50 Things to Do in Hakone, the Gorgeous Area of Mountains and Hot Springs, in 2018

  • Hakone, which is part of Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, is a mountainous town in Kanagawa and a popular spot for those in Tokyo to visit for a day trip. It is well known for its breathtaking views of Mt. Fuji, hot springs, and its ship tours of the famous Lake Ashi. If you’ll be spending time in Tokyo, no doubt Hakone is on your list as a day trip, or perhaps you’re planning to stay there for a couple of days. Here are things to do in this gorgeous area for a fun-filled and pleasant trip!

    For more things to do in other areas, check this list out!

    Would you like to stay in Hakone? Check out all the hotels in the area here!

    1. See Hakone’s Best Spots with a Cruise of Lake Ashi

    You can’t visit Hakone without seeing the stunning Mt. Fuji from Lake Ashi! In one day, you can travel to Hakone from Tokyo and take the Komagatake Ropeway to see some stunning views, cruise Lake Ashi on a pirate ship, and ride up to the 5th station of Mt. Fuji to catch some picture-perfect views.

    This tour is always guaranteed to depart in July and August, but other seasons are better for clear views. Check out the tour below for a perfect day out in Hakone!

    Booking details: Mt. Fuji & Hakone Tour with Lake Ashi Cruise Daily Departure

    2. Have a Crab Lunch, Cruise Lake Ashi, and Walk Along the Mishima Sky Walk Bridge

    This awesome day out includes a visit to Odawara Castle where you’ll enjoy an amazing all-you-can-eat crab lunch, cruise Lake Ashi, and even see the longest suspension bridge in Japan, the Mishima Sky Walk. This fantastic activity departs from Shinjuku, Tokyo and includes free wifi on the bus and a fun lottery activity where you can win prizes.

    Be sure to wear warm clothing during the colder months as well as comfortable shoes. Join this great tour for a fun day trip with a crab feast and must-do activities!

    Booking details: All-you-can-eat Crab Lunch & Mishima Sky Walk Bus Tour

    3. Take a One-Day Trip to Hakone from Tokyo with a Guide

    Take a special romance train to Hakone from Shinjuku, ride a cable car and a ropeway to see amazing volcanic views, and visit interesting museums on this fun-filled day out! There’s also a chance to ride the iconic pirate ship to see some great views of Mt. Fuji on clear days, and you can visit Hakone Shrine, which features the god of business, health, and marriage. Book now for a thrilling day out in Hakone exploring its marvelous views and interesting history.

    Booking details: Take a one-day trip to Hakone from Tokyo with a guide

    4. Get a One-Day Pass for Unlimited Travel

    If you’d prefer to explore Hakone at your own pace with your own itinerary, then you can’t go without booking this travel pass. This ticket includes a one-way train ticket to Hakone from Shinjuku, admission to Kohan-no-yu hot springs, and discounts to over fifty different facilities including museums and attractions. The ticket also includes a delicious lunch in Nanakamado. For unlimited rides on lots of Hakone’s local transportation and a free lunch, book this ticket!

    Booking details: Explore the best of Hakone with a one day package pass

    5. See the Cherry Blossoms and Go Strawberry Picking

    Visit Odawara Castle and cruise Lake Ashi during the springtime, where thousands of cherry blossom trees bloom and create gorgeous natural sights. After a delicious all-you-can-eat buffet lunch, you can also try picking fresh strawberries! This activity is ideal for those who want to take great photographs and are also up for some adventure. Book in spring for an unforgettable day in Hakone.

    Booking details: Enjoy Sakura, Hakone Cruise & Strawberry Picking from Tokyo

    6. Relax in an Exclusive Beauty Resort

    For ultimate relaxation, why not book a luxurious stay in one of Hakone’s beauty resorts? Relax in a hot spring, get a treatment at the spa, and get some hair care by a professional hairdresser. This package includes a stay in your very own cottage with facilities such as wifi, a TV, and free amenities. This activity is ideal for women traveling alone or in groups who would like to be pampered during their stay in Hakone. Check out the link below for full details.

