Japan // Around Tokyo //

Miyanoshita and around

Rising up into the mountains, the Hakone-Tozan switchback railway zigzags for nearly 9km alongside a ravine from Hakone-Yumoto to the village of Gōra. There are small traditional inns and temples at several of the stations along the way, but the single best place to alight is the village onsen resort of MIYANOSHITA (宮ノ下). Interesting antique and craft shops are dotted along its main road, and there are several hiking routes up 804m Mount Sengen on the eastern flank of the railway – one path begins just beside the station. At the top you’ll get a great view of the gorge below. Back down in Miyanoshita is the historic Fujiya hotel, which opened for business in 1878 and is well worth a look.

Travelling two more stops on the Hakone-Tozan railway brings you to Chōkoku-no-Mori, where you should alight if you want to visit the nearby Hakone Open-Air Museum (彫刻の森美術館). This worthwhile museum is packed with sculptures, ranging from works by Rodin and Giacometti to Michelangelo reproductions and bizarre modern formations scattered across the landscaped grounds, which have lovely views across the mountains to the sea. You can rest between galleries at several restaurants or cafés, and there’s also a traditional Japanese teahouse here.