Hakone

It was my friend’s idea to visit Hakone while we were in Japan and I was glad that we went there. It is possible to do a day-trip here from Tokyo but one day is not enough as there are many things to explore and Hakone is a place best explore slowly.

Japanese traditional house by the river
Traditional house by the river

Town house at Hakone
Town house at Hakone

Hakone is a picturesque town in Kanagawa, part of Fuju Hakone Izu national park and famous for its hot springs. Hakone town itself is a pleasure to walk around exploring the shops and food. They are famous for their noodle, so try out the soba noodle when you are there.

I recommend staying overnight at a traditional Japanese inn (‘Ryoken’) for a good experience if you haven’t done that before.

Flags by the river
Haya Kawa river

River view at Hakone
Ropeway bridge over the river
Haya-kawa river flows around Hakone and you will see the river valley while exploring the town. The sound of the water flowing; the wind brushing against the leaves, it was a real bliss walking around Hakone on foot.

When you are in Hakone, you need to go to Hakone Ropeway and in good weather you can see Mt. Fuji from there. Lake Ashinoko nearby has a nice view of Mt. Fuji as well.

Haya Kawa river
Haya Kawa river
Forest Path to the lake
A section of Tokaido: the highway linked between Kyoto and Tokyo during Edo era
Hakone was a checkpoint along the Tokaido highway linked between Tokyo and Kyoto. The old path has probably been replaced along the modernization of Japan but there is a still a short cedar trees lined passage exists near Hakone checkpoint. If you are taking the ferry across the Lake Ashinoko from the Hakone ropeway, it is a great place to drop by. (You are still take the old trail if you are up for a hiking journey but we didn’t go as it will take more time than we have).

Hakone Checkpoint
Hakone Checkpoint

All in all, we had a great time in Hakone: be it the ryokan stay, the food or the nature. It was quite a shame that we are staying only for one night. At night time, we got to see the stars on the night sky, with no light pollution around, listening to no human made noises but the sounds of nature: crickets chirps, wind brushes the tree or the water flowing in the stream. I would definitely come again to Hakone.

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