October 30, 2017

Things to do in Hakone

Among the things you can do and see in Hakone includes;
* Experience the various types of transport in the area like the scenic train, cable car, ropeway and sightseeing cruise.
* Admire Mount Fuji.
* Visit the many museums, shrines and other historical sites.
* Relax in a Japanese hot spring (onsen) or staying in traditional Japanese inn (ryokan).

As usual, I explored Hakone and did the round course with the Hakone Free Pass. The round course starts and ends in Hakone-Yumoto.

*credit to Japan Guide

Firstly, ride the Hakone Tozan Railway to Gora. Several hot springs and the Hakone Open Air Museum are located along the route.


Then ride the Hakone Tozan Cablecar from Gora to Sounzan. You can visit the Hakone Art Museum and Gora Park along the route.

inside the cablecar

Gora Park

Next, take the Hakone Ropeway from Sounzan to Togendai.

The last time I was in Hakone, Owakudani area was closed (it is still closed now) due to volcanic activity so we were transferred by bus fom Sounzan to Ubako.

Ubako to Togendai 

And finally, ride the Hakone Sightseeing Cruise on Lake Ashi from Togendai to Hakone-Machi.

 pirate ship

  beautiful Lake Ashi

Mount Komagatake 


Most ships operate from Togendai to Hakone-Machi and then continue to Moto-Hakone. If not, you can walk along the lake to Moto-Hakone. 

From Moto-Hakone, you can take Hakone Tozan Bus (line H or K) to return to Hakone-Yumoto. I love the view of Fuji-san and cruising the lake so I followed back the course in the opposite direction. 

Cruising Lake Ashi, you can see Mount Fuji when visibility is good. But I'm always unlucky. This is the best view I got. 

cloudssssss T_T

You can also see a torii gate on the shores of the lake. The famous torii-gate-on-the-water leads up to a series of steps to Hakone Shrine, nestled among the tall forest trees. The original shrine was at the summit of Mount Komagatake before being relocated to the shores of the lake.

Hakone shrine's torii gate and Mount Komagatake

Fuji-san and the torii gate

The shrine is just a short 5 minutes walk if you're coming from Moto-Hakone once you disembarked from the cruise. Off the main street of Moto-Hakone, this path leads toward the shrine.

 The path is lined with traditional lamps and surrounded by huge cedar trees more than 800 years old.

 Hakone Shrine

Opening hours: Always open
Entrance: Free

This special cedar trees is believed to be the symbol for an easy delivery when giving birth for pregnant ladies.

After visiting the shrine, you can head down to the floating torii-gate and take a walk along the lake, or head to Mount Komagatake.

After a long day of sightseeing, stay in a ryokan and enjoy the onsen. It doesn't have to be expensive, the guest house I stayed in Gora, Hakone Tent has private onsen. Yeay!

 private onsen

I visited Hakone during winter but I think the area would be more beautiful in Autumn when the forests around the shrine and the lake turn to orange-yellow-red colors.

It is possible to complete the Hakone round course in a day so you can make a day trip from Tokyo. However, I think 2D1N is the best to enjoy the area. Hakone Free Pass also comes in 2-day pass (or 3-day pass) anyway! Just in case the weather isn't so nice to you on day 1, you can revisit the places on day 2 like what I did (notice some of my pictures were cloudy and in some pictures, the sky was blue).

Hakone is a wonderful area, I keep on coming back again and again.

My previous Hakone trip here.

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