serene lake nestled amidst verdant mountains presents a postcard-perfect panorama that captivates the senses.
Pro Travel Tip: Try to catch the sunset cruise for an ethereal spectacle of colors over the lake.
4. Relax in an Onsen
In Hakone, an authentic Japanese experience awaits at the onsens (hot springs). Let the therapeutic properties of the mineral-rich waters melt your stress away.
Pro Travel Tip: Check out Tenzan Onsen for a variety of outdoor and indoor baths in a tranquil, wooded setting.
5. Hakone Shrine
Hidden in the dense forest at the foot of Mount Hakone lies the serene Hakone Shrine. This mystical place, marked by its iconic torii gate on the lake, provides a profound sense of tranquility.
Pro Travel Tip: Visit early in the morning to avoid crowds and savor the peaceful ambiance.
6. Hakone Ropeway
For panoramic views of Hakone, nothing beats a ride on the Hakone Ropeway. As you glide above the valleys and mountains, the breathtaking scenery unfolds beneath you.
Pro Travel Tip: The ropeway provides the perfect vantage point to spot the majestic Mount Fuji on clear days.
7. Old Tokaido Road
The Old Tokaido Road, once the main route connecting Tokyo and Kyoto, offers an enriching journey back in time.
Pro Travel Tip: Enjoy a leisurely hike through the trail to discover old teahouses and historical checkpoints.
8. Gora Park
Gora Park, Hakone’s Western-style landscape park, is an oasis of calm and beauty. Its French rose garden, Italian-style fountain, and tropical greenhouse make it a delightful retreat.
Pro Travel Tip: Participate in the park’s tea ceremony for a taste of traditional Japanese culture.
9. Hakone Tozan Railway
Experience a unique mountain railway ride with the Hakone Tozan Railway. As the train zigzags through the mountains, enjoy enchanting views of valleys, rivers, and tunnels of hydrangeas.
Pro Travel Tip: June and July are the best months to travel for the hydrangea bloom.
10. Experience local cuisine
A visit to Hakone isn’t complete without indulging in its culinary offerings. From the traditional soba noodles to the iconic Hakone beer, every dish is a gastronomic delight.
Pro Travel Tip: Don’t miss out on trying Yosegi Zaiku, Hakone’s unique marquetry sushi.
Hakone, a realm of natural splendor and rich cultural experiences, offers something for everyone. From its mesmerizing landscapes to its soothing onsens, every corner of Hakone whispers a captivating tale that enthralls its visitors.
So, pack your bags, and get ready for a captivating journey through the heart of Japan, creating your own unique story along the way. Hakone awaits!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best time to visit Hakone?
The ideal time to visit Hakone depends on personal preferences, with spring and autumn being the most popular due to the mild weather and picturesque scenery. However, each season offers unique experiences worth exploring.
How do I get to Hakone from Tokyo?
Hakone is easily accessible from Tokyo via train, bus, or car. The most popular and convenient option is taking a train, such as the Odakyu Romancecar or the Tokaido Shinkansen.
Can I see Mount Fuji from Hakone?
Yes, Hakone offers multiple locations with stunning views of Mount Fuji, including Lake Ashi, Owakudani Valley, and certain points along the Hakone Ropeway. Visibility depends on weather conditions, with clearer days providing better views.
Are tattoos allowed in Hakone onsens?
Tattoos are traditionally frowned upon in Japanese onsens, but some facilities are more lenient. It’s advisable to check with individual onsens in advance or consider using a private onsen or ryokan with in-room baths.
What should I wear when visiting Hakone Shrine?
Visitors to Hakone Shrine should dress modestly, covering their shoulders and knees. Comfortable footwear is recommended for walking around the shrine and navigating any stairs.
After immersing yourself in the delightful charm of Hakone, you might be craving more. Dive deeper into the beauty of the Land of the Rising Sun with our curated list of other mesmerizing places to visit in Japan.
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About Ronaldo Stewart
Wantigo was born out of a deep passion for exploring new places and experiencing different cultures. With a keen sense of adventure and an insatiable thirst for knowledge, I’ve traveled far and wide, immersing myself in the beauty and wonder of the world.