Hakone An Exploration Guide

Hakone, Japan, is a relatively small town teeming with a myriad of tourist attractions. Mount Hakone, an active volcano near the town, is the reason for the town’s many hot springs and onsen. This small mountain town is less than 60 miles from Tokyo.

People flock from all across the world to experience this unique, mountain town with an exploration of the volcanic hot spring experience and to view the thermal activity.

Sulfur vents of Owakudani valley, Hakone, Japan

The heat coming from this volcano causes powerful, sulfuric steam to heat nearby water sources year-round. Amusement parks, hot springs, and spas nearby provide a fun and relaxing experience to visitors. Furthermore, this heated water can create a life-rejuvenating feeling once you’ve spent time soaking in the mineral-rich water.

Owakudani is a volcanic valley with active sulfur vents and hot springs

Furthermore, the gorgeous view of this magnificent mountain and the lingering mist in the Owakudani crater is beautiful. No matter the time of year, the weather in Hakone is cool with low humidity year-round.

Experiences and Attractions in Hakone 

Visitors can participate in many of the wonderful attractions like visiting museums, hot springs, and so much more!

Hakone has an experience for everyone, showcasing the beauty of Hakone in its rural areas. Meanwhile, they allow curious visitors to experience the history of Hakone in the many museums and gardens

Hakone Kowaki-en Yunessun

Hakone Kowaki-en Yunessun is a hot spring waterpark and hot spring that people of all ages can enjoy year-round. There are three areas in Hakone Kowaki-en Yunessun, the hot springs park, the indoor all-seasons park, or the outdoor swimming amusement park. 

Hakone Kowaki-en Yunessun Hot Spring Waterpark

All areas of the park are enjoyable and warm year-round. You may purchase a ticket to an individual area or the whole park. The base price to visit the hot spring waterpark is 2500 yen per adult and 1500 yen per elementary-aged child.

Fuji Hakone Izu National Park

Izu national park in Hakone, Japan. This park is known for its diverse landscape, scenic view of Mt. Fuji, and proximity to Mount Hakone.

Visitors may hike along the many cobblestone paths in Fuji Hakone Izu National Park. Along these paths is the monumental Hakone Shrine. There are also several hot springs, temples, and various other locations.

Visiting this national park can be an exciting experience for tourists whose idea of a good time involves some outdoor adventures.

Izu National Park Official Website

Gotemba Outlet Mall

Gotemba Premium Outlet Mall is an outlet mall that offers a truly premium shopping experience. From the best stores in the world to seasonal festivals, the Gotemba Outlet Mall is a must-visit for tourists who desire a real Hakone shopping experience.

 view of Mount Fuji from Gotemba Premium Outlets mall

While shopping, visitors may enjoy a delightful view of Mount Fuji in the background. There is nothing more pleasurable than enjoying a day of shopping while enjoying the amazing scenery as well.

Common stores offered at Gotemba Premium Outlet Mall are Adidas, the Pokemon Store, Nike, Pandora, and Ralph Lauren. There are several popular restaurants, too, known worldwide, including coffee-chain Starbucks.

Gotemba Outlet Mall Via Tripadvisor

Hakone Shrine

Hakone Shrine is Hakone’s most famous shrine. This Shinto shrine is active and open to the public, and its large torii gates at the shore are a common viewing spot for fireworks during Ashinoko Summer Festival Week.

Although this is not the original location of the shrine, (once located on top of Mount Hakone) it is still the most famous shrine in Hakone. It is known for its large vermillion torii gates, which stand in Lake Ashi.

Hakone Shrine

A mythical story states that Hakone Shrine is also known for taking control and appeasing a lake serpent that lives in Lake Ashi upon the shrine’s establishment. 

Visiting the Hakone Shrine is a self-guided tour, with no guides or assistance along the way. Fully exploring and touring the shrine can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. 

