Founded over 1200 years ago by the Buddist priest Mangan, this shrine has been a pilgrimage site for samurai, shogun, and travellers for centuries. The foundation myth of the Hakone Shrine is not clear, but involves a story of the surrounding shrines and the dragon that lives at the bottom of the lake. This is one of Hakone`s most visited and spiritually powerful spots. Powerful men and women have paid their respects at the shrine for ages.
Onsen Hot Springs
Hakone is one of the best and most popular places to enjoy hot springs in Japan. There are many wonderful hotels and ryokan with onsen to enjoy, but there are also many beautiful places to enjoy during a day trip or for those looking to get many different experiences during their time here. Hakone is known as an “Onsen Theme Park” for the variety, quality, and amount of hot spring waters flowing from the earth. Many of the ryokan and hotels in Hakone also offer use of their facilities during the mid-afternoon before most of their guests have checked in, but here is a short list of some of the most popular day use only hot springs in Hakone.
The Hakone area is full of wonderful museums. Some of the museums hold world class collections and others cater to more dedicated guests. The most popular is the Hakone Open Air Museum and Picasso Pavilion. An impressive collection of western art, including Monet, Degas, Manet, Van Gogh are on exhibit at the POLA museum. There are many places giving you insight and opportunity to learn and see beautiful world class art.
Hakone Ryokan and Hotels
Hakone lies on the famed Tokaido Road which connected Kyoto and Tokyo. The mountains were the most difficult part of the trip and the Hakone area has been receiving and welcoming visitors and guests for centuries. Ryokan in the area have provided continued service for centuries. The ryokan stay differs from a traditional stay in a hotel in many ways. Staying in a ryokan give you the opportunity to experience the traditional and refined method of Japanese hospitality.
Hakone Ropeway and Owakudani
Owakudani lies at the heart of the Hakone Geopark. Get wonderful views of Fuji and make sure to try the black eggs cooked in the boiling sulfer waters of the volcano. Each egg is said to add 7 years to your life! The Hakone Geopark encompasses and educates visitors about the unique features, insights, and geologic attractions in the area. Access to the Owakudani area is usually by ropeway. Take the train to Gora station > Ride the Cable Car up to Sounzan Station > Take the Ropeway to the steaming vents of Owakudani. The ropeway continues on to the shores of Lake Ashi where you can catch a boat headed for the Hakone Shrine area.
Kintoki Mountain is a hiking route starting in Hakone or Ashigara. The trail is steeped in legend and named after the legendary Japanese children`s tale, Kintaro. Kintaro is the story of a boy raised in the mountains with animals as friends. There are tales of him wrestling bears, running with deer, and chopping trees with his ever present ax. Kintaro was raised in the area and as you ascend the mountain you will pass the shrine dedicated to his spririt.