    Booking details: Relax in an exclusive beauty resort in Hakone!

    7. Spend the Night in a Romantic Hot Spring Inn

    While in Hakone, why not spend the night in a gorgeous hot spring inn? Wear a yukata robe and stroll the Japanese garden, take a dip in the bubbling hot spring, taste local dishes, and breathe the fresh mountain air. You can get there from Tokyo by riding the Romance train and enjoy a truly authentic and luxurious Japanese experience.

    There are different options and packages to suit your timeframe and budget; you can choose just a meal and a session in the hot spring or select the full package. Click below for more information and have a night in one of Japan’s most beautiful spots.

    For a similar experience where you stay in a ryokan and get your own facilities such as a private hot spring and outdoor pool, local delicacies, and spectacular views of the mountains and river, check out this activity where you can stay in a ryokan room in Hakone.

    Booking details: Day trip to Hakone in a romantic hot spring inn, from Tokyo!

    8. Experience Hakone in Different Seasons

    Unlike some previous tours mentioned, this activity is for private groups only. No matter the season, you can enjoy Hakone in different ways. In winter, you can see spectacular snowy mountain views and crisp, clear skies and views of Mt. Fuji. In spring, the area blooms with beautiful cherry blossoms.

    With this activity, you can experience famous hot springs, ride a ship on Lake Ashi, and even taste black eggs that have been boiled in the mountain hot spring, surely a unique experience! Try local dishes, visit some museums if you like, and visit one of the oldest shrines in the area. There are many more activities available on this exciting day out, so click the link below for more details.

    Booking details: Go on a one day trip to Hakone!

    9. Go Mountain Biking

    Due to its stunning views, gentle hills, and fresh air, Hakone is a fantastic place to go mountain biking! Meet up with local people and select one of their mountain biking courses of varying difficulty levels for an exhilarating day out of exploration, exercise, and good fun!

    Booking details: Go Mountain Biking in Hakone!

    10. Visit Choan-ji Temple

    Choan-ji Temple is a really pretty place with gravestones, statues, and scenic spots to enjoy summer flowers and autumn leaves. Don’t miss this gorgeous traditional temple during your visit to Hakone.


    11. See Odawara Castle

    Japan has a large number of gorgeous castles, many with long and sometimes bloody histories. Odawara Castle was originally built in the 15th century and taken over by the Hojo Clan. They were defeated in 1590 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Japan was reunited.

    This beautiful white castle is well worth a visit and offers nice views in different seasons. Cherry blossoms surround it in spring and you can see autumn leaves in October and November.

    Website *Automatic translation available

    12. Visit the Hakone Open-Air Museum

    The first open-air museum in Japan, this impressive place has over 120 beautiful sculptures from around the world and a large garden that changes with the seasons. It’s a really lovely place to appreciate art and admire the surrounding nature. Children are welcome at this museum and can play in the garden among the artworks. There is also a footbath here where you can relax after walking.

    Hakone Open-Air Museum website

    13. Go to Hakone Gora Park

    This lovely park is just a 10-minute walk from Gora Station and has a scenic fountain, well-kept flowers, and a stunning rose garden. It is 550 yen for entry, or free if you have a Hakone Free Pass. If you’re visiting Hakone in the spring or summer, be sure to check out the park during this peak time and take some gorgeous photographs.

    Hakone Gora Park website

    14. Visit Hakone Shrine

    Hakone Shrine 🐉

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    Those interested in Japanese culture and architecture can’t miss the Motomiya Shrine, although it is quite unusual because it doesn’t have a bell or a saisen box like shrines usually do. The large torii gate emerges from Lake Ashi, a gorgeous thing to witness. Walking shoots are recommended because there is a rough gravel road and a lot of steps. Alternatively, you can get the ropeway.

