Attractions in Hakone

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Attractions and things to see in Hakone:

  • Hotsprings - Onsen
    There are lots of hot springs and spas in Hakone. The locales call it Onsen and its a place for complete relaxation, a place to forget about all the works and businesses of city life. They are very popular in Japan because of the health benefits derived from the various natural minerals desolved in the water. In Hakone, the hot springs -onsen can be found in the valleys, mountains, along the shore of Lake Ashi and in the bath houses and ryokan.
  • Lake Ashi (Ashinoko):
    Lake Ashi, together with the mt. Fuji are the major symbols of Hakone. History has it that this lake was formed in the caldera of mt Hakone 3000years ago after a volcanic eruption. It lies at the center of all the mountain range and valleys and the virgin forests of Hakone. Rich with various species of fishes; a cruise along its length provides tourists with a magnificient view of mount Fuji(that is when the weather permits), a panoramic view of other surrounding mountains and valleys, the foliage of the deep green forest(which changes colors to either yellow or red in autumn), red torii gate of the Hakone shrine. This is a must for tourist who wish to have the best of Hakone. The cruise boats make stops at Togendai-ko, Moto Hakone-ko and Hakone-machi.
  • Sea Pirate Ships (Kaizoku-sen):the sea pirate ship, kaizokusen at port Hakone on lake Ashi
    These are replica pirate ships cruising along lake Ashi, they provide some of the best sightseeing experience for tourists to Hakone, enabling them to enjoy the spectacular views of the mountains, valleys and beaches along the bank of lake Ashi while enjoying the comfort of these ships. They are four in number: "Royal""Frontier", "Victoria" and "Vasa". Get on the deck of one of them and let the soft breeze from the lake blow out all your stress of city life. Various kinds of drinks, souvenirs etc can be purchased onboard.
  • Gora Park
    Gora is about the most beautiful park in Hakone famous for its water fountain and the different seasonal flowers with a spectacular lighting diplays in summer and december. When you're done with Gora, take the Hakone Tozan Cable-car to the top of mt. sounza where a scenic view of Fuji-san(mt. Fuji) awaits you. The Hakone Ropeway takes you from Sounza to Uwakudani for another great view of mt. Fuji from a diferrent angle and to Lake Ashi.
    The other parks that may interest tourists and sightseers are the Onshi-Hakone Park, Hakone Begonia Garden, Hakone botanical Garden of Wetlands.
  • Hakone Tozan Cable Car:
    The Hakone Tozan cable cars runs from Gora to Sounza in a space of 9 minutes. Major attractions along this route include the various hot springs at Gora, the Gora National Park with its beautiful fountain, the Hakone museum of art, the Hakone Sounzan museum, a clear view of mt. Kami and the scenic views of mt. Myojogatake.
  • Hakone Ropeway:
    This is an aerial transportation using suspended cable cars(sengokuhara). It is second in the world only to the Kriens Bahn in Switzerland. Running from Sounzan through Owakudani and Ubako to Togendai, the cars built with large windows provides easy viewing of the whole Hakone mountain range and the different seasonal changes in the forests around Hakone. Notable sights along the way is mt Fuji, mt. Kami and the lake Ashi at the final stop at Togendai from where one can continue on with a boat cruise along the lake.
  • Hakone Tozan Railway:
    This is a full scale mountain railwal and the only one in Japan. A ride on this train starting at Odawara station and ending at Gora is a must and a great way to see Hakone from all the vantage positions. It passes through tunnels and bridges bringing tourist very close to nature with lots of attraction all along the 50 minutes ride.
  • Owakudanicharred remains of a rock at owakudani after volcanic eruption
    Another name for Owakudani is Jigokudani meaning "The Valley of Hell". It is still spewing with sulphur and thermal heat about 3000 years after the last volcanic eruption of mount Hakone. Around this crater is where you find what I call the "Egg of Life", if you want to live longer, visit areas around Owakudani. There are some eggs on sale, cooked in the thermal heat source of Owakudani, eating one of these eggs can add seven(7) years to your lifespan; at least thats what the locales believe.
    Read more about Owakudani
  • Hakone Shrinemountainous Moto-Hakone Port along lake Ashi showing tourists lined-up to board the sea pirate ship or kaizokusen with the orange and black torii sign on the background announcing the presence of the Hakone Shrine in the city
    A place of worship for many Japanese. They come to the Hakone shrine in their hundreds of thousands every new year to pray for blessings of good health and longivity. Located in the thick forest of Moto-Hakone, large orange and black painted torii gates on the main street of Moto-Hakone and on the Ashi lake serves as notices to tourists and worshippers that they are close-to or approaching the shrine.
    Note torii: The gateway sign or post marking the entrance to a Shinto shrine. They are made of stone and sometimes woods with two rounded poles on either sides of the road and a crossbar. Though this one here has two orange poles and a black crossbar on top, other toriis may be all orange, red or even stone gray.
  • The Hakone Open air Museum(Japanese: Hakone Chokoku no Mori Bijutsukan)
    This is the place where nature meets arts. Large beautiful sculptures, neatly displayed in the open park with the surrounding mountains, valleys, seasonal flowers all combine to form an amazing background.
    Other museums in Hakone include: The Hakone-jinja Shrine Treasure Museum, Lalique Museum, Museum of Saint Exupéry and the Little Prince, Narukawa Art Museum, Pola Museum of Art, Venetian Glass Museum.
  • Other attractions
    • Golf Courses
    • Old Tokaido
    • Hakone Detached Palace

Best Views:

  • Mount Fuji - Autumn/winter, early mornings and late evenings from the boats along the Ashi lake, from the mountains or from Moto Hakone.
  • Cherry blossom - April
  • Chinese silvergrass - Autumn
  • Another great view in Autumn is along the lake when all the leaves on the trees turn yellow and red.
  • Hakone is a mountainous resort, the driveway is complete with viewing spots all along the mountain range to the top, from where the beauty of the sprawling Ashi Lake can also be viewed. You can also view the mountains from the boats along the Lake Ashi.
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