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24 Hours in Hakone: Five Top Things to Do When You You Can Only Have a Daytrip

Monday, May 20, 2019 0 Comments

24 Hours in Hakone
When your heart feels extra pressured and excited, your body seems to be slowly sautéed in a way that any cold weather wouldn’t be able to contain. This was me for 24 hours. The exact second when I felt like I wanted to remove my winter jacket out of agonizing anticipation of whether or not I was about to see Mt. Fuji on a different vantage point, was during the time I visited Hakone. Knowing that you are chasing the golden hour, while waiting running on a four-hour sleep schedule, is an ordeal that you may not want to go through. I was there. I was that. Hakone can leave that exciting impression, even if everything is slow and simmered down.

Being part of the world-famous Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, Hakone (箱根) is less than an hour away from Tokyo. It’s the perfect place for a quick away-from-Tokyo getaway, especially if you are looking for that hot springs vibes, natural beauty landscapes, and of course, the view across Lake Ashinoko of nearby Mt. Fuji. You can easily spend a day or two here, but more importantly, you have to visit these outstanding places first among the rest of the fan favorite others.

Laki Ashinoko
Often depicted with its characteristic bright red torii gate and Mount Fuji standing imposingly in the background, Lake Ashinoko, in the heart of hot spring haven Hakone, is nothing short of iconic. Although easily accessible from Hakone-Yumoto station by a short bus ride, Lake Ashinoko is nestled between many quaint onsen towns that reside on its expansive shores. Read more: https://travel.gaijinpot.com/lake-ashinoko/

Hakone Botanical Garden of Wetlands
Hakone Botanical Garden centers on the plant life thriving in the rivers and marshes originating from the wetlands. One particular feature is the walking path where you can look around the primeval wetlands from the lowlands to the mountains, and the wetlands that formed thereafter in order. It’s so easy to navigate that even a wheelchair can traverse the path. It takes 40 minutes to make one circuit through the re-created marshland and wetland zones. Through the meticulous construction, you can take your time looking at the plants one by one. Read more: https://planetyze.com/en/japan/hakone/hakone-botanical-garden-of-wetlands

Hakone Open Air Museum
One of the first pieces you'll see when you descend is Hercules, the Archer by Emile-Antoine Bourdelle. Emile-Antoine Bourdelle worked as an assistant in Rodin's studio. While so much of their styles are similar, the differences are also stark. Rodin followed a strict analytical modelling technique whereas Bourdelle wanted to modernise sculpture from it's original Greek and Roman influences. The energy in this piece is so dynamic. The archer's arm is taut, and his muscle flexed as he pulls at an invisible bowstring. Read more: https://thecreativeadventurer.com/blog/guide-to-the-hakone-open-air-museum

Moto Hakone & Hakone-Machi
The kitsch sightseeing boats that ply the cobalt blue waters of Ashino-ko deposit you at either Hakone-machi (箱根町) or the adjacent Moto-Hakone (元箱根), two small lakeside communities both well touristed and with sights of historical interest. Read more: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/japan/hakone-machi-moto-hakone

Hakone Sightseeing Cruise
The Hakone Pirate Ship began operations in 1920 and is a sightseeing ship that cruises Lake Ashi.  In order to attract tourists, in 1964 the ship donned the pirate ship decoration and became a famous attraction at Lake Ashi. All of the ships are very large, can be boarded easily and does not sway very much, which makes them comfortable for visitors.  The surrounding area can be viewed 360 degrees from the observation deck , and great views can also be seen through the large windows inside. The cockpit of the ship can be viewed through a glass window.  Visitors can stand behind the cockpit and get a feel for what the captain’s view would be.  The Hakone Pirate Ship is a great experience for families with children and is a must see for visits to Lake Ashi. Read more: https://www.japanhoppers.com/en/kanto/hakone/kanko/718/

Bowdy is an amateur adventurer, a coffee sleepyhead, and a start-up rooter, with a penchant for classic-looking photos. At last count, he has visited some 60 countries, and is now living in Singapore. He's always in search of fascinating routines to exploit, within the edges of after-office hours and (un)limited holidays.

For collaboration ideas, email bowdywanders@gmail.com.

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