What to See in Hakone: A Travel Guide to Japan's Scenic Paradise

What to See in Hakone: A Travel Guide to Japan's Scenic Paradise

What to See in Hakone: A Travel Guide to Japan's Scenic Paradise

Hakone, located in the Kanagawa Prefecture of Japan, is a picturesque town known for its stunning natural landscapes, hot springs, and iconic views of Mount Fuji. With its rich history, cultural sites, and outdoor activities, Hakone offers visitors a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure.

1. Mount Fuji

No trip to Hakone would be complete without a glimpse of Japan's most celebrated mountain, Mount Fuji. Visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of the majestic peak from various vantage points, such as the Hakone Ropeway or the shores of Lake Ashi. Don't forget to capture the iconic shot of Mount Fuji reflecting in the tranquil waters of the lake!

2. Hakone Open-Air Museum

The Hakone Open-Air Museum is a must-visit for art enthusiasts. This expansive outdoor museum showcases a diverse collection of sculptures and installations by both Japanese and international artists. Stroll through the beautifully landscaped gardens, interact with the art pieces, and immerse yourself in the artistic ambiance.

3. Lake Ashi

Lake Ashi, nestled in the heart of Hakone, is a serene lake formed within a volcanic crater. Take a leisurely boat cruise or rent a rowboat to explore the crystal-clear waters and enjoy the picturesque views of surrounding mountains. On a clear day, you can even spot Mount Fuji in the distance.

4. Hakone Shrine

Located at the edge of Lake Ashi, Hakone Shrine is a revered Shinto shrine that dates back to the 8th century. The main entrance torii gate, made of towering cedar trees, creates a mystical atmosphere as you approach the shrine. Take a moment to cleanse yourself at the purifying water fountain and admire the intricate architecture and serene surroundings.

5. Hakone Ropeway

For a bird's-eye view of Hakone's stunning landscapes, hop on the Hakone Ropeway. This scenic aerial tramway takes you on a thrilling ride across the Owakudani volcanic valley, where you can experience the sight of bubbling hot springs and sulfur vents. Don't miss the chance to savor some black eggs, boiled in the volcanic waters, said to extend your lifespan by seven years!

6. Pola Museum of Art

Art enthusiasts shouldn't miss a visit to the Pola Museum of Art, located amidst the lush greenery of Hakone. This private museum houses an extensive collection of Western and Japanese art, including works by Monet, Renoir, and Picasso. Explore the galleries, attend a guided tour, or participate in a hands-on art workshop.

7. Hakone Checkpoint

Step back in time at the Hakone Checkpoint, a historical site that served as a major checkpoint along the Tokaido highway during the Edo period. Immerse yourself in the rich history, explore the reconstructed buildings, and learn about the old customs and traditions of ancient Japan.

8. Hakone Venetian Glass Museum

The Hakone Venetian Glass Museum is a delightful attraction that showcases the beauty of Venetian glass art. Marvel at the intricate glasswork, stroll through the scenic gardens adorned with glass sculptures, and even try your hand at making your own glass artwork under the guidance of skilled artisans.

9. Hot Springs

Hakone is famous for its rejuvenating hot springs, known as onsens. Pamper yourself with a relaxing soak in one of the many traditional hot spring baths in the area. Whether you prefer a public bath or a private one, the healing properties of the mineral-rich waters will leave you refreshed and revitalized.

10. Outdoor Activities

In addition to the cultural attractions, Hakone offers a plethora of outdoor activities for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts. Hike along the scenic trails of Hakone National Park, go boating on Lake Ashi, or try your hand at fishing. For a more thrilling experience, consider mountain biking, zip-lining, or even paragliding.

With its stunning landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and abundant recreational opportunities, Hakone truly is a paradise for every traveler. So, pack your bags, immerse yourself in the tranquility, and embark on an unforgettable journey through this scenic gem of Japan.