Hakone (箱根) is a mountainous area west of Tokyo in Japan. The Hakone checkpoint on the historical Tokaido road marks the beginning of the Kanto region.
Hakone is best accessed from Odawara, the terminus of the Odakyu Odawara Line, 70 minutes from Shinjuku, Tokyo. From Odawara, the Hakone-Tozan Line continues into various resort towns in Hakone.
The popular Odakyu Hakone Free Pass, which includes a return trip from Shinjuku and allows unlimited use of most forms of transport for several days, is available. The 2-day weekday pass is a particularly good deal at ¥4700 from Shinjuku, ¥3410 from Odawara.
The volcanically active Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, centered around Lake Ashinoko, is a popular tourist attraction well known for its onsen hot springs and its views of Mt. Fuji.
- The Great Boiling Valley (大涌谷 Ōwakudani) is a volcanic hot spot full of sulphurous springs. Owakudani can be reached by cablecar from Sounzan and the lake.
- Hakone Shrine, nestled on the south shore of the lake, is a picturesque Shinto shrine with torii gates in water.
- Lake Ashinoko offers beautiful views of 'Mt. Fuji on a good day. The lake is crisscrossed by cartoonishly decorated "pirate ships".
- Try the sulphur-boiled eggs at Owakudani. Their shells are a mottled black due to a chemical reaction, but the inside is quite tasty.
Hakone has many onsen ryokan, traditional Japanese inns featuring hot springs. Facilities vary widely, although prices are generally somewhat elevated (especially on weekends) due to the promixity of Tokyo.
- Kappa-tengoku Minshuku (tel. 0460-56121, 2 minutes on foot from Hakone-Yumoto station) is a well-located if slightly crumbling cheap inn featuring large open-air baths on the roof. ¥6000-8000 with two meals.