    Motomiya Shrine website *Japanese only

    15. Relax in a Hot Spring

    Hakone is one of the best places in Japan for relaxing hot springs, locally called “onsen.” You can visit one of the many hot spring resorts in the area and relax the Japanese way – by sinking in a soothing bath! Many hot springs are said to have health benefits from soothing muscle pain to skincare, so be sure to experience this while you are in Japan.

    16. Ride on the Ropeway

    See Hakone from the sky on the famous Hakone ropeway. It leaves in one-minute intervals and from the ride, you can see Lake Ashi, the volcanic scenery of Owakudani Valley, and even Mt. Fuji on a clear day. This exciting ride is a must-see for those going to Hakone for its stunning natural scenery.

    Hakone Ropeway website

    17. Ride the Tozan Railway

    The Hakone Tozan Train is the only mountain railway in Japan and offers gorgeous scenic route. It’s around a 40-minute journey that starts in Hakone-Yumato Station and ends at Gora Station.

    June is a good time to visit because the hydrangeas are in full bloom, and the snowy wonderland of winter is like something from a storybook. This fantastic train ride is unmissable.

    Tozan Railway website

    18. Pay a Visit to the Hakone Venetian Glass Museum

    . 以前、母と東京駅や皇居に行った際 私はこちらに出掛けるものだとばかり思っていた場所 ようやく行けました . 着いた頃は曇りで残念だったのに ホールから出ると晴れ間に恵まれ キラキラ✨輝いていました😍 . ホール内でたまたま聴けたバイオリンコンサート🎻 海外のバイオリニストですが 音響が素晴らしく他の方も絶賛するほど . 私はクリスチャンで祈ったり賛美をする時に 泣いたりしますが それ以外で感動して涙が出たのは凄い久しぶり! 多分レミゼラブルの一曲 ラ、コンテ〜🎶 で終わる曲です😅 . 本格的な紅葉はもう少し先のようでしたが 私はこれでも大満足 緑、黄、赤が織り成す頃の景色が好きです 厳選しても写真沢山ありすぎるので 休憩挟みながら複数投稿が続きます😅 楽しんで頂けると嬉しいデス💕 . . iphone6 & Ricoh R10 #箱根ガラスの森美術館 #景色 #山 #大涌谷 #びゅうたび #紅葉 #写真好きな人と繋がりたい #hakoneglassmuseum #eosm100の秋 #mountain #coloredleaf #view #mountainview #fall #autumn #glassart

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    Another great museum in Hakone is the one of Venetial Glass, where you can see many beautiful displays and information about their craftsmen. This unique gallery will create some great memories for art enthusiasts.

    Hakone Venetian Glass Museum website

    19. Stay in a Traditional Inn

    Why stay in a regular hotel when you can stay in a traditional inn called a “ryokan?” Ryokans typically consist of traditional sliding doors, futon bedding, and Japanese-style furniture. Many ryokans also have public baths or hot springs for guests, and yukata robes to wear. Get a real Japanese experience by staying in one of these traditional inns in one of the most beautiful places in Japan!

    20. Visit Onshi Hakone Park

    Located in the peninsula of Lake Ashi is this lovely park, sometimes called Onshi-Hakone-Koen Park, with no fewer than eight excellent views. Admission is free, and there is also a small museum on site. This is a great place to go if you’d like a relaxing afternoon with great views on a sunny day.

    Onshi Hakone Park website

    21. Climb Mt. Fuji

    Climbing Mt. Fuji is an experience every hiker must take if they visit Japan! If you are going to be in Hakone between June and August and have a few days to spare, then you can making climbing Japan’s highest mountain an adventure on your itinerary. You can climb it in one day (though be sure to check the bus times from the 5th station first) or try the more traditional way of climbing up the night before and watching the sunrise.

    22. See Hakone Sekisho

    This historical site is a short walk from the Lake Ashi boat point. You’ll see a garden, a shrine, and the staff are in Edo period costumes to give the area an authentic feel. Visit this lovely landmark to get a taste of old Japan and see some charming old architecture.

