Onsen Japanese Hot Springs
There are thousands of hot spring areas in Japan, and Hakone is one of the most popular. The Hakone area is one of the best places to experience a dip in the Japanese hot spring. Geology has blessed Hakone with onsen areas of different qualities. There are 12 distinct onsen areas in Hakone and many options when finding a place to enjoy the waters. Most ryokan and hotel open their baths to day guests in the afternoon. There are also a number of high quality establishment catering to the day tripper as well. Explore, experience, and enjoy this wonderful gift of nature.
Ryokan, the Traditional Japanese Inn
The Ryokan is a traditional Japanese inn with qualities and an experience that differs from any hotel or guesthouse. Stay in a ryokan to feel Japanese hospitality, eat seasonal foods, and let yourself get immersed in the way or the Japanese. 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.
Lake Ashi, Beautiful Japanese Nature and History
The shores of Lake Ashi have wonderful historic and cultural sites in a compact area. All the sites are accessible on foot. A 30 minute walk can take you from the historic Hakone Shrine, through towering trees of the old Tokaido Road, a historic barrier gate know as the Sekisho, the former imperial summer villa at Onshi Park, popular museums, and more. The walk is along the shores of a beautiful lake with Mt. Fuji in the background. Along the way there are great restaurants and shops explore as well. The scenes and views are enjoyable all season round.
Hakone Museums, World Class Art in the Mountains
The Hakone area is full of some of the most wonderful museums in Japan. 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. The Okada Musuem showcases a wide range of eclectic Eastern art from Japanese history. In the Sengokuhara area, you can visit museums dedicated to Venetian Glass, Rene Lalique, or even the Little Prince. There are many places giving you insight and opportunity to learn and see beautiful world class art.
Things to Eat in Hakone
Hakone has wonderful food for any foodie to enjoy. Walking the shops in front of Hakone-Yumoto station gives you a chance to taste the Onsen Manju, small steamed cakes with sweet beans inside. There are also many places selling Kamaboko, grilled or steamed fish cakes in different flavors, one of the most popular snacks in the area. Or visiting one of the area`s many hotel or ryokan for lunch can give you wonderful gastronomic experiences. The buffets and meals at ryokan reflect the seasons and local tastes of the area. There are so many options to enjoy a great meal in Hakone, we had to list them here.