Thursday, June 7, 2012

Hakone - A Mountain Resort For All Seasons

Hakone - The Abode of  Beauty and Harmony

Hakone is situated in the southwestern part of Kanagawa Prefecture, in Japan, and is an internationally known tourist resort . There would be no foreigner leaving Japan without getting the soothing and embellishing view of mount Fuji and the Lake Ashi-no-ko with their visit to Hakone. All throughout the year Hakone is a favorite spot for visit among the Japanese people, especially for the 30 million plus Tokyoites who would prefer a day off from their busy schedules. This is an internationally well-known holiday resort that includes many renowned hot springs and outdoor attractions. Over the time many unique art museums have sprung up here and they are very popular with the visitors.


From Tokyo (Shinjuku) to Hakone-Yumoto: 1 hour and 25 minutes by Limited Express "Romancecar"
By express train: 1 hr. and 50 min.
From Tokyo (Shinjuku) to Gotemba, Togendai,
By Odakyu Hakone Highway Bus (All seats reserved): approx. 2 hr. 10 min.

Hakone Sekisho

Sekisho (Hakone CheckPoint)
Inside the Hakone Sekisho
Hakone Sekisho, is an important site which reveals the history of transport and communication during the Edo period, around 140 years back. During this period it was very difficult for travelers to go over the steep slopes of Mt. Hakone-yama. To ensure the security of the today Tokyo area, during the 17th century, a place called Sekisho was set up for officials to conduct strict checks on travelers. The Hakone Sekisho site reveals buildings and structures like Kyoto side standby place (Kyoguchisennindamari ), where the travellers waited to be inspected, space for shooting range for guns and arrows (Yabe), tools used to arrest criminals (Mitsudogutate) , with a museum depicting typical lifestyle of the office and the officials and other inhibitants of Hakone Sekisho.

Admission: 9.00 – 17.00
Adult – 500 yen, Children  -250 yen

Hakone Open Air Museum

Hakone Open Air MUseum

Hakone Open Air Museum
 Hakone Open-Air Museum is the first of its kind in Japan. It is a spectacular ground for approximately 120 works by well-known modern and contemporary sculptors. Visitors get an lifetime experience , viewing the decorative, and highly thematic works of artists like Rodin, Maillol and abstract and paintings and sculpture of Taro Okamoto. The museum reveals the works of one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century, Pablo Picasso at its rotating display at the Picasso Pavilion. The museum also has a wing which is the largest world collection of the famous English sculptor and artist Henry Spencer Moore who is best known for his semi-abstract monumental bronze sculptures. With its 5 exhibition halls , space for children to play and hot springs for footbath, the Hakone Open Air Museum is a splendour of art and natural beauty.

Admission : 9.00 – 17.00
Adult – 1600 yen, Children 1100 yen

Lake Ashino-ko

Hakone Lake Ashino-ko

A visit to the Lake Ashino-ko which is often referred to as the Hakone Lake will take the visitors on a 40 minute cruise on a pirate shaped sailing vessels. The ride on the Lake is also famous for viewing the Mt Fuji and on day with a clear weather the view of Mt Fuji from the vessel would be mind capturing. The ride from Togendai Port to Hakonemachi Port gives a picturesque view of the caldera lake, with the surrounding mountains and the floating vermillion shrine gate or Toriof Hakone-jinja shrine at the lake’s edge. The Lake Ashino-ko was formed as a result of a volcanic eruption that took place about 3000 years ago.

Hakone Lake and Cruise
Using the Hakone Sightseeing Cruise, passengers can travel to art museums, hot springs (onsen), historic sites and other attractions along the lakeshore. The Hakone Sightseeing Ship cruise now has four ships on Lake Ashi., The emerald green painted Vasa is and decorated with ornately sculpted woodwork.The Royal is inspired by the 17th-century French sailing warship Soleil Royal. This red ship, with a double-decker promenade and observation deck, feels like a floating palace on the lake.The Frontier paddlewheel ship is modeled after the 19th century American paddlewheel steamers that plied the Mississippi River in those days .The Victory, which went into service in 2007, echoes its namesake, that famous 18th century British warship and veteran of many sea battles. Children mostly enjoy the cruise and its spacious ride getting them into an act and play of being the pirates.

