Endowed with more than its fair share of natural beauty, Hakone in the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park is a town with water at its heart. At its centre, you’ll find the Ashino-ko lake from which Mount Fuji arises dramatically to crown the iconic mountain scenery.
Hakone is famous for its therapeutic hot springs and at just 100 kilometres from Tokyo, it’s a popular destination for blissful escapes from the big city. There’s no reason for your spirit to go un-nurtured either. You’ll find a noted Shinto shrine, the Hakone Gongen, standing just above lake Ashinoko with its torii rising from the water.
From sightseeing aboard a mock pirate ship on the lake itself to spending an afternoon wandering the Western-style Gora Park and being transported back to medieval times at the ruins of the Sekisho checkpoint, Hakone is a spellbinding destination.
When to go
Visit in April for cherry blossoms, or optionally in autumn (October to November) when the Miscanthus sinensis are in bloom. It is not recommended to travel to Hakone between Christmas and New Years.
What to do
- Visit the hot springs
- Tour the Hakone Gongen shrine
- See Owakudani geysers
- Take a cruise on Lake Ashi
- Hakone Open-Air Museum
- Pola Museum of Art