    Hakone Sekisho website

    23. Visit the Pola Museum of Art

    If it’s raining, why not pay a visit to the charming Pola Museum of Art? It has both Japanese and western paintings and sculptures and craft objects such as vases, too. There is a also a restaurant on-site. This is a great place to visit for art buffs but might not be great for small children.

    Pola Museum of Art website

    24. Witness the Beauty of Owakudani Valley

    This frightening yet awe-inspiring valley can be seen from the Hakone ropeway and call also be visited to get a closer look. The area has a short walking trail where you can see steam vents, bubbling pools, and even sulfurous fumes. You can purchase special eggs here that have been cooked in the naturally hot water and blackened by the volume of sulfur. The Japanese believe that eating one of these eggs prolongs your life by seven years!

    Be sure to check before you go, as sometimes the volcanic gases make the area so dangerous that you can’t get up close. However, the view is always available from the ropeway.

    Hakone website *Automatic translation available

    25. Visit Sounji Temple

    Those enthusiastic about Japanese temples would love this charming temple. With its old-style grounds, carefully kept architecture, and nice views during the cherry blossom season, it’s a great place to stop by for a stroll.

    Sounji Temple website *Japanese only

    26. See Hakone Shisseikaen

    This lovely garden, also called the Hakone Botanical Garden of Wetlands, is worth a visit any time of year, but especially during late spring. It’s a great place to walk around for an hour or so and see different plant collections. You also get a discount if you have the Hakone Free Pass. A brochure is available so you can find out what plants are in bloom duringthe season you visit, and some wildlife includes cherry blossoms, poppies, maples, and much more.

    Hakone Shisseikaen website

    27. Hike the Hakone Stone-Paved Road

    Walk in the footsteps of the Japanese warriors of old on this exciting trail. It is on the foothills of Mt. Fuji and with the tall cedar trees and pretty views, you’ll feel like you’re in a samurai movie. There are two paths you can take, so be sure to check beforehand so you take the correct one. This short walk is suitable for all level hikers and makes for some great photos in the fresh air.


    28. Go the Hakone-en Aquarium

    Perfect for a rainy day and for people travelling with children, the Hakone-en Aquarium offers exciting views of penguins, fish, seals, and turtles. You can also watch the animals being fed. Entry is 1,500 yen for adults and 750 yen for children from four years old up to junior high school age.

    Hakone-en Aquarium website *Japanese only

    29. See Tamadare Falls

    #tamadarefalls #japan #hakone

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    Tamadare Falls, also sometimes called Hien Falls, is a serene waterfall often described as serene and peaceful. Those enthusiastic about nature, and waterfalls in particular, would love this relaxing area.

    30. Enjoy Natural Beauty at Sengokuhara Grass Fields

    The hugely popular Sengokuhara Grass Fields consist of a large rolling field of grass. In the autumn is it especially popular as the grasses are a beautiful golden color, turning to bright green as the spring approaches. You can walk through them easily thanks to a wide footpath (walking in the grass is not recommended). The grass fields can be reached by bus from Hakone-Yumoto Station in 30 minutes.

    Website *Automatic Translation Available

    31. Visit the Little Prince Museum

    The charming Little Prince Museum is dedicated to the character in the story The Little Prince, and is a must-visit if you happen to be the Sengokuhara area of Hakone. The museum is beautifully decorated and is in a French-style building. It has gardens, a French cafe, and several enjoyable exhibits.


    32. Enjoy a Coffee and a Footbath at Naraya Cafe

    Just in front of Miyanoshita Station sits for gorgeous Naraya Cafe. This unique and popular cafe offers snacks, coffee, beers, wines, and sweets. There is also a gallery on the seocnd floor with some incredible views of the mountains. The most unique part of this cafe is that you can enjoy a free foot bath at your table!


