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Hakone Guide

Japan flag. Japan City Guides: Hakone Guide

Gora | Hakone Onsens | Hakone Attractions | Accommodation in Hakone | Getting to Hakone

Hakone 箱根

Hakone is a mountainous area in Kanagawa Prefecture about 80km (50 miles) southwest of Tokyo on the Tomei Expressway, just north of the Izu Peninsula, in the 121,850 hectare Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. Historically it was a rest and relaxation area for those making the journey between Kyoto (seat of the imperial Court) and Tokyo (seat of the Shogun). To this day it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Kanto region.

Mt Fuji from Hakone.

Mt Fuji from Hakone

Hakone lies within the vast crater of an extinct volcano in a mountain range that features Mount Fuji, offering fine views of Fuji-san, Lake Ashi, and numerous hot springs.



Gora

Komagatake, Hakone.

The town of Gora in Hakone is the closest Hakone has to a center. Gora connects to Togendai, the town by Lake Ashi, by means of the Hakone Tozan Cablecar to Sounzan, and then by the Hakone Ropeway to Togendai. The Owakudani ropeway stop is famous for thermal activity, including trademark eggs boiled in a thermal pool.

From the lakeside ropeway terminal station, Togendai, gaily painted pirate ships ply Lake Ashi between Togendai and the towns at the lake's southern end, Moto-hakone and Hakone-machi.

Halfway down Lake Ashi is Hakone-en, the first station of Hakone's other ropeway, the Komagatake Ropeway, which goes up to the 1,327m Komagatake Peak. Like Owakudani on the Hakone Ropeway, it is very thermal, and also sells hot pool boiled eggs - also said to prolong life by seven years!

Besides Mt. Komagatake, the other two mountains within the area are Mt. Kamiyama (1,438m), and Mt. Futago (1,091m), the slopes of all three being covered with thermal hot spots.

Hakone Open-Air Museum

Two stops before Gora on the Hakone Tozan Railway line, at Kowakidani, is the Hakone Open-Air Museum: one of Hakone's must-sees. It features, among others, the huge sculptures of the British sculptor Henry Moore, and has its own dedicated Picasso Museum.

Hakone Botanical Garden of Wetlands

These gardens, known in Japanese as the Hakone Shisseikaen, are open only between March 20 and November 30. They are highly recommended for their superbly laid out, prolific displays of the flora that characterizes Hakone, allowing the visitor access to landscapes normally inaccessible. More about Hakone Botanical Garden of Wetlands

Fujiya Hotel

Three stops before Gora on the Hakone Tozan line, at Miyanoshita, is Hakone's grandest accommodation: the Fujiya Hotel. This elegant aged hotel has hosted innumerable foreign dignitaries and celebrities since its opening in 1878.

Yunessun Onsen  Hakone, Japan.

Green Tea Spa, Yunessun Onsen, Hakone, Japan



Yunessun Onsen  Hakone, Japan.

The God's Aegean Sea, Yunessun Onsen Resort, Hakone, Japan

Pola Museum of Art

A little west of Gora, is the Pola Museum of Art, a gallery run by the Pola cosmetics company. Stylishly implanted into the surrounding scenery, it boasts some seriously great works of art, including Monet's Waterlilies, lots of Renoir and special exhibitions featuring major artists and artistic movements.

Hakone Onsens

Hakone has a number of large-scale resorts including Hakone Kowakien Yunessun - a hot spring spa and water amusement park. The Hakone Kowakien Yunessun is divided into two separate areas - the Yunessun Spa Resort, where patrons where swimsuits and can enjoy the water slides and the more traditional Mori No Yu onsen experience. Mio Mall at the resort showcases and sells local products.

Some of the fun activities at Yunessun Spa Resort include a sake bath with real Japanese sake, a green tea spa, a wine spa and a coffee spa. There is a bath to resemble a bath house in ancient Rome and the The God's Aegean Sea.

Yunessun Onsen  Hakone, Japan.

Wine Spa, Yunessun Onsen Resort, Hakone, Japan

Other Hakone Attractions - Museums

Art Museums | Craft Museums | History Museums | Nature Museums | Sport Museums

The map of Hakone is dotted with museums, halls and gardens offering something for everyone. Here is a list based on art, crafts, history and nature as a starting point for itinerary planning.

Art

  • Hakone Art Museum
  • Hakone Mononofu no Sato Art Museum
  • Hakone Open Air Museum
  • Hakone Picnic Garden Art Museum(spring through autumn)
  • Homma Museum of Art
  • Lalique Museum, Hakone
  • Mental Image Art Museum (Shinshouha no Kan)
  • Moa Museum of Art (sister museum to the Hakone Museum of Art)
  • Museum of Saint-Exupery and The Little Prince in Hakone
  • Nakagawa Kazumasa Art Museum, Manazuru
  • Narukawa Art Forum
  • Pola Museum of Art
  • Recorve Hakone Art Museum
  • Sano Art Museum
  • Yugawara Art Museum
  • Ashinoko Lake, Hakone.