Admission : 9.00 – 17.00
Cost – 970 yen 


Hakone Owakudani
Owakudani, the Hell Valley , is a volcanic valley in Hakone where a number of active sulphur vents and hotsprings can be experienced. It was created during the last eruption of Mount Hakone some 3000 years ago. The air has a sulphurous odour and the environment is filled with vapour and carbondioxide spewing out from almost everywhere. Owakudani is famous for eggs hard-boiled in the hot springs,which when consumed increases longevity by adding seven years more to your life. Visitors can take a long stroll upwards towards the crater area where one can watch the eggs being boiled in trays dipped in the hot spring water around.
 Admission : 8.30 – 17.00

Hakone Muesum of Art

Hakone Museum of Art- Images of the Japanese Gardens
Hakone Museum of Art
Hakone Muesum of Art is located in the Gora district of hakone. It exhibits a collection of oriental art of Japan which included medieval Japanese ceramics from the Jômon period (10.000B.C-200B.C) through to the Edo period (1615-1867).This museum is surrounded by beautiful gardens which depict the seasonal beauty of Japan throughout the year. These gardens are famous for the Bamboo gardens of the winter and the Moss gardens of the spring. At Shinwa-tei one can enjoy the traditional tea while scrutinizing the earthenware inside.

Admission : 9.30 – 16.00
Adult – 900 yen, Children -400 yen

Hakone Ropeway

Hakone Ropeway through the sulphur mist
The Hakone Ropeway,is the longest in Japan and the second-longest in the world . It covers a distance of 4,035 m between Sounzan and Togendai, Gondolas carrying 13 passengers rise up into the sky once every minute. The trip from Sounzan to Togendai on Lake Ashi, symbol of Hakone, takes 30 minutes. The large windows of the Swiss-made cabins allow visitors to observe the all embracing panorama of Hakone’s mystic and natural settings. The magnificent scenery with its sea of trees and mountain slopes and the valley makes it hard to believe that Hakone is just a few hours away from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. Owakudani, one of the stations along the way, offers magnificent views of Mount Fuji and hot springs. At its highest point, between Sounzan and Owakudani, the ropeway is 130 meters above the ground. The large crater is visible below with its heavy sulphurous fumes rising up to reach the heights. Proceeding to Ubako and Togendai, the ropeway offers grand views of Lake Ashi and Mount Fuji behind Mount Kami, with the scenery reflecting the changes of the seasons. The Hakone Freepass is an economical and convenient way to enjoy an excursion in Hakone using the Hakone Ropeway.

Hakone Tozan Cablecar

Hakone Tozan Cablecar
The Hakone Tozan Cablecar runs 1.2 kilometers between Gora and Sounzan, with a difference in altitude of 214 m. The Swiss-made cable cars, climbing the hills, have large windows through which visitors can enjoy ever-changing picturesque panorama of Hakone throughout the four seasons. The major sightseeing stations covered are Gora Park, the Hakone Museum of Art and the Hakone Sounzan Museum and also for people staying at Japanese inns and private recreation facilities. The trip between Gora and Sounzan takes approximately 9 minutes. The Hakone Freepass is an economical and convenient way of traveling in Hakone on the Hakone Tozan Cable car.


Mountain Railway (Hakone Tozan Train)

HakoneTozan Train
Hakone Tozan Train
The Hakone Tozan Train is a mountain railway that is cherished by travellers planning a visit to Hakone. Not only does the line have minimal impact on the plant and animal life of Hakone, which is registered as a national park, the long tunnels and steel bridges along the line are part of its appeal. During their trip, travellers can get a close look at Hakone’s beautiful nature. Also the travellers can experience the authentic technical implications of a train journey on the steep slopes and sharp curves. There are also superb views from special points, especially from the Deyama Bridge, looking down 43 m to the riverbed. Visitors will be interested to know that a cow bell is rung to announce the train’s departure because Hakone Tozan Railway is a sister railway of the famous Rhatische Bahn in Switzerland.The trip from Hakone-Yumoto to Gora takes approximately 40 minutes.
Admission: 9.30 – 16.00
Adult – 410 yen, Children -210yen

Hakone Free Pass

Hakone Route Map
Hakone Freepass is a discount excursion ticket offering full coverage of the popular sightseeing destinations in Hakone. Hakone Freepass includes return transportation on Odakyu Line, a ticket allowing you to get on and off freely within a specified area, and discount admission to various attractions in the area. Valid for 2 or 3 days. With Hakone Freepass, you can also ride 7 types of transport in the area, such as the Hakone Tozan Line and the Hakone Ropeway, allowing you the freedom to thoroughly explore Hakone. Enjoy your trip to Hakone with the convenient and economical Hakone Freepass.

Hakone Free pass Details

2 Day Pass 3 Day Pass
From Shinjuku Station 5000 yen 5500 yen
From Free Area (Eg Odawara Station)3900 yen 4400 yen

Hakone More Photos

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