15 ways to enjoy Hakone with irresistible hot spas and nature

Hakone, with its rich spas, prospered as an important station right on Tokaido, the ancient road which connected Tokyo (then known as Edo) and the western region of Japan. It was also popular among celebrities from abroad during the Meiji period, and today still visited by many international holiday makers. Hakone is also close enough from Tokyo as a day-trip destination.


Things to Do

1. Glorious hydrangeas and autumn leaves seen from the Hakone Tozan Railway


Simon Q/flickr

Hakone Tozan Railway, a sister railway of the RhB of Switzerland, takes you to Gora from Hakone-Yumoto in just 40 minutes.  Passengers are treated to majestic the vista of the surrounding mountains and bridges as the train switchbacks its way up the steep hill. The ride is even more memorable from June to July when the hydrangeas blossom, and during the season of the colorful autumn leaves.

HP: www.hakone-tozan.co.jp/en/

HP: www.hakone-tozan.co.jp/tc/ (中文)

HP: www.hakone-tozan.co.jp/ (Japanese Only)

Address: Hakone-Yumoto station, 707 Yumoto, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa (Google Map)

2. Relax in a private spa at Hakone Yuryo

Located near the Hakone-Yumoto station, Hakone Yuryo features 19 private open air spas.  In addition, there is also a vast main bath, a restaurant where you can enjoy the irori cuisine, massage services can be also provided. A perfect oasis for a day of total relax.

HP: www.hakoneyuryo.jp/english/

HP: www.hakoneyuryo.jp/ (Japanese Only)

Address: 4 Tonosawa, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun,  Kanagawa (Google Map)

3. Tarzan for a day at Forest Adventure Hakone

An authentic outdoor park near Hakone-Yumoto, the courses are laid out using the real, natural trees. With the safety equipment securely put, the visitors can leap around among tall trees like the king of the jungle, which is sure to be an unforgettable adrenaline rush.  There is also a canopy course for children under 140cm/4.6ft of height.

HP: fa-hakone.foret-aventure.jp/eng/

HP: fa-hakone.foret-aventure.jp/ (Japanese Only)

Address: 749-1, Chanohana, Yumoto, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa (Google Map)

4. Close encounter with the world’s artistic gems – Hakone Open-Air Museum


Kentaro Ohno/flickr

When you are at Hakone Open Air Museum, you feel a perfect harmony between its collection of world famous sculptures and the lush nature all around.  You will be inspired to test your photographic skills in this artistic surrounding. A playground can entertain the little visitors, you will also find cafes and foot-bath where you can take a pleasant break. 

HP: www.hakone-oam.or.jp/exhibitions/article.cgi?id=46

HP: www.hakone-oam.or.jp/exhibitions/article.cgi?id=46 (中文)

HP: www.hakone-oam.or.jp/ (Japanese Only)

Address: 1121Ninotaira, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa (Google Map)

5.  Flowers of four seasons at Gora Park

Gora Park was once a luxury resort for aristocrats. The park is perpetually colorful with flowers of all seasons. Taking a stroll amidst roses, bougainvilleas and tropical plants is sure to be a special experience. In the craft house, you can try your hand at various activities such as pottery, glass art, and dried flower arrangement.

HP: www.hakone-tozan.co.jp/gorapark/ (Japanese Only)

Address: 1300 Gora, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa (Google Map)

6. Admire Mt. Fuji from an aerial cableway


The cable way takes you between Sounzan station at the top and Togendai station on the north shore of the lake Ashi.  Along the way you will pass next to the volcanic fume of Owakudani, then suddenly Mt. Fuji will appear in front of you in all its glory! Due to the active status of Owakudani as of 2016, the operation may be temporarily suspended occasionally.

HP: www.hakoneropeway.co.jp/foreign/en/index.cgi

HP: www.hakoneropeway.co.jp/foreign/ch/index.cgi (中文)

HP: www.hakoneropeway.co.jp/ (Japanese Only)

Address: Togendai Station: 164 Moto-Hakone, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa (Google Map)

7.  Hearty hospitality of Rikyu-an, Spa & Inn

“Rikyu-an”is a small traditional inn which features private open air onsen spas. It's a delicious hideaway. Their milky spring water from the Hakone mountains is said to make your skin extra smooth. Enjoy their healthy yet tasty Kaiseki cuisine made with fresh vegetables and soy milk. Various personal spa treatments are also available.

HP: sengokuhara.com/english/

HP: sengokuhara.com/ (Japanese Only)

Address: 817-460 Sengokuhara, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa (Google Map)

8. Discover the masterpieces at Pola Museum of Art

Works of Monet and Renoir are just a few examples of Pola’s proud collection, which centers around 19C French Impressionism. Temporary exhibitions of varied themes, their arty restaurant and cafè are not to be missed as well.  Immersed in the serene nature, it is worth a trip to visit the works of the masters in a beautiful surrounding.