    Lake Ashinoko, Hakone

    Crafts

  • Hakone Ashinoyu Flower Center
  • Hakone Folkcraft Hall (Hakone Kankou Bussankan) 'Hakone Glass Forest': a Venetian glass museum
  • Hakone Gora Park Craft house (Handicrafts Studio)
  • Hakone Music Box Museum (and Hakone Garden Museum)
  • Hakone Museum of Art (sister museum to the Moa Museum of Art and specializing in Japanese ceramics through the ages)
  • Hakone Teddy Bear Museum
  • Hakone Toy Museum (and Hakone Garden Museum)
  • Kamaboko(steamed fish paste) Museum of Suzuhiro Corp.
  • Sengokuhara Cultural Center
  • Wooden Handicraft Center (Hatajuku Yoriki Kaikan)
  • History

  • Hakone Check Point Exhibition (Hakone Sekisho Shiryoukan) relating to the toll gate established there in 1619
  • Hakone Detached Palace Garden (Onshi Hakone Koen), the old resort palace of the Emperor Meiji
  • Hakone Old Tokaido Highway Museum (Hakone Kyuukaidou Shiryoukan)
  • Hakone Shrine Treasure Museum
  • Museum of Historical Materials
  • Odawara Castle Donjon
  • Pearl-Shimokawa Memorial Hall commemorating the life of Yasaburo Shimonaka, the founder of the "Heibon-sha" publishing company (accessible only by appointment)
  • Eating hot spring eggs, Owakudani, Hakone.

    Eating hot spring eggs, Owakudani

    Nature

  • Ashinoyu Flower Center
  • Hakone 3-D Space Dinosaur World (Hakone 3-D Uchu-Kyouryuu Waarudo)
  • Hakone Begonia Garden
  • Hakone Botanical Garden of Wetlands
  • Hakone-en Aquarium
  • Hakone Garden Museum (and Hakone Toy Museum)
  • Hakone Gora Park
  • Hakone Wetlands Botanical Garden
  • Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Natural History
  • Mori no Fureaikan: a small natural history museum on the shore of Lake Ashi
  • Owakudani Natural Science Museum
  • Wild Grass Garden (Ashinoko Nogusa Koen)
  • Sport

  • Gotemba Sports Car Garden
  • Hakone-en Golf Course Golf driving range
  • Hakone Picnic Garden Snow Board Park & Snow Sled Park (winter)
  • Hakone Prince Hotel Tennis Courts
  • Hotel Dai-Hakone Tennis Court
  • Accommodation in Hakone

    Hakone has a wide range of accommodation on offer with many of the ryokan and hotels having their own onsen hot spring baths. Recommended places to stay in Hakone include the Hakone Hotel Kowakien, the Marroad Hakone Hotel, Lalaca, the Hyatt Regency Hakone Resort and Spa and the nearby Hotel Green Plaza Gora.

    Japanese style ryokan in Hakone include Yamadaya, Fujimien near Lake Ashinoko with great views of Mt. Fuji, and Ashinoko Ichinoyu also close to Lake Ashi.

    Access - how to get to Hakone

    Togendai Station, Hakone Ropeway.

    Togendai Station, Hakone Ropeway

    Train

    From Tokyo: a regular (futsuu) train takes about 90 minutes from JR Tokyo station to Odawara on the Tokaido line, and the fare is about 1500 yen, departing every 15-30 minutes.
    The bullet train from Tokyo station takes about 40 minutes and costs just over 3000 yen.
    From Odawara change to the Hakone-Tozan line to Hakone-Yumoto.

    From Shinjuku Station, the cheapest way to go is on the Odakyu line (under the big Odakyu Department Store on the west side of Shinjuku Station). For 850 yen take the Odawara line limited express (kaisoku kyuuko) bound for Fujisawa, then change trains after about 30 minutes at Sagami-ohno to the express (kyuuko) bound for Hakone Yumoto and alight at Hakone-Yumoto. It takes about 1 hour 50 minutes in total.

    Odakyu Freepass
    Odakyu offers what is called the 'Hakone Freepass' (actually 5,500 yen for adults - 4,700 on weekdays) that, as well as covering your return trip to Hakone, gives you unlimited access for three days to seven types of transportation in Hakone and discounts at a huge number of shops and facilities. More than pays for itself if you are spending more than a day moving around Hakone.

    Bus

    Odakyu also runs a bus service from Shinjuku Station. It takes just under two hours and a half to Hakone-machi and costs around 2000 yen one-way. There are buses and bus tours to Hakone from many other cities in Japan including Osaka, Hiroshima, Nagoya, Shizuoka and Yokohama.

    Tourist Information

    Hakone Tourist Information Service
    Tel: 0460 5 8911
    Hakone Yumoto Station Odakyu Line


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