We hired a car and took a drive to and around Hakone and enjoyed glorious views. We stayed 3 nights in this area, which also included a day trip to Mount Fuji 5thStation. As family of 4 hiring car was the best option which gave us freedom to do and see more place in this beautiful and one of favourite spot in the World.
Situated to the southwest of Tokyo, Hakone is a mountainous area dominated by Japan’s tallest peak, Mt. Fuji. Aside from its eye-popping views of that iconic volcano and Lake Ashi, Hakone is famous for its hot springs (onsen) as well as traditional Japanese inns (ryokan) where taking a bath in hot spring water is the best way to relax.
Hakone is part of the Fuji Hakone Izu National Park, but this wilderness area is actually home to seven hot springs towns including Hakone Yumoto and Miyanoshita. Hakone is perfect for hiking, sightseeing or just relaxing in one of the many old Hot Springs, which can be found on almost every corner.
Hakone Shrine / Kuzuryu Shrine Singu:
The Hakone Shrine is most famous for its Torii gate, which stands in the shallows of Lake Ashi and can be seen in many portraits of Mt. Fuji. The steep, cedar-lined stairway to the shrine is quite picturesque, while the modest main hall sells the usual range of Shinto items and services. The Kuzuryu Shingu (Nine-head Dragon Shrine) to the right of the main hall is known for bringing about good fortune. Ancient shrine loaded with history on beautiful Lake Ashi.
Torii of Hakone Shrine, built in 1951, is located at the shores of Lake Ashi and is clearly visible from the lake when you take the Hakone Sightseeing Cruise. It is used for the boat launching ceremony. Legend holds that Priest Mangan, the founder of the Shrine, came to Hakone in 757 and encountered magical powers that led him to build a shrine. The main hall of Hakone Shrine was destroyed by fire many times. Today’s shrine was rebuilt in 1936 in Gongen Tsukuri style of architecture.
Tall trees surround the shrine and the colours of red and gold in the structure were beautiful against dark green trees. This is a great spot for photos. The pathway to the shrine rises up from Torii gate. There are a lot of steps but it is well worth the climb. The shrine itself is small but its location set in the mountainside is perfect, peaceful and tranquil. At the top, you can say prayer at the shrine or just watch the many other visitors doing so. Coming back out from the shrine, we recommend to turn to the right after the first set of stairs going down, and take the smaller path winding through the trees rather than the main staircase down, just to get a different view and to see the small koi pond at the bottom. On a sunny day with the shimmering lake below, the gorgeous lanterns nearby, and the smell of the ancient cedar grove, this place is just amazing.
We really enjoyed our visit here. It is one of our favourite spot we ever visited.
Lake Ashi (Ashinoko):
Lake Ashi is absolutely gorgeous. On a clear day, the view of Lake Ashi and Mount Fuji is stunning. Make sure you go on a sunny day to fully enjoy the beautiful views.
Created 3,000 years ago by a volcanic eruption, this lake is cruised by boats year round and, from its southern edge, offers the view of Mt. Fuji often seen in tourist brochures.
Beautiful mountain and lake scenery. You can see Mt. Fuji when you take the cable car to the top of a nearby viewpoint. The cruise on lake Ashi is wonderful. We saw Mount Fuji and had lunch on the lake front it was breathtaking something which will remain with us forever.
You should prepare a whole day to visit this area if you want to see most of it in a relaxing way. You can reach Lake Ashi by the Hakone Ropeway or by bus as well if you don’t like driving. If you are visiting Hakone for more than one day, you should get the Hakone Free Pass. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes because you need to walk a lot to see those attractions near each port.