Hakone: a treasure a stone’s throw from Tokyo in Japan

For some years now, visiting Hakone has become one of the most demanded excursions by tourists traveling to Tokyo. A tour of Hakone is a perfect opportunity to enjoy natureobserve the unique landscape of Mount Fuji and learn about part of the most rustic and traditional Japan.

Curious historical facts of Hakone

Hakone City is located in Kanagawa Prefecture, just east of the Kanto region and not far from the country’s capital. Formerly, the city was one of the obligatory stops for all those who made the Tokaido route. This ancient route linked the ancient capital of Japan, Kyoto, with Edo, present-day Tokyo.

During the Edo period, Hakone was one of the transit areas most guarded by the Tokugawa clan. The intention was to use the city as a checkpoint to prevent the transport of illegal or dangerous goods for the safety of the capital, Edo.

A curious detail of the time is that women were prohibited from traveling alone for protection. Apparently, there were cases of women held as slaves by the great feudal lords of the capital. Luckily, this would end thanks to the good work of the shogunate.

Already during the Meiji Restoration, the emperor chose Hakone as one of his summer vacation villas. The residence was built on the shore of Lake Ashi and is preserved in almost perfect condition today.

Enjoying visiting Hakone

One of the most demanded activities during the visit is to relax in one of the onsen or typical Japanese spas in Hakone. Here we will find them of all kinds, from mixed or outdoors to public or private. An important fact is that many hotels offer the option of going to the onsen without having to spend the night in them.

Another of the obligatory stops is to pay a visit to the Hakone or Hakone Jinja shrine. This Shinto shrine is surrounded by the local nature. There, a spectacular torii, submerged over Lake Ashi, welcomes us to the site. This is one of the most photographed prints in the area.

Furthermore, without having to leave the area, we should not miss the opportunity to cross the lake in some of the tours that are offered. The views of Mount Fuji from here are truly spectacular..

Other attractions

We can also walk through the volcanic area of ​​Owakudami. Moreover, for a few years, since the volcano is active, this area has been restricted to tourism. The tours offered during the tour will take us to see first-hand the large cracks from which sulfur gases emanate.

Likewise, also we can try the acquaintances Kuro Tamago or black eggswhich are boiled directly in the waters of these volcanic cracks.

Finally, Among the highlights of Hakone we find the Imperial Villa or Hakone Palace. It was built in 1886 and offers one of the best views of Mount Fuji. Walking through the palace will make us feel as if we were traveling back in time to discover the splendor of the Edo period.

Useful tips for the trip

One of the easiest ways to get to Hakone is from Tokyo. The two options are the famous Shinkansen, also known as the bullet train, and the Romancecar train. Remember that to use the Shinkansen we must have the JR Pass. If we choose the second option, we will enjoy a longer trip, but with incredible views before reaching our destination.

Being a fairly large area, there are several methods of transportation such as buses, trains, boats and even cable cars. Depending on where we go, it will be worth choosing the bus to travel to the foot of Mount Fuji or the funicular to reach the highest parts such as Gora and Sounzan. Also use the boat to enjoy the views of Lake Ashi.

In the same way, We recommend spending a night in Hakone to enjoy its onsen or hot springs. Here we will not only find hotels, but also several guest-house and even some ryokan, which are traditional lodging houses.

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