The spring months start in early April in the Hakone area. This is cherry blossom season in Japan and the sakura bloom at different times depending on area. The sakura can be seen in the lower Yumoto area first, then the middle Gora and Miyagino areas, and then finally at the higher Lake Ashi area. Lake Ashi will bloom a few weeks after Yumoto. The best place to see cherry blossoms is the Yumoto area, along the Hayakawa River in Miyagino (also lit up at night), and on the shores of Lake Ashi near the Prince Hotel. Wild cherry blossoms can be seen among the mountain forests throughout the Hakone area.
Hakone first gained popularity with many people from Tokyo and foreign guests as a mountain retreat to escape the hot and humid temperatures of Tokyo. The shores of Lake Ashi can be up to 5 degrees cooler than sea level. Summer is also a great time to go hiking in the mountains. The Kowakien Yunessan area has a large pool complex to help cool off as well. Summer is a time for festivals as well. In Hakone we start the summer months with a week long celebration on the shores of Lake Ashi that also included fireworks and live music! The summer heat peaks in August for Japan and late summer will bring the rainy/typhoon season.
This is one of the most popular times of the year to visit Hakone because of the colorful autumn foliage and changing leaves of the mountains. The cool evenings are the perfect time to relax in the onsen, the Japanese hot spring. Taking the Hakone Tozan Mountain Train between Yumoto and Gora is a great way to take in the scenery. The roads sometimes get congested this time of year so plan your route accordingly. The fall leaves start to change colors around early November starting in the upper Sengokuhara area and down to Yumoto.
Winter is a favorite time for many to visit Hakone. The crisp and clear winter air gives you wonderful views of Mt. Fuji. Finding an outdoor onsen to compliment the cold winter air is amazing. Hakone also has many seasonal light up events located throughout the town. Snow will fall in the upper parts of Hakone, in the Sengokuhara and Lake Ashi area most usually around February.