Introduction to Hakone Town 

Situated a mere 90 minutes from Tokyo, Hakone affords a picturesque vista of Owakudani, Lake Ashi, and Mt. Fuji, in addition to boasting a plethora of hot springs and museums. Furthermore, it boasts historical sites such as the Hakone Sekisho and the Old Tokaido Road. It offers ample opportunities for outdoor pursuits such as hiking and trekking.

Cultural information

The "Yutate Shishimai" (a shrine ritual in which a lion soaks bamboo grass in boiling water and sprinkles the water on worshippers) is a highly rare and valuable traditional performing art featuring lions dancing the "Yutate Kagura" (sacred music and dancing performed at a shrine). In 1954, it was designated an Intangible Cultural Asset of Kanagawa Prefecture. In 1974, it was selected as a National Intangible Cultural Asset. In 2022, it was established as a nationally significant intangible folk cultural property. 

Numerous wooden buildings steeped in history, such as the "Fujiya Hotel" in Miyanoshita (established in 1878) (which has been rebuilt to conform to current laws, including a steel frame for earthquake reinforcement), "Ryuguden-Ryokan," "Kansuiro," "Fukuzumi-Ryokan," and "Hakone Kowakien Soba Kihinkan" remain as nationally registered tangible cultural properties and are still in use today. Due to the high number of villas, it has hosted since ancient times, Hakone is also known for its many art museums


Transport to Hakone Town 

【By train】

  • From Tokyo Station: Approximately 80 minutes from Tokyo Station to Odawara Station by JR train. (If you take the JR Shinkansen from Tokyo Station, it takes about 30 minutes to Odawara Station.)
  • From Odawara Station, take the Hakone Tozan Railway to Hakone-Yumoto (20 minutes). From Shinjuku Station: Approximately 85 minutes to Hakone-Yumoto by Odakyu Romancecar from Shinjuku Station.

【By car】

  • From Tokyo: The route is Yoga IC (Tomei Expressway) → Atsugi IC (Odawara-Atsugi Road) → Odawara-Nishi IC → Route 1.
  • From Osaka/Kyoto: The route is as follows: Osaka/Kyoto (Meishin Expressway) → Nagoya IC (Tomei Expressway) → Gotemba IC → Route 138.

What’s good to eat in Hakone Town 

There is beef curry at Fujiya Hotel, based on a Western recipe created by successive chefs since the Meiji period (19th Century), and black eggs from Owakudani, where there is a legend that eating them will prolong one's life. Yumochi, a confectionary designated by Kanagawa Prefecture, is famous for its smoothness reminiscent of soft skin bathed in hot spring water. Wakasagi (smelt) dishes from Lake Ashi are also popular. Ryokans and hotels in the town offer a variety of creative cuisine, from Kaiseki cuisine (a formal style of Japanese food) to fresh seafood from Odawara Fishing Port. Wild boar meat dishes have recently become popular as part of sustainable efforts.

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    Information about accommodation in Hakone Town 

    Many accommodation options are available in Hakone, including guesthouses, value hotels, historic ryokans, and starred hotels, catering to a wide range of budgets and purposes. The town boasts over 300 lodging facilities and more than 6,000 rooms.

    Top Tips for your stay in Hakone Town 

    Located proximate to Tokyo and easily accessible, one must exercise caution about temperature fluctuations due to the elevation change. It is widely acknowledged that for every 100m increase in elevation, the temperature drops by 0.6°C. The Lake Ashi area, in particular, experiences a greater degree of coldness than anticipated due to its high altitude. As a result, it is recommended to bring appropriate outerwear, such as a coat or jacket, to the Lake Ashi area.


    Entertainment in Hakone Town 

    Watching the Hakone Ekiden(marathon relay): The Hakone Ekiden, officially known as the Tokyo-Hakone Round-Trip College Ekiden race, is held annually on the second and third of January. 

    Trout and sweetfish fishing in Lake Ashi. 

    Sengokuhara Yutate Shishimai (March 27) / Miyagino Yutate Shishimai (July 15): A shrine ritual in which a lion soaks bamboo grass in boiling water and sprinkles the water on worshippers. It is an event to pray for good health. 

