Hakone Japan is a lovely, mountainous national park that lies south of Mount Fuji. It is dotted with lakes and hot springs, shrines and art museums, and its easy access from Tokyo makes it a perfect place to visit if you want some time out relaxing away from city life. It is possible to visit in a day, but it is much more fun to spend at least one night in a traditional, wooden Japanese ryokan (inn) or a smart hotel, and enjoy unwinding in one of the many hot-spring baths.
Railways, funiculars, cable cars and buses enable you to get about the area of Hakone Japan. There are even brightly colored ‘pirate ships’ on which you can travel the length of Lake Ashi, to the west of the park. The lake, with its view of Mount Fuji in the background, was formed 3,000 years ago, in the caldera of Mt Hakone. People have been coming for centuries to take restorative baths in the hot springs, the best-known of which is the spring at Yumoto, at the entrance to the park.
The Hakone Japan Open-Air Museum consists of 7 ha (17 acres) of beautifully landscaped gardens with views across the mountains to the sea. It is full of sculptures – Rodin and Giacometti feature as do 26 pieces by Henry Moore. There is a Picasso pavilion and galleries displaying works by Joan Miro and Marc Chagall as well as modern Japanese artists such as Takeshi Hayashi. From Sounzan a cable-car will take you to Owakudani, where you can trek up the valley to bubbling hot pools where Japanese tourists boil eggs until they are black and eat them with evident relish.
At Hatajuku craftsmen have been honing the art of marquetry for more than 1,200 years, and you can visit their workshops and find a perfect little box or puzzle to remind you of this lovely place.
What Is Hakone Japan
A national park south of Mt Fuji.
What Is To See In Hakone Japan
The Hakone Motomiya shrine, the Tokkaido Barrier and highway, Hakone Tozan Railway.
Do Not Miss
Take a restorative bath in one of the hot springs.
You Should Know About Hakone Japan
Entrance fees are payable.
How To Travel To Hakone Japan
By train or bus from Tokyo.