[2018 Edition] 30 Things to Do in Hakone (Part 1 of 6)
Hakone is one of the most visited destinations in Japan. Its close proximity to Tokyo makes it ideal for a day trip. It is known for its rich nature, which includes the pristine Lake Ashino and gorgeous forests with a view of Mt. Fuji in the distance. This article is part of a series introducing 30 things to include in your Hakone travel itineraries. Have you been to any of these 5 places?
Sep 26 2018 (Sep 09 2020)
See What Hell is Like at Owaku Valley
Near the top of Mt. Hakone lies Owaku Valley (Owaku-dani), where bubbling fumaroles spew hot steam and sulphuric gases. Created some 3,000 years ago when Mt. Hakone last erupted, this intriguing and hell-like valley consists of fallen trees and barren red earth. Owaku Valley is easily accessible via the Hakone Ropeway or Hakone Tozan Cable Car.
While you're there, don't miss out on the Kuro Tamago (Black Egg), a specialty of the region. The eggs are cooked in the valley's hot springs, which turn the eggs pure black due to a chemical reaction with the sulfur in the water. Eating one of these eggs is said to add seven years to your life!
Spot Mt. Fuji Beyond Lake Ashino
Right at the heart of Hakone is an oblong caldera lake called "Lake Ashino" (Ashino-ko), which literally translates to "Lake of Reeds". A popular location for photographers throughout the year, the serene lake offers a scenic beauty that includes the giant vermillion torii (shrine gate) of Hakone Shrine and lush, forested mountains. If you're lucky, you may even get a view of the beautiful Mt. Fuji in the backdrop!
The highlights of the lake, including the Hakone Pirate Ship, will be introduced later in the series, so make sure to check back for more!
Looking to see the sacred Mt. Fuji and lovely Lake Ashino? Check out the below article for a quick and easy 1-day tour of Hakone and Mt. Fuji!
Explore the Unknown at Hiryu Falls
Hiryu Falls (Hiryu no Taki) is one of the largest waterfalls in Kanagawa Prefecture. However, since it is relatively unknown, it remains a hidden gem that can only be reached by hiking up a fairly steep nature trail that runs from Hatajuku to Ashinoyu.
The magnificent cascade is divided between the upper half, which is 15m in length, and the bottom, a 25m drop, giving it an appearance of a flying dragon ("hiryu" in Japanese). The sound of the water falling rapidly and splashing against the rocks adds to the natural spectacle.
Watch the Flying Carp of Tamadare Falls
Tamadare Falls (Tamadare no Taki) is a famous waterfall that is conveniently located by the ryokan (Japanese inn), Tenseien, in Hakone-Yumoto. It is around 8m in length and around 11m wide. Its name comes from how delicately the spring water falls against the rocks, just like a tamasudare (Japanese percussive instrument).
The water is so pristine that the carp swimming in the basin appear as if they are floating on air! Visit to enjoy the sights and sounds that this waterfall has to offer.
Get One of the Best Views of Mt. Fuji at Otome Pass
Ready to go up the mountains for one of the best views of Mt. Fuji? Otome Pass (Otome Toge) is listed as one of the three best mountain passes to view Mt. Fuji, alongside Misaka Pass (Misaka Toge) in Yamanashi Prefecture and Satta Pass (Satta Toge) in Shizuoka Prefecture. You can ride the bus to the nearest viewpoint, Fujimi Chaya, where you can indulge in some tasty Japanese food while also taking in the breathtaking view of Mt. Fuji. You'd be surprised at how colossal it really is!
If you love Mt. Fuji as much as we do, why not also try to search for some Mt. Fuji souvenirs? Here's a short list of them!
Has that gotten your feet itching? Put on your best walking shoes and get ready to explore the unique and beautiful nature of Hakone! What you've read today is only a glimpse of everything the area has to offer, so stay tuned for the next article in this series.
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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.