Hakone, a mountainous town just to the west of Tokyo, is a popular tourist destination which attracts both locals and people from overseas. This charming town is well-known for its hot springs, museums, and great views of Mt. Fuji from Lake Ashinoko (Lake Ashi).
If you plan on visiting this area, why not spend a day or two there in November 2017? It holds a wonderful parade on November 3rd and has numerous other wonderful things to do and see for visitors. Read on to find out about this amazing event and other things you can enjoy!
The Hakone Daimyo Gyoretsu is a great parade which recreates a tradition from the Edo Period. Celebrated yearly on Culture Day (November 3rd), it involves a procession and a festival.
Daimyo Gyoretsu, which literally means ‘feudal lord’s procession’, re-enacts the procession of the Sankin Kotai. An Edo period system of the Tokugawa Shogunate, Sankin Kotai was meant to prevent rebellions from subordinate feudal lords by having them spend money for the required processions to and from Edo (Tokyo). This practice decreased the feudal lord’s financial capability to fund a rebellion!
The festival begins at 10 am from the Sounji Temple (see below). The procession consists of 170 people dressed as warriors and nobles, including the feudal lord himself! The retainers shout “Down! Down! The Lord comes” as the parade covers a distance of around 6 kilometers from the Sounji Temple to the final destination which is Yumoto Fujiya Hotel (see below).
A marching band accompanies the parade and dance performances by traditional dancers called ‘geigi’ are held once the procession reaches the hotel. The procession arrives at the hotel at around 2:30 pm.
Hakone Yumoto Onsen is considered the largest hot spring district in Hakone and the oldest of its kind. There are 20 hot spring districts in Hakone and the opening of the first hot spring goes all the way back to the Nara period.
Hakone Yumoto is usually referred to as the entrance or gateway to Hakone. The accessibility from Tokyo makes it a top choice for day trips among foreign tourists and locals who want to relax and escape the city. This area can be found next to Hakone-Yumoto Train Station.
Handicrafts made with traditional woodwork techniques can be found here and bought as souvenirs, and nicely convey the tradition of Hakone Yumoto. There are many specialty stores to choose from in the area and you will have a great time exploring the local stores!
Website *Japanese only
Located conveniently close to Hakone-Yumoto station, Yumoto Fujiya Hotel is a Japanese-style resort hotel featuring the hot springs of Hakone Yumoto. Its public baths are divided into male and female sections and have a choice of indoor and outdoor baths.
There are a variety of room types to choose from ranging from Japanese-style, Western-style, and a combination of Japanese and Western style. Some rooms are even furnished with their own private hot spring baths! Rooms can be booked with breakfast and/or dinner.
— PacSet (@PacSetTours) October 28, 2014
Sounji Temple is a family temple dedicated to the military commander Hojo Soun. It was built in 1521, during the Sengoku Period, but was rebuilt during the Edo Period after it was destroyed by Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
You can really enjoy the autumn view here, surrounded by maple trees and autumn leaves. This temple is tranquil and relaxing, and a great place to reflect or learn about the local history of the area.
Website *Japanese only
From Tokyo Station, you can take the Shinkansen Kodama Train and alight at Odawara Station. From there, take the Hakone Tozan Railway bound for Hakone-Yumoto and get off at this station.
The total travel time by train using this route takes around 66 minutes. Instead of the Shinkansen, you can also take a train on the JR Tokaido Line from Tokyo, bound for Atami, and disembark at Odawara Station. This route, however, doubles the travel time and takes around 110 minutes to get to Hakone-Yumoto Station. It is, however, considerably cheaper!
Escape from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo and enjoy the scenic views and hot springs of Hakone. For an extra special and unique experience, visit on November 3rd and watch the procession of lords in a beautiful environment!