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HakoneHakone is one of the popular sightseeing and resort areas in Kanto region, and is located southwest part of Kanagawa Prefecture. It is located about 80-100 km southwest of Tokyo.

Whole Hakone is a caldera volcane named Mount Hakone, and it has a diameter of about 15 km.
There are some peaks on central cone such as Kamiyama (1,438m) and Hakone-Komagatake (1,356m).

On the west side of caldera cone, there is Lake Ashi which is a caldera lake, and Sengokubara field stretches on the north side.
The somma surrounds these, and its peaks are about 900-1,200 meters high.

Hayakawa River flows from Lake Ashi, through Sengokubara and east side of caldera cone.
And it forms a gorge, and flows to the east and into Sagami Bay.

Mount Hakone is an active volcano, then we can see some spots emitting volcanic gas and there are many hot spring resorts in this area.

Since the 17th century, the main route "Tokaido" between Edo (current Tokyo) and Kyoto was passed through here, because it was the shortest route. And here was the hardest part on the route, because travelers had to get over a steep pass.
Then Edo govenment placed a checking station here, and they checked the travelers and cargoes strictly to defend Edo city.

Now the main route don't pass this area.
Shinkansen and JR Tokaido Line run toward southeast along the coastline, and Tomei Expressway runs toward northwest.
But this area has various transportation as the sightseeing area.

Most popular entrance to this area is Odawara.

Hakone Navi : Sightseeing information of Hakone
Hakone-Zenzan : Hakone Town Tourist Association official website

Hakone area map 

Along Hakone Tozan Railway

Hakone Tozan Railway Hakone Tozan Railway is the most popular transportation to Hakone.
It runs from Odawara, through Hakone-Yumoto, to Gora, along Hayakawa River.
Between Odawara and Hakone-Yumoto (about 6 km), the slope is gentle.
But between Hakone-Yumoto and Gora (about 9 km), the slope is steep, then the train climbs the difference of height of 445 meters within the short distance.

  • Hakone-Yumoto hot spring resort /1/ : It is the largest hot spring resort town in Hakone, and is just located at the gateway to cantral Hakone.
    Hayakawa River and Sukumo River are confluent here, and there are many hotels and ryokans along the rivers.
  • Tonosawa hot spring resort /2/ : It is a quiet hot spring resort located about 1 km west of Hakone-Yumoto. There are several old established ryokans.
  • Ohiradai hot spring /3/ : It is located about 2 km west of Tonosawa. There is a public bath "Himenoyu".
  • Miyanoshita hot spring resort /4/ : It is a hot spring resort located about 1.5 km west of Ohiradai.
    Fujiya Hotel is the most famous old established ryokan opened in 1878, and many celebrities and foreigners have stayed here. (John Lennon and Yoko Ono also stayed here.)
    Fujiya Hotel official website
  • Dougashima hot spring /5/ : It is near the bottom of the gorge of Hayakawa River, and is located just below Miyanoshita.
    There are only two hotels, and we must ride the each hotel's cable car to go there.
  • Kowakudani hot spring resort /6/ : It is a hot spring resort located about 1 km west of Miyanoshita.
    An old established ryokan and a few large hotels are dotted.
  • The Hakone Open-Air Museum /7/ : It is an open-air museum of art. There are many sculptures in the large garden.
    The creaters of the works are Picasso, Rodin, Moore and other famous artists.
  • Gora hot spring resort /8/ : It is one of large hot spring resorts, and is the terminal of Hakone Tozan Railway.
    Here is also a stopping point to Lake Ashi.

Owakudani valley /11/

OwakudaniIt is a valley located to the north of central cone, and is main place emitting the volcanic smoke in Hakone.

A sightseeing road to here, and many tourists visit here.
There are some walking trails around here.
And we can see the valley from above by ropeway. (The ropeway connects between Lake Ashi and Sounzan to which we can climb from Gora by cable car.)

The unique speciality here is "black egg".
It is made by only boilling common eggs in the hot spring here. The sulfer and iron contents in the spring make the eggshells black by a chemical change.
It is said that eating a black egg gives you extra 7 years.

Sengokubara area

SengokubaraSengokubara area is the north part of caldera in Hakone, and is located at a height of 600-700 meters.
Hayakawa River flows through this area from southwest to southeast.
Grasslands and wetlands are spread, and there are some unique museums in this area.

  • Sengokubara field /21/ : It is the grassfield, and is located at the northern foot of Mount Daigatake which is one of the central cone.
    It is known for the field of Japanese silver grass in autumn.
  • Hakone Botanical Garden of Wetlands /22/ : It is a botanical garden like a natural park, and the whole site is in Sengokubara wetland.
    There are about 200 kinds of Japanese wetland plants, 1,300 kinds of highland and alpine plants and 200 kinds of foreign plants.
    It is closed from December 1 to March 19.
  • Venetian Glass Museum /23/ : It is a museum displaying traditional and modern works of Venetian glass. There are some European-style buildings for museums and shops around a pond.
  • The Museum of The Little Prince /24/ : "The Little Prince" (Le Petit Prince) is a children's literature by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900-1944, a French writer).
    It has been read in Japan, and the animated TV series had been created in Japan in 1978.
    This museum was opened in 1999 as the world's first museum about the writer. It introduces the writer and his works. The site is like a theme park.
    The Museum of The Little Prince official website

Lake Ashi /31/

Lake AshiLake Ashi is a caldera lake in Hakone, and is called "Ashinoko" in Japanese.
It is about 6 km long from north to south, and the width is about 0.6-1.5 km.
There is the caldera cone on the east side of the lake, and the somma is on the west side.
And it is located at the level of 723 meters.

