Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hakone, town of scenic views

Hakone is a town in the Kanagawa prefecture, centered around the lake Ashi, part of the volcanically active Fuji-Hakone-Izu national park (the park is not a specific place but a collection of dispersed tourist sites that dot the region).

With its scenic views, hot springs, and cultural locations, Hakone is one of the most popular destinations for national and international visitors. Located at around 80 Km from Tokyo provides also the best excuse to take a break of the fast-paced city and enjoy nature, there are also plenty of outdoor activities on the mountains in the area.

The most convenient access from Tokyo is by train from Shinjuku station. Scenic boats, ropeways and cable car provide access within the town and to adjacent locations.

Hakone was after the edo-period a border checkpoint between Edo and Kyoto.
At Hakone sekisho, travelers’ permits and badges were examined before entering or leaving the region. The ancient post station is being recreated at the original location and now you can get an insight of the period customs and political divisions.

Lake Ashi is a beautiful lake, formed by volcanic activity 400 thousand years ago, surrounded by mountains and dense forest, provide breathtaking views of mount Fuji, on this visit, mount Fuji was not visible due to rain and fog.

The most distinctive view of Hakone is provided by the torii of the Hakone Shrine in the lake Ashi.



AdelaideBen said...

Ah - we were thinking of going to Hakone on our trip... I'm interested to hear what you think weather-wise. In summer, I understood that it was often cloudy and difficult to see much on the Hakone Merry-go-round. Was it still a fun trip, and worth a day trip out of a four day period in Tokyo?

island4jp said...

Weather in mountain areas is always unpredictable, with a sunny weather forecast there is a good chance of a good view, Unfortunately you must book well in advance for a good hotel, specially on weekends. Hakone is a great place to visit, I've been many times and every time I visit a new place or do a new activity. Even better if you like hot springs onzens.

ZZZ said...

Wow, such beautiful photos, thanks for sharing! I'm coming to Tokyo soon and would love to go to these places, do you know which stations to get off for these locations? Thank you. Tony Le

islandjp said...

Hi Tony,
From Tokyo you can go from Shinjuku station using the "Romance car" on the Odakyu line.
Alternatively you can go down at the Odawara station by JR and change to Hakone tozan railway. final destination is Hakono Yumoto, where the hotels are, to travel in the Hakone area, there is anetwork of buses, ropeways, cablecars, and boats, for this is recommended to get the Hakkone free pass (not really free) which gives you unlimited access to all the area transporation.