South of Mount Fuji and 90km west of Tokyo is the lakeland, mountain and onsen area known as HAKONE (箱根), always busy at weekends and holidays. Most visitors follow the well-established day-trip route, which is good fun and combines rides on several trains or buses, a funicular, a cable car and a sightseeing ship, styled as a seventeenth-century galleon, across the lake, Ashino-ko. However, the scenery is so pretty, and there’s so much else to do – such as seeing great art at the Hakone Open-Air Museum and the Pola Museum of Art, not to mention soaking in numerous onsen – that an overnight stay is encouraged. Weather permitting, you’ll also get great views of nearby Mount Fuji.

The traditional day-trip itinerary, described below, runs anticlockwise from Hakone-Yumoto, gateway to the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, then over Mount Sōun, across the length of Ashino-ko to Moto-Hakone, and back to the start. Approaching Hakone from the west, you can follow a similar route clockwise from Hakone-machi, on the southern shore of Ashino-ko, to Hakone-Yumoto.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Japan features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

In search of the secret to long life in Nagano

In search of the secret to long life in Nagano

People in Nagano, Japan, live longer than virtually anywhere else on earth. But what’s the secret of this success? Our writer Shafik Meghji travelled across…

16 May 2018 • Shafik Meghji local_activity Special feature
Kyushu's living stories: exploring Japan's unsung corner

Kyushu's living stories: exploring Japan's unsung corner

This year Japan celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Meiji Restoration – the event that returned the emperor to the throne, and set the country back on th…

09 May 2018 • Neil McQuillian local_activity Special feature
Revisiting Kyoto: why Japan’s cultural heart will win you over

Revisiting Kyoto: why Japan’s cultural heart will win you over

Kyoto hardly needs an introduction. In a country often associated with logic-defying bullet trains and kaleidoscopic mega cities, Japan’s former imperial capi…

08 May 2018 • Olivia Rawes insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right