Travel Destinations: Hakone, Japan
Hakone is a fun day trip from Tokyo or an ideal destination on its own for a few days. With a population of 15.2 thousand, Hakone is a haven for tourists. If the weather is very clear, you can even see Mount Fuji.
As a very popular destination, Hakone can get a little crowded on the weekends. The best time to come here is during the week in order to avoid the crowds.
Odawara is famous for its magnificent castle, although the one you see today is a reconstruction of the original. When the cherry blossoms are in full spring, this is a truly magical place, making you feel as if you have been transported back in time.
At the base of the mountain you will find the most popular hot springs resort in town. The onsen are, of course, the main attraction here. One of the best is the Kappa Tengoku Notemburo but if you have the budget for it, try the amazing Ten-zan Notemburo where there is a bigger collection of indoor and outdoor baths to choose from.
The village of Miyanoshita is a lovely place to stop for a few hours and to wander around the many little antique shops, hike along the pleasant trails and some local ryokan.
Just a little further down from Miyanoshita, you will come across Chokoku-no-Mori; stop here to visit the wonderful Hakone Open-Air Art Museum. There are some great displays of 19thand 20thcentury artworks from both Japan and the West in some stunning grounds. In the outdoor galleries you will come across works by Henry Moore, Rodin, Maillol and Miro; in the indoor galleries, you can admire some pieces of Calder, Giacometti and a Picasso pavilion. You can also see some wonderful paintings by Kotaro Takamura and Yuzo Fujikawara.
Gora is the place to start your cable car trip to Togendai, although the town itself should definitely be explored if you have the time. Take a quick trip to the Gyoza Centre where you can sample their famous dumplings available in a dozen different ways.
This is the highlight of any trip to Hakone, due to its wonderful views of the snow-capped Mount Fuji on clear days.
This wonderful mountain is the ideal place for those wanting to get an excellent view of Mount Fuji. Not far from here, there are some wonderful rock carvings to admire. They depict a group of Buddhas and other figures and date from 1192 to 1333 and are well-preserved.
There are so many places and things to do in Hakone that it is impossible to portray them here; a trip to this part of Japan will leave you with some of the most incredible memories lasting you a lifetime.