Hakone 箱根

Hakone is one of the most popular destinations for a short trip from Tokyo. It has many things to offer – from visiting different art museums and enjoying the great view of Mt Fuji, to relaxing in onsen. In this post, I’d like to introduce some of the best places to visit in Hakone.

How to get to Hakone: The easiest way is to take the Romancecar on Odakyu line from Shinjku station. It takes only 75 minutes from central Tokyo to Hakone. Make sure to buy the “Hakone Freepass”. This pass covers the train between Shinjku and Hakone (Romancecar needs additional fare), local train in Hakone, cable car, ropeway, bus and boat.

If you’re into modern art: The Hakone Open-Air Museum is a must place to visit. I had a feeling the relationship between the works and environment is not well considered in some places compared to the open air museum in Hokkaido (see the previous article). But it’s still lovely to see sculptures and installations by great artists such as Henry Moore, Naum Gabo, and Barbara Hepworth.

If you’re into Japanese art: The Narikawa Art Museum is specialised in Japanese art, especially Japanese paintings. The collection is quite small, but it’s worth a visit as it offers a great view of Mt. Fuji. The view from their café is exceptional. Sipping a coffee looking at the picturesque view is such a blissful time. The Hakone Museum of Art is another great spot for art lovers. Specialised in Japanese pottery, this small museum also offers moss garden and rock garden.

For Mt. Fuji lovers: Hakone has many places with great views, especially of Mt. Fuji. For example, when you take the ropeway from Souunzan to Owakudani, suddenly Mt Fuji comes into sight. This is such an exciting moment. Taking the boat is another great way to enjoy the view of Mt. Fuji. If you take it from Togendai, Mt. Fuji will become visible just before arriving Moto Hakonekou.

For nature lovers: Enjoy the active volcano in Owakudani. It was created about 3000 years ago when Mt. Hakone erupted. When you take a ropeway to get there, you can see the activity from above, which looks quite dramatic too. You can walk around the site a bit to have a closer look at the smoke billowing from the ground. Somehow black eggs are popular in this area. They are boiled with heat from the volcano so sulphur made them black. They look quite grotesque, but taste good.

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