Considered as Venice of Japan, Hakone is one of the best international holiday resorts. It is located in Kanagawa, about 100 kilometers from Tokyo. Hakone town is a great destination which possesses many ravishing scenery as well as series of hot springs.
Eating black eggs, immersing in hot springs or visit the museums and modern shopping centers will be an unforgettable experience for travelers arriving in this beautiful town.
1. Hakone-jinja shrine
Hakone is the most sacred area worshipping of mountain gods in Kanto region. The legend has it that around Lake Ashi there are many gods residing. Hakone-jinja was founded in 757 by Mangan Jonin after when he had had a spiritual dream. This temple has many ancient trees which are considered to provide capability of birth, bring good luck and fate of marriage. After climbing up the stone steps surrounded by the natural green color, visitors will encounter a red torii gate leading to the main temple which has a ancient and sacred beauty with many statues and religious objects. Sometimes on Saturdays or Sundays, guests and can see Japanese-style weddings here.
2. Lake Ashi
Ashi is a beautiful lake formed about 3,000 years ago, after the violent eruption of Hakone volcano. Well-known with many hotels, resorts and famous attractions around the lake shore, it is also a best place to admire Mount Fuji. Since there are yachts running on Lake Ashi, it will be very interesting for those who want to enjoy the great view from above the lake. Especially in Autumn, mountains covered with red maple leaves sparkling in yellow sunset creates a very glamorous scenery.
3. Hakone Open-Air Museum
This is the Japan’s first outdoor art museum opened in 1969 by utilizing the abundant nature. In the extensive garden with green spreading over an area of 70,000m2, visitors will have a panorama view of Hakone. The museum displays nearly 120 works of famous sculptors in neoclassical and modern time. There is a blend between nature and art here where you can watching carefully the works that you love or walking slowly to enjoy the nature in a pleasant atmosphere. In addition, it also has many interesting places such as the Picasso Museum, five indoor galleries, and particularly the natural Ashiyu Onsen so that visitors can have a break and relax.
4. Owakudani valley
Owakudani Valley is located halfway up the Hakone volcano. It is a popular tourist destinations in Japan with the landscapes formed by volcanic activities more than three thousand years ago. It is also well-known for eggs boiled in hot springs. The eggs will turn black and have light smell of sulfuric. According to legend of the locals here, black eggs will increase longevity. Each egg will have you live for more seven years, however, you should not eat three eggs at a time. You can conquer Owakudani valley in two ways on foot or by cable car. From the cable car looking down, you will see the smoke rising from the boiling ponds of water and have a chance to witness how Japanese people boil eggs and sell to tourists.
5. Gora Park
This is the first symmetrical form park in French style of Japan. The park is opened for business in 1914 in Gora – the last station of Hakone Tozan Railway. It has a designed fountain and a rose garden. The main gate of the garden is situated at an altitude of 574m and the west gate was located at an altitude of 611m. Its site is an open space with large sky and mountains surrounded and lots of flowers blooming throughout the four seasons. Moreover, the park also includes Museum of tropical plants, Crafthouse, Teahouse and a restaurant.
6. Hakone Venetian Glass Museum
Hakone Venetian Glass Museum is an extraordinary museum housing a collection of antique glass and modern glass objects. A variety of glass sculptures and glassware are displayed both inside and outdoors. You will be overwhelmed by the shimmering scenery of glass cherry trees, crystal hydrangea flowers or colorful glass series of unique artworks. There are cafe, bakery and restaurant where you can take a rest and enjoy the splendid glass gardens.
7. The Museum of The Little Prince
Opened in 1999, the museum is designed to replicate a French town and castle where Saint-Exupéry – the author of The Little Prince lived. The Little Prince is the most popular book in French that has been translated into many other languages. Visiting here, you will have the feeling of being lost in a French townscape. In the exhibition hall, the life of Saint-Exupéry is introduced by photos, hand-written letters and his favorite items. In the museum, videos of the story “The Little Prince” and Saint-Exupéry’s childhood will be displayed on a 400 inch screen. You can enjoy a meal in the elegant space of a restaurant. You can also spend time at a café in a spacious flower garden here.
8. Choanji Temple
Choanji Temple is a hidden treasure among other destinations in Hakone. This tiny temple was founded in 1356 on a small area featuring many stone statues and Hogai Kano’s tomb lied here. The ancient temple nestled in red maple leaves. It becomes prominent with beautiful colors of the foliage in Autumn. However, what make the temple unique are many small stone statues with dissimilar facial expressions. There are also three stone stupas dating from the 13th century, which were believed to be erected for the repose of departed souls.
9. Hakone Detached Palace Gadern
Hakone Detached Palace Garden also known as Onshi Hakone Park is on the campus of the Hakone Imperial villa. It is considered one of Japan’s best 100 historical parks. This garden is located near Lake Ashi and offers beautiful views of Mount Fuji. On nice days, there is nothing better than a walking trail to enjoy the glamorous beauty of mountain and lake surrounds.
10. Hakone ropeway
Hakone checkpoint located near Ashinoko lake was built in the 17th century under the Edo period. It lies on the main road linking the political center of Edo – Tokyo today, and other areas.
53 sekisho (facility for inspection) were set up major roads to closely control the activities and travel of people and goods and to protect Edo. Hakone Sekisho was one of the largest and most important among them.