Hakone Sightseeing & Attractions
Our top picks of things to see and do
Gotemba Premium Outlets
The most extensive and exhausting shopping experience you can have in Hakone is at the Gotemba Premium Outlets. This sprawling outlet mall is situated 30 minutes east of Hakone city by car and stands with Mount Fuji in its background, making it a particularly charming outdoor shopping experience.
The complex has all relevant Western brands represented as well as man Japanese brands.
After you’ve collapsed from all of your vital shopping you can rest your legs and fill your bellies at any of the fine eateries; which include McDonalds and Tully’s Coffee.
Hakone Museumof Art
Get a slice of culture and history at the Hakone Museum of Art (MOA), which features pieces dating back as far as 10,000 BC up to the 1800’s. The pieces are primarily ceramics, form the simple and mundane to intricate sculptures.
In addition to the mirror into the past the grounds feature a rather tranquil Moss Garden as well as a traditional Japanese landscaped garden (Sekirakuen Garden) complete with a tea house, where you can enjoy a cup of green tea and a sweat snack as you take in the serenity. The garden is only available for visitors on weekends.
The fee to experience said culture and history is 900 yen.
1300 Gora, Hakone-machi, Kanagawa-prefecture 250-0408
If you’ve had your fill of traditional Japanese style gardens during your tour of Japan and want to spice things up a bit by all means go take a peak at the Gora Park which is done in the traditional French Style. But it doesn’t stop there, for a few extra bucks (or yen) you can participate in some pretty nifty activities, which makes this garden a rather unique experience. Activities include: glass blowing, glass etching, pottery and dried flower arrangement. Be prepared however to fork over 1000 – 3000 yen.
1300 Gora Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa Prefecture 250-0408
Enveloped in a sea of mist hides Hakone’s most important shrine: the Hakone Shrine. The approach the shrine however starts far below at the shore of Ashinoko Lake, where a floating torii stands contrasting the blue waters with its bright red lacquer. This layout offers the traveler an excellent and very scenic hike from the shore up to the misty hills.
Hakone Tozan Railway
Possibly the only time you will every ride a commuter train in Japan for the sole purpose of leisure and not of reaching a destination will be when you hop on the Hakone Tozan train and go on a thirty minute winding ride through the scenic hills and valleys. If you are lucky enough to go in the summer time you will be present for the bloom of the omnipresent hydrangeas which makes the train ride into a most charming flower gazing trip. The trip costs 390 yen one way.
For those daring spirits who seek it peril and adventure are close at hand in Hakone! Take the Hakone Tozan cable car from Gora station to Sounzan Station, and transfer to the Hakone Ropeway line, and take that to Owakudani. At which point you can begin your trek up the still active volcano towards the summit (Mount Hakone). As you ascend you will be confronted with sharp slippery rock, gusts of winds. The trek will take you two hours.
Once you have persevered all obstacles and reached the summit you can take in the magnificent view of Mount Fuji and neighboring areas. After you have made your descent back to the Owakudani rope station, treat yourself to a reward at the vendor, who sells eggs boiled directly in the hot springs. It is said that each egg you eat will give you an additional seven years of life.
Sengokubara-1251 Hakone, 250-0631, Japan
In days of old Hakone was a key checkpoint for the road to Kyoto and Tokyo, connecting the East and West of Japan. This isn’t however the case in present day, but don’t let that stop you from going to check it out and walk the path that millions did before you, in another era. Additionally the Hakone Checkpoint was recently renovated and brought back to its full glory.
Hakone Hot Springs
If there is one thing and one thing only that Hakone is famous for it is its plethora of hot springs, for just around Hakoneyumoto station you can find a dozen in relatively close proximity (and it is not surprising as the word Hakoneyumoto means “Hakone Hot Water Source). Local favorites include: “Tenzan Tōjigō” and “Hakone Kowakien Yunessun”