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A famous hot spring resort region, Hakone is set amidst beautiful mountains, which comprises of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. During good weather, Hakone can make a wonderful trip, as one would be able to enjoy the magnificent view of Mt Fuji. There are enjoyable cable car rides, open-air museums, volcanic hot springs, and cruises around Lake Ashino-ko. There are a few train lines that will bring you to Hakone. Express bus services are available but the trip is not as interesting as other modes of transportation.

Hakone Open-Air Art Museum

Located next to Chokoku-no-Mori station, the open-air museum has exhibits on western and Japanese 19th and 20th Century sculptures. For those who do not like the outdoors, there is also an indoor exhibit area, which includes collections from Picasso. From March to October, the museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It closes at 4 p.m. for the rest of the year.

Mt Soun-Zan / Owakudani

Mt Soun-Zan is the starting point to a 30 minute (4km) ride to Togendai. The ride will pass through Owakudani, which is a good place to visit volcanic hot springs. Owakudani is made up of a volcanic cauldron of steam, bubbling mud, and mysterious smells. Black, boiled eggs are sold here. These eggs are cooked in the boiling mud and are said to be good for your health. Visitors can also view displays relating to the geography and natural history of Hakone at the Owakudani Natural Science Museum, which is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Lake Ashino-ko

Lake Ashino-ko is one of Hakone region's primary attractions. This is only because Mt Fuji is situated across the lake. And with the mountain's snow-clad slopes and omnipresence, it is no wonder the lake is so popular. Rowing boats, pedal boats, and even chauffeur-driven motor boats are available for rental for a ride or two around the lake.

Mt Komaga-Take

If you want to get a better view of Mt Fuji and Lake Ashino-ko, then Mt Komaga-take is the place to visit. To get to the mountain, you need to take a boat ride to Hakone-en, and a cable car will then bring you up the mountain.

Rock Carvings - A group of Buddhas and other figures carved on rocks can be seen between Mt Komaga-take and Mt Kami Futago. These carvings date back to the Kamakura era (1192-1333). They still look excellent despite harsh natural elements, such as wind, rain, or snow. The Niju-go Bosatsu, a rock carved with numerous Buddha figures, is located on one side of the road. Moto-Hakone Jizo, which is a rock carved with patron saint travelers and souls of departed children, occupies the other side of the road. The latter is the largest in terms of rock carvings. To get to these rock carvings, take the funicular down from Mt Komaga-take, turn right and follow the road. At a T-junction, turn left twice. The carvings are located about 400m up the road.


A pleasant place to visit, Moto-Hakone does have a few interesting sights to see. Furthermore, they are all located within easy walking distance from the jetty.

Hakone-jinja Shrine - The shrine with its red entrance gate (torii) rising from the lake is almost impossible to miss! It is located within a wooded grove and huge cedars line the pathway leading up to the shrine. A treasure hall is also located within the premises. The shrine is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Cryptomeria Ave - Also known as Sugi-namiki, this avenue is a 2km-long path between Moto-Hakone and Hakone-machi, another town. This path is lined with Cryptomeria trees, which were planted more than 360 years ago.

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