Hakone Shrine Official Website

Torii gate of Hakone shrine located on the shore of Lake Ashi

Sights in Hakone 

There are many wonderful sights to see In Hakone, such as the astounding Hakone Ropeway. Hakone is the location of the famous active Mount Hakone, which last erupted nearly 3,000 years ago. 

In the background of this glorious mountain, visitors can catch a glimpse of the historic Mount Fuji. Whether hiking the trail surrounding Owakudani or taking a trip on the Hakone Tozan railway, it is a sight you do not want to miss. 

Hakone Railway Official Website

Gōra Station railway station on the Hakone Tozan Line, the oldest mountain railway in Japan

Hakone Ropeway

The Hakone Ropeway is a cable car connecting Sounzan station to Togendai station, with a beautiful view of the active Mount Hakone volcano. 

Traveling the Hakone Railway is a great experience because of the amazing views. Visitors can observe the steamy sulfur escaping the mountain and immense crater below. The view can become obscured on cloudy days. Even more miraculous, visitors have a perfect view of Mount Fuji in the distance on clear days.

Hakone Ropeway Official Website

Sengokuhara Pampas Grass Field

From afar, it may not look like much. But once you begin walking the path, you will never want to leave. This expansive hillside, which stretches for hundreds of meters, makes you feel at ease and filled with the sense of awe of nature’s beauty. 

Pampas grass field at sengokuhara hakone

If you are new to the area or even live locally, visit year-round to watch the grass change colors. Enjoy a thought-provoking experience as you stroll down the single path, either alone with your thoughts or in the company of others. 

Lake Ashinoko

The beautiful dark blue waters of Ashinoko are a must-see for anyone visiting Hakone. Lake Ashinoko is an iconic symbol of Japan, known commonly as the lake attached to Mt. Fuji.

Two boats offer unique sight-seeing tours across Lake Ashinoko so that visitors can get better views of the astounding Lake Ashinoko and the surrounding landscape (including Mt. Fuji). 

Lake Ashinoko Tour Boat Official Website

Several bus rides and car railway trolleys travel from Hakone to Lake Ashinoko for easy transportation.

Lake Ashinoko Tour Boat

Additional Attractions In Hakone

The Hakone Open-Air Museum was established in 1969 in Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, as the country’s first open-air museum. It houses approximately a thousand sculptures and pieces of art, including works by Picasso, Henry Moore, Taro Okamoto, Yasuo Mizui, Churyo Sato, and others.

Hakone Open-Air Museum Official Website

When visiting Hakone, you must take time to explore the many unbelievable sights, like the trails surrounding Owakudani or Lake Ashinoko. Adventurers hiking on a clear day may even get the opportunity to see a glimpse of both Mount Hakone and Mount Fuji at the same time.

Lake Ashinoko Tour boat with a view of Mount Fuji

Hakone is a great place to visit year-round because of the many indoor attractions. Museums, observatories, and temples allow visitors to explore indoors. No matter the weather, you can find a way to enjoy this small but lively tourist town. 

View of the small mountain town of Hakone

Visit Hakone Official Website

If you love to take photos, bring a camera when you come to Hakone. You may not think so, but there are many sights to see in this small mountain town. The massive crater at the base of Mount Hakone is only just the start. Glimpses of Mount Fuji, Edo-era attractions, brief detours to Lake Ashinoko, and so much more make this small town one worth exploring.

Virtual Tour Of Hakone (4K)

MT Lee
My fascination with Japan began several years back at a roadside bonsai stand while on vacation. I became more interested in the where and why's more than the trees themselves. My love of Bonsai led me to further research my interest in the gardens where they originated from and the places and people that surrounded those little trees. My curiosity was well rewarded upon visiting Saitama where the National Bonsai Museum was located and Omiya Village the bonsai mecca for lovers of this ancient art form. Exploring many towns and villages and even making my way to Japan's furthest southern prefecture of Okinawa. I hope to share my love of this wonderful and exotic place with all those who want to know more about Japan.