Hakone is part of the Fuji-Hakone Izumi National Park, less than 100 kilometres from Tokyo. The scenic area is famous for its natural beauty, hot springs and its views of Mount Fuji. Hakone is made up of several towns which includes Moto Hakone and Hakone – Machi.
Best Time To Visit
Hakone is popular with Japanese and foreign tourists throughout the year but the best time to visit to have a better chance to see the snow capped peak of Mount Fuji is from December to February, the Winter months in Japan is when there is more of a chance to have a cloudless sky
From Hakone-Machi Mount Fuji is not in view. The blue pristine waters of Lake Ashinoko fill the caldera of a former volcano, the red Shinto shrine gate to Hakone shrine, the most famous in the area make up the view but still no Fuji.
Boats depart regularly with gold cannons sticking out from its holsters, sails at full mast and statues of pirates. Why a pirate ship? I have no idea. The wind whips across your face but it is well worth it to be out in the fresh air and then Mount Fuji comes into view, half covered in snow rising from the horizon, a lone dormant volcano 3776 metres high.
The views of Mount Fuji is what people come for but there is a lot more for tourists to do in the area. The cruise that crosses the lake takes approximately 30 minutes and ports at Togendai
Togendai is at the northern end of the lake and is where you board Hakone Ropeway which goes to Souzan via the great boiling valley Owakudani. This is where people get off to see the clouds of steam engulfing the air from boiling hot springs or water seeping from the ground, the smell of sulphur wafts through the air from the active volcanic valley. Mount Fuji is still clearly seen from the ropeway.
What to buy
Hard boiled eggs that have turned black in the sulphuric hot springs, eating one is said to add seven years onto your life.
The circuit continues
To finish the circuit, continue on the Hokone Tozan Cable Car from Souzan to Gora. Mount Fuji is no longer visible from here The trip takes ten minutes to Gora before transferring onto the Hakone Tozan Cable Car from Gora to Hakone Yumoto. The train winds through a narrow densely wooded valley.
Hakone Free Pass
If you purchase a Hakone Free Pass that allows you to travel from ShinJuku in Tokyo to Hakone as well as use the main transportation mentioned in the post for sightseeing The pass also gives you discounts or free entry into most of the attractions in the area. The passes are valid for 2 or 3 days
From Shinjuku 2 day pass 5140 yen 3 day pass 5640
Inside the free area 2 day pass 4000 yen 3 day pass 4500
Have you been to Hakone? Did you get nice views of Mount Fuji