    33. Explore the Lalique Museum

    The French-style Lalique Museum houses hundreds of pieces of fine jewelry and glass art from French artist Lalique. It is a stunning museum with charming interiors and exteriors, and a great place to relax and enjoy the surrounding Hakone scenery. You can also take a break at its French-style cafe!


    34. Reflect at the Kuzuryu Shrine

    #箱根 #5年ぶり #九頭龍神社 #kuzuryushrine #visitagain after #5yearsabsence

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    The beautiful Kuzuryu Shrine is said to give good luck in money, marriage, and business, so get down there if you need some blessings! It consists of two shrines, the main one, and a new one which sits in the grounds of Hakone Shrine (see above). Both are worth visiting, and sit amidst stunning Hakone scenery.

    Website *Japanese only

    35. Explore the Hakone Museum of Art

    Art-lovers should’t miss a visit the Hakone Museum of Art, situated close to Sounzan Station. This museum features charming traditional Japanese gardens and a collection of Japanese ceramics from prehistoric times and up until the 1800’s. It is set in beautiful surroundings, and well-maintained!

    Website *Japanese only

    36. Have Fun at Forest Adventure Hakone

    This family-friendly adventure park is nestled within a forest and features adventure trails, discovery courses, and tree-top climbs! It has a free shuttle bus running to and from Hakone-Yumoto Station (2-3 minutes), and includes all necessary equipment on-site. It’s a great way to entertain the family and explore nature at the same time!


    37. Play Putter Golf

    Hakone is a great place for a spot of putting golf, with great surroundings and plenty of green space. If you want to try, you can go to this golfing spot close to Hakone-Yumoto Station. This place is very popular among tourists and great for families.

    Website *Japanese only

    38. Enjoy Authentic Japanese Cuisine at Mori-meshi

    If you are looking for authentic Japanese food and restaurant hospitality, check out the popular Mori-meshi, located next to Miyanoshita Station. You can enjoy udon, teppanyaki, sashimi, and a nice selection of wine and sake. Both Japanese and international visitors love this place, so check it out!

    Website *Japanese only

    39. Discover Hiryu Falls

    The beautiful Hiryu Falls are located close to Hatajuku and easily accessible from Hakone-Yumoto Station. This waterfall can be visited after a short hike and attracts plenty of visitors for its stunning scenes. It is said that during the Kamakura Period (1185-1333), Monks used this area for their training and reflection!

    Website *Automatic Translation Available

    40. Unwind at Tenzan Onsen

    There are many onsen in Hakone, but Tenzan is regarded as one of the best. This very traditional bathhouse features several baths, saunas, a lounging area, and on-site eateries. It attracts visitors from all over the place and is very foreigner-friendly, so could be perfect for first-timers to an onsen!

    Website *Japanese only

    41. Explore the Hakone Detached Palace

    In the middle of Onshi Hakone Park sits the beautiful Detached Palace. This old Imperial Palace was formally a retreat for the royal family in Japan is now open to the public. You can explore the grounds and building and admire the great views from its balcony which look out of Lake Ashi.


    42. Visit the Hakone Kitahara Toy Museum

    Toy-lovers and children alike will adore this small but fascinating toy museum. Located nearby Hakone Yumoto Station, visitors can see nostalgic old toys, unique collectibles, model cars, and action figurines from the 1890’s onwards.


    43. Try Owakudani Black Eggs

    If you visit the volcanic area of Owakudani, you should definitely try an Owakudani Black Egg. Said to add seven years to your life after eating one (according to legend!), these chicken eggs are boiled in a hot sulphur spring, which makes them a volcanic black color on the outside!


    44. Learn About Japanese Sexuality at Atami Adult Museum

    初の秘宝館体験。 最高すぎて頭がパーになりましたさ! #熱海秘宝館

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    Located a few miles from Hakone and within the mountainous area, Atami Adult Museum is one of a kind and well worth a visit. The museum gives a rare insight into the wrld of Japanese sex culture, and includes displays, figurines, nude mannequins, festish information, and a giant penis ride you can climb on for 100 yen! This museum is only for people aged 18 or over, but is certainly entertaining and informative!

