Hakone trip - Best itinerary, tips and landscapes - Waku Waku

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Hakone trip - Best itinerary, tips and landscapes

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Hakone trip - Best itinerary, tips and landscapes

Hakone is a popular destination and it was my first trip in Japan, which was advised by my Japanese friends. Ghost city, pirate ship, hydrangea train and other unique spots I had a chance to visit and I’d like to share this incredible experience and my personal photo-spots.

Zhaniya Toktassynova

Zhaniya Toktassynova

Published on 04 Dec 2020, 15:00

As was mentioned in the previous article, we stopped at the ryokan hotel with stunning hot springs in the room. After some rest, we went to the city center by railway and bus.

Since it was the rainy season, the first impression of Hakone was a foggy and dark town with not a single restaurant or facility working.

Rainy and Foggy Hakone
Rainy and Foggy Hakone

We could barely find one soba restaurant, which had a surprisingly delicious soba dish with tempura shrimps. On the way out, we could catch an amazing and at the same time a scary view, where fog and clouds "covered" the lake and mountains, moreover there were no people around the whole town, which made it look like a ghost city.

We also had to take a taxi back to a hotel because after 17:00 even the buses were not operating anymore.

Soba restaurant that saved our day
Soba restaurant that saved our day
Foggy cloud covering everything around
Foggy cloud covering everything around

Luckily, our next day was exactly the opposite, so sunny and bright, the weather was on our favor to see all sightseeing spots.

A great tip for this trip is to take a Discount Pass for transportation, which includes the Hakone Tozan Train, Hakone Ropeway, and Hakone Sightseeing Cruise.

Each transportation itself is an attraction, so don't hesitate to purchase it. There are more discount passes and tips for the trip on the official tourism website.

Hydrangea Train
Hydrangea Train

From Gora station we first took a railway train, which literally was surrounded by hydrangeas along the whole way.

And from the window of the train, it seems as if you are being escorted by hundreds of lovely flowers that are smiling to you. From there we took funicular which goes through all the beauty of the local nature that can be seen from the top.

The most unique moment was passing over the volcano and crater areas. It was exciting to see the main source of geothermal waters, that lead to hundreds of hotels and Onsens (hot springs), where people receive the treatment procedure being made by a nature.

The view from funicular on the volcano crater
The view from funicular on the volcano crater
Owakudani - an area around the crater created during the last eruption of Kami about 3000 years ago, but steam eruptions continue till today. Here you can buy eggs boiled in natural thermal water, the shells of the eggs are black and, as they say, one egg prolongs life by seven years.

After Owakudani, we took another funicular, that goes down to the Lake Ashi. It is a crater lake in the central part of the island of Honshu.

Funicular way to the lake Ashi
Funicular way to the lake Ashi

A symbol of Hakone is a pirate ship

It makes a round trip and shows the area view from the middle of a lake, with a nice wind and superb landscapes you will never forget.

Overboard the Pirate ship
Overboard the Pirate ship

Finally, within a walking distance along lakeside, the picturesque Hakone Shrine stands at the foot of Mount Hakone - one of the oldest temples in Japan, founded in the 5th century.

It is hidden by dense forest, but the best way to reach it is from the lakeside Torii gate of Peace with the famous photo-shooting spot. It will take you up to the second gate by the Shrine entrance and by climbing up more, it takes you to the third main gate.

The shrine is unique with its’ natural surroundings, which makes it truly spiritual and peaceful.

A path from the lake to the Shrine
A path from the lake to the Shrine
Hakone Shrine
Hakone Shrine

The perfect ending of our day trip was at the local popular Italian restaurant, which had a big queue, but it definitely worth that waiting time. It is always a great idea to have a nice meal with fascinating lake view.

Dinner by the lake Ashi
Dinner by the lake Ashi

In conclusion, it is worth mentioning that such a trip to the beautiful town with stunning nature needs good planning before travelling.

Making sure every place and sightseeing spot is taken into account, learning all transportation ways and details about the schedules, especially considering recent Covid-19 situation, it all will save unwanted consequences.

In our case, not seeing Fuji-san because of mountain fog was sad, but on the other hand, it gives us another reason for coming back and discovering new sites of fascinating Hakone-machi.

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Zhaniya Toktassynova

Zhaniya Toktassynova

I am from beautiful country called Kazakhstan I am married and we have an adorable child who was born in Japan, Tokyo My specialty is Tourism Management, that is why I love to share all my experiences of cultures and traveling destinations,and I’m happy to share with my current experience in Japan

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