Hakone in Kanagawa: A fantastic tourist destination and on the doorstep of Tokyo
Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
Hakone in Kanagawa is a special tourist destination because you have so much to see and visit and many people return time and again. The natural beauty of Hakone is a wonder to behold and this town rests within the Fuji Hakone Izu National Park.
Japanese tourists and international tourists flock to Hakone because of the stunning richness of natural beauty and the many attractions which are on offer. Hakone provides a plethora of places to visit and you can visit many cultural museums during your stay.
Alternatively, if you just want to connect with nature and enjoy the beautiful landscape then the choice belongs to you. Of course, people will have their own particular needs and for busy individuals it may even apply to a very short stay and making the most of a luxury onsen after visiting the mountains.
If you reside in Tokyo or you are a tourist to Tokyo; then Hakone is on the doorstep of Tokyo and if you travel by the Odakyu Limited Express “Romancecar” then it takes less than 90 minutes.
The “Romancecar” is a great way to travel because you can relax in comfort and you have a drinks and food service which caters for your needs. Also, the Hakone Freepass is a must because it provides great value and you can use it for 7 types of different transport.
This applies to the Hakone Ropeway, Hakone Tozan Line, and other forms of transport. Therefore, you can hop on and off different forms of transport and the scenic views from the Hakone Ropeway and Hakone Tozan Line is stunning; the different forms of transport also adds to your holiday because the quaint train journey is pleasurable by itself.
Hakone is home to famous spas and is located in a large historical zone and when you include this to the stunning nature of the Fuji Hakone Izu National Park and cultural attractions on offer; then it is clear to see why Hakone is so popular.
Mount Fuji can be seen in various parts of the Fuji Hakone Izu National Park range and further afield during your journey to the area.
Lake Ashi (Lake Ashi-no-ko) is very beautiful and if you visit by cable car then you will clearly see Mount Fuji on the way and an abundance of stunning nature in every direction. Once you have arrived at Lake Ashi then you can enjoy a pleasurable boat trip and go for nice walks and if you buy a Hakone Freepass from the Odakyu train company then you can use the transport systems on offer.
Hakone also provides a plethora of places to visit and if you like museums then you will enjoy your stay to the full. The main museums apply to the Narukawa Art Museum for modern Japanese paintings; the Hakone Open Air Museum; the Pola Museum of Art; Venetian Glass Museum; Suzuhiro Corp. Kamaboko Museum; Local History Museum; Museum of Saint Exupery and the Little Pince in Hakone; Hakone Old Takaido Road Museum; Hakone Mononofu-no-Sato Art Museum; Hakone Art Museum; Honma Yosegi Museum; and Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Natural History.
History also flows throughout the veins of Hakone and in the Tokugawa period all travelers entering or leaving Edo along the Tokaido were stopped and searched by officials belonging to the Tokugawa shogunate.
If you go back even further in history and to the Heian period then Hakone is famous for the Hakone Gongen. The Hakone Gongen is a famous Shinto shrine and it is located along the shores of Lake Ashi.
Therefore, Hakone is certainly a great place to visit irrespective if you reside in Japan or you are a tourist to Japan. Also, given the fact that Tokyo is the most popular tourist destination in Japan then Hakone is less than 90 minutes away if you travel from Shinjuku by the Odakyu “Romancecar.”
I have not mentioned all the places to visit but I will add that the volcanically active Owakudani geysers; Hakone Botanical Garden of Wetlands; Hakone-jinja shrine and Treasure Museum; Odawara Castle Donjon; and many stunning parks and gardens; are all worth visiting.
All in all, the Fuji Hakone Izu National Park and surrounding area is a tourist destination of the highest quality and given the comfort on offer by the Odakyu train company which provides a fantastic service and special Hakone pass; then you can enjoy everything which Hakone provides and at the same time you can travel easily from place to place.