    Website *Japanese only

    45. Visit Chisuji Falls

    This small but charming waterfall is located in Kowakidani and is accessible via a short hike as part of the Mount Hakone trails. It is surrounded by a variety of trees and is a great place to relax and enjoy the nature of Hakone.

    Website *Automatic Translation Available

    46. Eat at Sushi Miyafuji

    Sushi Miyafuji is a popular sushi restaurant located in the Miyanoshita area of Hakone, and is a real hit with both locals and visitors alike (obvious from the line of people usually waiting!). Here you can enjoy wonderfully fresh fish caught locally, a variety of sushi and sashimi, and the restaurants signature dish aji-don (horse mackeral over rice). The place is very friendly and welcoming, and will fill you up nicely!


    47. Grab some Sizzling Dumplings at Gyoza Center

    From Shrimp and Garlic Gyoza to chicken wings and octopus, Gyoza Center has simply delicious food and is always busy! Located in the town of Gora, this institution has been around for years and is famed for its high quality and fair pricing.

    Website *Japanese only

    Hakone Tours for Those Who Also Want to Go to Other Areas

    Since Hakone is so popular, there are also many things you can do that include Hakone as well as other areas and activities. Check out the following for things to do in a variety of places.

    48. Take a 2-Day Trip to Mt. Fuji, Hakone, and Kyoto

    If you’ve no plans for your Japan trip yet, why not combine Hakone with Mt. Fuji, Japan’s tallest mountain and the inspiration of many artworks, and Kyoto, a beautiful city in Kansai famous for geisha and temples? With this trip, you start in Tokyo and take a comfortable bullet train to visit some of Japan’s prime sightseeing locations such as the 5th station of Mt. Fuji, a cruise on Lake Ashi, and Nijo Castle and Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto.

    The price includes the accommodation, your lunch, an English-speaking guide, admission fees, and transportation costs, making it a huge bargain! For a hassle-free trip to see some of Japan’s best spots, book this activity today!

    Booking details: Enjoy a 2-Day Tour at Mt. Fuji, Hakone and Kyoto from Tokyo!

    49. Embark on a 7-Day Golden Route Holiday in Japan

    This fantastic package completely organises great places to visit for an entire week! Experience the very best of Japan, including Hakone, for seven days with this deal.

    Discover Tokyo, not only a bustling metropolis packed with things to do but also a hub of tradition. Then head to Kamakura and Hakone, both of which are must-see places with historical sights and breathtaking natural beauty. After that, you’ll head to Kyoto to see Gion, the Golden Temple, and other travel hotspots, before spending a day in Uji and Fushimi to take part in a tea ceremony and experience other cultural activities. Click the link below for more details and experience Japan completely hassle-free.

    Booking details: Embark on a 7-day Golden Route Holiday in Japan

    50. Have a 6-Day Holiday Around Japan

    This package deal includes a pick-up from the airport (Haneda or Narita) to your hotel and a thrilling six days of exploring Japan. See Tokyo with a special walking tour, see Hakone and Mt. Fuji, and transfer to Osaka where you’ll see Osaka Castle and the city’s entertainment district. Then spend a day in Kyoto, where a private walking tour will show you some must-see sights such as Kinkakuji Temple and Yasaka Shrine.

    This package includes private English-speaking guides, all your transportation costs to and in Hakone, entrance fees to included attractions, and more. See the link below for full itinerary and details!

    For a similar package tour that is for five days instead of six, check out the 5-Day Package Tour with a Trip to Hakone.

    Booking details: Japan Tour Package Deal! Tokyo to Osaka in a 6-day holiday

    With its close proximity to Tokyo, stunning views, and many things to do, Hakone is well worth a visit during your trip to Japan! No matter the season or your taste, you’re sure to find something to suit you and those you are travelling with. Book a fantastic activity and make your journey really special.

    Would you like to stay in Hakone? Check out all the hotels in the area here!