Japan Day 4: Hakone

March 16, 2020


Hakone is a crazy beautiful mountainous town in the Fuji area that reminds me of something out of a Miyazaki film. It was raining for the majority of the time we were there but the fog only made it extra mystical. The only regret I have from this part of the trip was that we only stayed for one night and I wish we had stayed for at least two, perhaps three.

Where to stay:

Where to go:

Where to eat:
Since Hakone is very mountainous and transportation is limited. There aren't many restaurants around and most places to eat are at hotels. But do get some black onsen eggs at the gift shop in Owakudani!


We took the bullet train (Shinkansen) from Tokyo to Odawara Station and from there, we took a bus to Hakone. After checking into Hakone Kowakien TEN-YU, we headed out to explore as much as we can. We took the ropeway to Owakudani. This volcanic area was formed some 3000 years ago when Mt Hakone erupted and is now filled with hot springs. No wonder Hakone is known for its onsens! And if you go, don't forget to try the infamous black volcanic eggs! They are actually pretty tasty! We hopped back on the ropeway and continued to Lake Ashi (Ashinoko). On a clear day, you can visibly see Mt. Fuji sitting behind the lake oh so majestically! We took the Hakone Sightseeing Cruise (it looks like a pirate ship) from Tōgendai Port to Hakone-Machi Port on opposite ends of the lake and took in all the views! As you approach Hakone-Machi Port, you will also see the infamous Hakone Shrine torii gate on the left. What a sight! It was getting dark rather quickly but we wanted to check out the Ancient Cedar Avenue and the Hakone Tokaido Checkpoint. The Old Tokaido Road used to be the "highway" which linked Tokyo with Kyoto during the feudal Edo Period. Now, this path is lined with tall cedar trees and covered in beautiful moss! At one point during our walk, we saw Mt. Fuji, Lake Ashi, and the torii gate all lined up behind one another. It was magical!

We caught the bus back to our hotel and had a lovely dinner. Think thoughtfully curated appetizers, fresh sashimi, and hearty seafood broth. So tasty especially after a cold rainy day! After dinner, Mark went to check out the public onsen while I enjoyed my private one in our suite. I specifically booked a room/hotel with a private onsen because I have lots of tattoos and in Japan tattoos are prohibited from onsens! Something to remember!

The next morning, we woke up bright and early to visit the Hakone Shrine before making our way to Osaka. Although the crowd was small, there was still a line to take a photo with the peace torii. But it's absolutely worth it with the torii gate floating on water. I've never seen anything like it!

I really wish we had made more time for Hakone because I also wanted to check out the Open-Air Museum which I heard was super cool as well as the pampas grass field. Next time!!!


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