We are extremely demanding and we don't give 'perfect 10s' but this trip was close.
Famous for its hot springs, outdoor activities, views of nearby Mount Fuji, and overall natural beauty, Hakone has long been a favorite rural retreat from Tokyo for Japanese and foreign visitors alike. Part of Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, Hakone is home to the beautiful caldera lake of Ashinoko and the iconic Mount Fuji. The town is situated less than 60 miles (96 kilometers) from Tokyo, an easy trip on the famous shinkansen, or bullet train.
Iconic sights of Hakone include the waters of Lake Ashi, home to a huge set of orange torii gates; the Hakone Ropeway, a cable car that provides visitors birds-eye views of Lake Ashi and Mount Fuji; and the quiet, picturesque Narukawa Art Museum, home to a repository of modern paintings using traditional Japanese techniques.
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Visit the Hakone Sculpture Park, part of the Open Air Museum, one of the area’s principal cultural draws. More than 100 masterpieces by world-renowned masters of modern and contemporary art, including Rodin, Bourdelle, Miró and Moore, are on display, set within the extensive grounds.
Narukawa Art Museum
Explore the Narukawa Art Museum, a smaller venue with stunning views of Mt. Fuji over Lake Ashi. It features a strong collection of modern nihonga (traditional Japanese style) painting. Nihonga are typically executed on washi (Japanese paper) or eginu (silk).
End the day at Lake Ashi (Ashinoko), a crater lake that lies along the southwest wall of the caldera of Mt. Hakone. The lake’s two most photographed views are Mt. Fuji reflected in its waters and the huge, bright orange torii gates to Hakone Shrine.
Spend an afternoon in your ryokan’s hot springs and spa. The Japanese tradition of public bathing may seem peculiar to outsiders, but the opposite is true in this country. Anyone and everyone in Japan is familiar with visiting an onsen; the idea of going to a communal bath is not just about undressing, but also that bathers remove their worries and social boundaries as they do so.
Board the Hakone Ropeway, a gondola the provides the best possible view of iconic “Fuji-san” looming close by. The gondola will take you over the Owakudani area (the “valley of great boiling”), an attractive landscape of hot springs and rivers and sulfuric steam vents, to arrive at Togendai Station on the shores of pristine Lake Ashi.
Experience fun for the whole family on this 8-day luxury Japan tour through Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and more. Your kids will love rides on bullet trains, walks through mystical forests full of deer, a visit to the home of Pokemon, chewing delicious mochi, and watching the scenery go by aboard a river cruise.
Immerse yourself deep into Japan’s art and culture scene on this fascinating and fun 13-day luxury tour. You’ll tour historic landmarks in hotspots like Tokyo and Kyoto, dine on traditional kaiseki cuisine, and learn the ancient art of Japanese flower arranging, tea ceremony, or calligraphy.
Imagine life as a Japanese royal at this ryokan, which was once the country retreat of the royal family in National Park Hakone. Located 56 miles from Tokyo and 106 miles from Narita International Airport, the ryokan is best reached by train, as Gôra station is just a short distance away. At Gôra Kadan, the delicate whooshing of an opening or closing rice-paper door, fragrant flora and fauna and surrounding hot springs envelope guests in zen-like serenity. There are 23 Japanese-style rooms and 14 suites, and Kaiseki, or seasonal, cuisine is served daily in the restaurant or al fresco on the terrace or in the garden. Amenities include Internet access, an indoor swimming pool and a spa and beauty center, and nearby is a golf course. Gôra Kadan property is part of the luxury hotel and restaurant brand Relais & Chateaux.