Day 5 - Hakone (B,D)
Today is a self-guided day.
Suggested Self-Guide Itinerary:
Spend the whole day exploring Hakone with your included transport pass, which serves as your ticket to the numerous forms of transportation in the area.
You can take the Hakone Tozan switchback train that zigzags through the mountains and offers views of the surrounding valleys. Afterwards, you can ride the Guinness World Record-holder ropeway all the way up to Mt. Owakudani, passing over sulfurous fumes, and hotspring.
From the mountain you can take the ropeway bound for Togendai, where you can ride a replica of a pirate ship that cruises along Ashinoko, a body of water that was formed after a volcanic eruption that occurred more than 3,000 years ago.
Aside from the diverse transportation system and a number of natural tourist spots, Hakone is also home to many museums and parks. One of these is the Hakone Open Air Museum that features a harmonic balance between nature and art by exhibiting various sculptures on its spacious grounds in combination with beautiful views of the surrounding valleys and mountains. It also features various indoor galleries such as the sizable Picasso Collection that displays some of his paintings, prints, sculptures, and ceramic creations.
Throughout the day, you might have a chance to get a glimpse of Mt. Fuji. However, please keep in mind that it needs to be a clear day for you to see her splendor.
Note: Mt. Owakudani has been temporarily closed due to volcanic activities.
Note: The ropeway that goes to Mt. Owakudani has resumed operations but for safety reasons, hiking on the mountain is still prohibited.
Suggested Alternative Itinerary:
We suggest heading to Togendai, where you will climb aboard a replica of a pirate ship that will take you across Ashinoko, a lake that was formed after a volcanic eruption that took place more than 3,000 years ago.
After the cruise, get off at Hakone-machi port and walk towards Hakone Shrine, passing by Hakone Checkpoint and the cedar avenue. This shrine is probably the most photographed place in the area with its iconic “floating” torii gate. Going to the main shrine buildings will require a bit of hiking as they are located on top of the ninety-or-so- step staircase. Aside from the sub-temples, you can also see the training hall for kyudo, the traditional Japanese archery, and the water basin with figures of nine dragon heads.
From the shrine, you can continue your trek along the Preserved Old Tokaido Walking Trail, of which the most popular track stretches around 8km long. The next 40 minutes or so will take you to Amazake Chaya, a traditional house serving Japanese style snacks accompanied by sweet rice wine (amazake).
Throughout the day you will have the chance to get a glimpse of Mt. Fuji, however please keep in mind that she is a notoriously shy mountain and it needs to be a clear day for you to see her splendor.
Overnight in Hakone