The pleasure boats are operating between Kojiri area on the north shore and Hakone town area on the south shore.
Kojiri area has a terminal of ropeway from Sounzan through Owakudani. The name of terminal station is Togendai.
Hakone town is the historic town placed the checking station, and is the central town in Hakone area.

There are two companies of pleasure boat here. They are Hakone-Kankosen and Ashinoko-Yuransen.
They are rivals, and each company has own pier.
Additionally, if you use a discount coupons with fare of transportation and addmission of sightseeing spots in Hakone area, you must board the ship of the designated company on the coupon.

Hakone Kankosen official website

  • Hakone Checking Station /32/ : It is the restored checking station in Edo Period, and is located Hakone town. In Japanese, it is called "Hakone Sekisho".
    Some buildings and gates have been precisely reproduced. And there is the museum of this sekisho.
    Hakone Sekisho official website
  • Onshi-Hakone-Koen Park /33/ : Here was a detached palace of Emperor's family, but it was destroyed by the Kanto Great Earthquake in 1923. Then the site was donated to Kanagawa Prefecture in 1946.
    It is on a small peninsula near Hakone Checking Station.
    This site is covered with gardens and forests, and we can see Ashinoko and Mount Fuji.
  • Old road lined with cypress trees /34/ : The old road was the main road from Hakone Checking Station to Edo. It is said that the cypress trees were planted in the early 17th century.
    We can find the scenery of those days.
  • Hakone Shrine /35/ : It is a Shinto shrine located near southeast shore of Lake Ashi. It is said that it was founded in 757.
    One of the torii gates stands in the lake.

Other surrounding spots

  • Hatajuku /41/ : It is a small town in the south valley of caldera, and was one of post stations in Hakone area in Edo Period.
    Now here is known for Yosegi-zaiku which is a traditional woodwork in Hakone.
    There is "Yosegi Kaikan", a museum introducing Yosegi-zaiku, in the center of the town.
    And there are some workshops of Yosegi-zaiku in the town.
  • Yugawara hot spring resort /42/ : It is an old hot spring resort. The position is out of Hakone, but it is the southeast entrance to Hakone.
    It is close to Atami which is the great hot spring resort, but Yugawara has old Japanese-style hotels and has a local feeling.
Scenic or Nature / Park or Garden / Resort / City, Town or Village / Quarter or Street /
Temple or Shrine / Museum or Laboratory / Market or Commercial facility / Factory /
Other Building or Construction / Historic place / Remains / World Heritage Site

How to get to here

To Odawara by railroad

  • By Shinkansen, about 35 minutes from Tokyo. Only all "Kodama" and some "Hikari" stop here.
  • By JR Tokaido Line, about 1 hour and 15-25 minutes from Tokyo.
  • By Odakyu Line, about 1 hour and 10-15 minutes by limited express, about 1 hour and 30 minutes by express from Shinjuku.
    Most limited expresses lead to Hakone-Yumoto.

Hakone Tozan Railway, Cable Car and Ropeway

  1. From Odawara to Hakone-Yumoto, the trains of Odakyu run. It takes about 14 minutes.
    From Hakone-Yumoto to Gora, the mountain trams of Hakone Tozan Railway run. About 25 minutes to Miyanoshita, about 38 minutes to Gora.
  2. From Gora to Sounzan, about 10 minutes by cable car.
  3. From Sounzan to Togendai, about 30 minutes by ropeway.

Pleasure boats of Lake Ashi

From Kojiri (Togendai) to Hakone town, about 40 minutes.

Route buses in Hakone

  • Odawara (15min) Hakone-Yumoto (11min) Miyanoshita (33min) Hakone town
  • Odawara (15min) Hakone-Yumoto (28min) Sengokubara (16min) Kojiri
  • Hakone-Yumoto (20min) Hatajuku (25min) Hakone town
  • Yugawara (37min) Hakone town

Hakone Tozan Railway
Hakone-Yumoto along Hayakawa River
The town of Hakone-Yumoto
Hakone Tozan Railway aroun Tonosawa
Gorge around Miyanoshita
Hakone Open-Air Museum
Gora park near Gora station
Cable car from Gora to Sounzan
Hakone Ropeway
Owakudani from ropeway
Owakudani valley
Black eggs at Owakudani
Japanese silver grasses in Sengokubara
Sengokubara field
Hakone Boranical Garden of Wetland Venetian Glass Museum
The Museum of The Little Prince Lake Ashi and Mount Fuji
Pleasure boat like a pirate ship on Lake Ashi Hakone Cheking station
Main building of Checking station Onshi-Hakone-Koen park
Old road lined with cypress trees Hakone Shrine
Old Tokaido around Hatajuku
Yugawara hot spring resort

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