HP: www.polamuseum.or.jp/english/

HP: www.polamuseum.or.jp/ (Japanese Only)

Address: 1285 Kozukayama, Sengokuhara, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa (Google Map)

9. Get to know the art of Japan at Okada Museum of Art


The main feature of Okada museum is the works of Korin Ogata of the Rinpa school, which dates back to the Edo period.  Numerous items of oriental crafts, as well as paintings of recent Japanese artists such as Taikan Yokoyama, Shoen Uemura, Kaii Higashiyama are also among the collection.

HP: www.okada-museum.com/en/

HP: www.okada-museum.com/tw/ (中文)

HP: www.okada-museum.com/ (Japanese Only)

Address: 493-1 Kowakudani, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa(Google Map)

10. Historic charm of Hotel Fujiya

tosa muu / Flickr

Hotel Fujiya opened its door way back in 1878, it has become a symbol of tradition and class. Its five annexes have been built over different periods. Over the years the hotel hosted numerous illustrious guests from around the world. Their exquisite restaurant and bakery are also noteworthy. A walk amid the immaculately designed landscape of its garden with flowers of all seasons promises you an idyllic experience.

HP: www.fujiyahotel.jp/en/index.html

HP: www.fujiyahotel.jp/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=fujiyahotel&gclid=CKPq2crlq8wCFVMAvAod3ygOLw (Japanese Only)

Address: 359  Miyanoshita, Hakone-machi, Kanagawa (Google Map)

11. Whole new style of onsen-spa fun at Kowakien Yunessun

Next to the Hotel Kowakien, you can have an exciting day out at this onsen theme park Yunessun. You will find a giant slide, an enormous indoor spa, “flavored” baths such as tea, wine and sake, and a sauna. Colors of the four seasons can be enjoyed at open air spas in the natural surrounding.  The visitors enjoy the park dressed in bathing suits, but a private bath can be booked where you can relax in your own birthday suit! Very popular with international visitors, Yunessun promises an endless splashy fun for onsen fans of all ages.

HP: www.hakone-kowakien.tw/ (中文)

HP: www.yunessun.com/ (Japanese Only)

Address: 1297 Ninotaira, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa (Google Map)

12. Iconic Hakone Shrine

Climb up the stone steps by the red tori standing in the lake Ashi, through the giant cedar trees – you will find the majestic main pavilion of Hakone shrine. The shrine was built back in the Nara period, since then it was worshipped by samurai warriors. Today, along with Kuzuryu shrine, which is known to be a matchmaker of marriages, it is one of the most visited shrines in the Kanto region, by religious worshippers and tourists alike. Make sure to visit and have a look at its treasure room.

HP: hakonejinja.or.jp/ (Japanese Only)

Address: 80-1 Motohakone, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa (Google Map)

13. Intricacy and Precision - Mastery of Yosegi puzzle boxes

Yosegi wood crafts, with beautiful mosaic designs made by using different colors and textures of wood, make perfect souvenirs. Among various items, the famous puzzle boxes, each of them with a secret, unique way to be opened, are particularly popular.

HP: www.hakonemaruyama.co.jp/index-e.htm

HP: www.hakonemaruyama.co.jp/ (Japanese Only)

Address: 17 Hakone, Hakone machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa (Google Map)

14. Pirate cruise on the lake Ashi

Daisuke K / Flickr

The Royal and The Victory, known as “the Pirate ships of Hakone”, are modelled after the British and French flagships.  The ships travel between Hakone-machi, Moto-Hakone and Togen-dai on the lake Ashi. As you cruise along you can take a commemorative photo and enjoy a snack as you enjoy the scenery.  During the summer special evening cruises are held to view the fireworks.

HP: www.hakone-kankosen.co.jp/foreign/en/index.html

HP: www.hakone-kankosen.co.jp/foreign/ch/index.html (中文)

HP: www.hakone-kankosen.co.jp/ (Japanese Only)

Address: Hakone-machi port:161 Hakone, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa (Google Map)

15. Hiking on a historic road, retracing the ancient track.

During the Edo period, the old “Tokaido” road, linking Tokyo (then known as Edo) and the western region, was once heavily traveled.  A cobblestoned original segment still remains, the visitors can enjoy a hike retracing the ancient road.  Start from Hatajuku, taking a break at Amazake-chaya tea house, then head for the historic checkpoint, Hakone Sekisho. The hike takes about 3 hours.

HP: www.hakone.or.jp/en/

HP: www.hakone.or.jp/ (Japanese Only)

Address: Amazake chaya:395-1 Hatajuku Futagoyama, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa(Google Map)

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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