One of the best international holiday resorts. Home of renowned spas and a large historical zone. A historic hotel, exotic streets, unique hot springs and open-air museums are all accessible via the Hakone Tozan Line.
The town of Hakone is situated in the southwestern part of Kanagawa, and is part of Fuji Hakone Izu National Park. Hakone is an internationally well-known holiday resort that includes many renowned hot springs. They have about 20 different qualities, nicknamed "Hakone Seventeen Spas."
A view of Mt. Fuji is not the only view that you can enjoy in Hakone. There are a number of spots to visit, including O-waku-dani (where volcanic fumes still bear a trace of the Hakone Volcano), Lake Ashi-no-ko (created in the crater of the Hakone Volcano), Susuki-sogen (silver grass field) of Sengokuhara, a stone Buddha and stone towers situated in Moto-Hakone, and cedar trees along Kyu-Kaido Street. Various methods of transportation, such as mountain railway, cable car, ropeway, and cruising boat, are available to bring you to these spots.
Many tourist spots in Hakone are accessible via the Hakone Tozan Railway. It is unique in that the train repeats switchbacks three times to go up the steep slope from Yumoto, the entrance of Hakone, to Gora. The train runs on the steepest slope (80/1000) among the railways in Japan. The mood of Hakone is characterized by riding the train and looking down into the valley of the Haya-kawa River, through the greenery, while the train chugs along. Tourists can stay on the train or get off to enjoy Hakone further.
Miyanoshita is one of seven hot spring towns in Hakone. A resort hotel targeting foreign visitors opened in 1878, and made the town well known. Numerous celebrities, including John Lennon, have stayed at this hotel. The streets, with their exotic and somewhat retro atmosphere, attract many individuals.
Around Kowakidani Station, there is a hot spring theme park named Hakone Kowakien Yunessun, a Mediterranean-style public bath. It is divided into two sections, in one you bathe with your bathing suit on and the other you bathe without. You can choose the one you like. In the former section, you can enjoy various unique baths, such as a coffee bath or a wine bath. In the latter section, you will relax in the cypress bath, in the magnificent nature of Hakone.
Around Chokoku-no-Mori Station, which follows Kowakidani Station, there is the Hakone Open Air Museum. This museum is composed of an open air area displaying 100 sculptures, including the works of Rodin, Milo and Moore, representing modern and contemporary fine arts, and features the Picasso Pavilion and Picture Gallery, in a green area of about 70,000 square meters. Pleasures are not limited to fine arts. A 20-meter footbath, in which 30 people can bathe at once in the briskness of the open air, exists. Visitors can relax in the comfort of the footbath while appreciating the artwork.
The Hakone Tozan Railway terminates at Gora Station at an altitude of about 550 meters. It is a unique building that resembles a mountain hut, and is crowded with visitors who want to transfer to a cable car for Owakudani to go to Mt. So'un-zan. There are parks and a museum in this area. For example, in Gora-koen Park, you can enjoy viewing seasonal flowers, or can try blowing glass, sandblasting, and making pottery and drying flowers at the craft house. The Hakone Museum of Art, which specializes in Japanese ceramics, is not only a place to enjoy exhibitions. The museum also has gardens, including a moss garden.
From Tokyo :
[Rail] 90 min from Shinjuku to Hakone-Yumoto Station by Odakyu Line.
40 min from Tokyo to Odawara by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line, and 15 min from Odawara to Hakone-Yumoto Station by Hakone Tozan Line.