Lake Ashi or Ashinoko Lake is a crater lake lying along the southwest wall of the caldera of Mount Hakone. This is the reason why it is also called “Hakone Lake.” The fact that it has great views of Mt. Fuji makes it a popular destination for a number of pleasure boats and ferries. It also provides a scenic view of the remaining area for all tourists and passengers.
Lake Ashinoko has popular boat cruises offering spectacular sights of the whole place. However, you have to check the weather first to have a clear view of the mountain. It is better to cruise during the colder seasons as it is more visible than summer days. There are primarily two companies that offer boat tours: Hakone Sightseeing Cruise and Izuhakone Sightseeing Cruise. The boats travel from Moto-Hakone and Hakone-machi as well as Togendai and Kojiri. Each of these boat rides cost 1,000 yen for 30 minutes. In order to get some discount in enjoying Hakone Sightseeing Boats and in traveling around Hakone, you can check the Hakone Freepass by Odakyu Railways.
Most people who visit the lake, also visit the nearby Hakone Shrine. This is a Japanese Shinto Shrine popularly visited by samurais, shoguns and other travelers hundreds of years ago. Some people get to experience staying in ryokans while trying to explore the place. Others visit the beautiful Onshi Hakone Park, which offers nice walking trails as well as a good view of Lake Ashino.
In the southern shores of the lake, you can find the Hakone Detached Palace which used to serve as the summer place of the Imperial Family. This is now open for public viewing.
To enjoy the view of Lake Ashi’s crystal waters, you might as well take the Hakone Ropeway which operates at approximately one-minute intervals. It offers superb scenery of the wonderful environment surrounding the lake. It only takes a 25-minute stroll in the sky from Sounzan Station to Togendai station, located on the shore of Lake Ashi.
Lake Ashinoko provides a total package for visitors due to the beautiful scenery of mountains and gardens. Its abundance in nature makes it even more popular for hikers.
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