    Kosui-Matsuri (Lake Festival) (July 31): A festival to worship "Kuzuryu Myojin," the guardian deity of Lake Ashi. The Hakone shrine priest on the boat goes to the center of the lake to offer to Kuzuryu Myojin. Fireworks displays, lantern floating, and other events brighten Lake Ashi in summer. 

    Taiko Hyotan Matsuri (August 3): The Taiko Hyotan Matsuri is a festival held in August, usually outside the Miyanoshita Fujiya Hotel; it recreates that medieval-era party with performances of dance and music, street food, and draft beer, and a fireworks show to end the evening. Note that "Taiko" refers to Mr. Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the military commander who completed the work of national unification in 1590.

    Gora Daimonji Yaki (August 15): The word "大:Dai" (meaning "big" in Japanese) is burned near the summit of Mt. Myojogadake. The festival began to comfort summer vacationers, but now it has become an event that includes fireworks.

    Torii Yaki Matsuri (August 5): Two 6-meter torii gates are built and lit, lanterns are floated, and fireworks are set off. This festival is held to pray for the safety and health of travelers. 

    Ohiradai Onsen Hime Matsuri (August): The Ohiradai Onsen Hime Matsuri is a festival that expresses gratitude and wishes for the development of the local community. The festival includes a children's fair, stage shows, Bon Odori Dance (Traditional Japanese dance), and other events. 

    Miyagino-Kiga Onsen Summer Festival (August 14 and 15): A fire festival is held at Suwa-jinja Shrine to hope a good harvest. A procession led by a lion parades through the town, lighting torches. At the end of the march, a portable shrine containing insects is burned to pray for a year of good health and good fortune. 

    Sengokuhara Susuki (pampas grass) field (best viewed in autumn): Countless pampas grasses cover the slopes of Mt.Daigatake. The overwhelming power of the field will surprise first-time visitors. A path winds its way through the grasses, and visitors can enjoy a fantastic view of the landscape surrounded by grasses. 

    Hakone Daimyo Gyoretsu (November 3): A procession of 170 people parades through Hakone-Yumoto town in the style of the splendid Edo period (1603-1867). This event is famous as a significant historical picture scroll. 

    Hot springs: Hakone was famous in the Edo period for its seven hot spring cures: "Yumoto," "Tonosawa," "Miyanoshita," "Dogashima," "Sokokura," "Kiga," and "Ashinoyu," which were called "Hakone Shichitou" (seven hot springs in Hakone). There are 17 hot springs in Hakone, and many more are available today. 

    Hakone Yosegi-zaiku: A woodworking technique that combines various types of wood and employs their distinct hues to create intricate patterns, Hakone Yosegi-zaiku was developed as a souvenir during the Edo period, boasting a history of approximately 200 years. This marquetry method encompasses many items, from practical to decorative.

    Best Things to do in Hakone Town 

    (1) Hot Springs Hakone is blessed with abundant natural resources and a unique natural environment. The 17 hot springs in Hakone produce 25,000 tons of hot spring water per day, making it the fifth largest hot spring source in Japan. These springs possess approximately 20 qualities, including alkaline simple hot springs, salt springs (sodium chloride springs), and gypsum springs (calcium sulfate springs). 

    (2) Experiential activities such as nature tours. Our focus is on creating high-value-added nature experience activities and eco-tour programs unique to Hakone by capitalizing on its location in a national park, fortifying distribution and sales, and training world-class tour guides. 

    (3) Sightseeing courses using public transportation called "Odakyu Hakone Golden Course" The "Odakyu Hakone Golden Course" is a route that takes visitors from Hakone-Yumoto Station to Lake Ashi via Gora and Owakudani, utilizing five modes of transportation: 

    • "Hakone Tozan Railway" (a mountain railway). 
    • "Hakone Tozan Cable Car." 
    • "Hakone Ropeway." 
    • "Hakone Sightseeing Cruise" (a sightseeing cruise ship designed to resemble an old pirate ship). 
    • "Hakone Tozan Bus" (a local and mountain bus service in the Hakone area). The course is designed to allow visitors to enjoy sightseeing while riding and just getting around using various modes of transportation. This route takes you counterclockwise around Hakone, enabling you to enjoy popular spots smoothly. 

    (4) Museums Hakone is also renowned for its many art museums, ranging from traditional to unique.