Easy Day Trip from Tokyo! Ultimate Sightseeing Guide for Hakone & Lake Ashinoko!
When in Hakone you must visit Lake Ashi (Ashinoko). This picturesque lake is surrounded by nature and has a magnificent view of Mt. Fuji. Here we will show you how to get the most out of your trip in a single day!
Tea Time! Enjoy the Sights and Tastes Found at This Restaurant
When you arrive at Lake Ashi we first recommend taking some time to relax. Head over to the "Premium Shop & Salon de Thé Rosage" found inside the Odakyu Hotel de Yama. Here you can enjoy their exquisite tea while breathing in the refreshing air.
You can enjoy a relaxing lunch while gazing out at Lake Ashi. Whether you choose to sit out on the terrace or inside the store, this shop is always filled with customers.
The shop, which was certified by the Japan Tea Association as "A delicious tea shop" in 1995, has more than 20 kinds of tea which are always carefully selected by their dedicated tea specialists.
For this trip, I ordered the original blend "Rosage tea" (950 yen). This tea is put together with the fragrance of raspberry and rhubarb blended with Keemun and Ceylon teas which lend a sweet flavor and a robust aroma. Because of the strong aroma and the absence of bitterness, this tea can be enjoyed even when served cold.
Another item you must try is the "Rosage traditional original style apple pie à la Mode" (1,604 yen). This apple pie is made to look like a rose and is topped with cinnamon and sugar.
This pie is brought to the table pipping hot, fresh out of the oven. The ice cream and finishing touches are done right in front of your eyes making this dish the most popular item. It has been around since the store first opened its doors.
These final toppings usually include fruit sauce options such as orange, matcha, and raspberry. Some waiters even draw bears or other animal faces for kids’ enjoyment!
* Toppings vary according to the season.
When it is finally ready it almost looks to beautiful to eat, like a piece of art! This treat should be enjoyed slowly, being sure to savor every bite. The taste of cinnamon and apple pie so well and goes down so easily. The fruit sauce is so fresh, combining and mixing all the different flavors together is a great way to enjoy this dessert.
In addition to desserts, they offer some wonderful light meals as well. For lunch, why not enjoy their "Rosage original roast beef sandwich" with a small soup or salad (2,614 yen). This roast beef sandwich has plenty to enjoy with a thickness of 5cm! A popular choice among male customers.
On the second floor you can buy your favorite tea and cakes at the "Premium Shop Rosage."
While this restaurant is so popular that is hard to get a seat, it is near the Hotel de Yama where you can enjoy azaleas, roses, autumn leaves and other foliage on a light walk if you have to wait.
The `dark green season` is in the first half of June and July, where the scenery from the window is the said to be the most beautiful. Come enjoy these magnificent views over a luxurious cup of tea and exquisite desert.
Premium Shop - Salon de Thé Rosageプレミアムショップ＆サロン・ド・テ ロザージュ
- Address 神奈川県足柄下郡箱根町元箱根80 / 80 Moto-Hakone, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa 250-0522, Japan
Hours: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. L.O.
Closed: Open daily
0460-83-6321 (Hotel de Yama)
Boost Your Luck in Sport and Business! Hakone Shrine is a Power Spot for Luck
Next, we head to the Hakone shrine which is the famous power spot of Hakone. It is located about 10 minutes on foot from Salon de Thé Rosage.
This Hakone shrine has been worshiped by warriors who would visit before a battle in ancient times and is considered the guardian of Kanto.
Right next to Hakone Shrine is Kuzuryu Shrine, which is well known to those who visit as it is said to fulfill your wishes. Be sure to make a wish!
After visiting the shrines, head down the stairs of the Seisan path. Here you can see the large red "torii of peace" floating in the lake. This Torii was consecrated by The Emperor of Japan, in 1952 (Showa 27). This popular spot allows those who visit to take pictures that appear as if they are in the lake.
Hakone Shrine / Kuzuryu Shrine箱根神社・九頭龍神社新宮
- Address 神奈川県足柄下郡箱根町元箱根80-1 / 80-1 Motohakone, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa-ken 250-0522
- Phone Number 0460-83-7123
Free entry for worship (parking lot open from 7: 00a.m ~ 5: 00p.m.)
Ready for an Adventure? Take a Voyage on the Hakone Pirate Ship!
You cannot go sightseeing around Lake Ashi without a view from the pirate ship, which is also the centerpiece of the lake. There are three places where you can board the boat: Motohakone Port, Hakonemachi Port, and Togendai Port.
You can travel from the Hakone Shrine to Hakonemachi in less than 10 minutes by bus or about 20 minutes even if you walk, so if you have time for a stroll we highly recommend it. You can head over while enjoying the sights of Suginami and Sekiguchi.
We decided to take a one-way cruise from Hakonemachi to Togendai Port which took about 40 minutes. (One-way tickets are 1,000 yen per adult, 500 yen per child / round trip tickets are 1,840 yen per adult, 910 yen per child.)
While waiting for the ship after purchasing a ticket, I noticed a large number of foreign tourists gathering. The waiting area fills up quickly, so if you want a good seat on the ship be sure to head to the boarding dock early.
For this voyage we boarded the pirate ship "Royale II" which departed at 12:30. The red hull stood out among the blue sky, white clouds, and the beautiful mountains in the back.
* The ship that you will board depends on the day. The departure times may also vary based on the season and the weather, so please check on the Hakone pirate ship website for the latest details.
The best thing to do once on board is get a good seat. The seats and decks with the good views are taken in no time. On the left side of the ship, you can enjoy nature
and a nice view of the mountains where trees grow. On the right side, you can see Hakone Shrine and the many other buildings and hotels that stand on the shores of Lake Ashi. We recommend you pick your seat on the boat that faces the scenery you will enjoy.
Now that I have my seat it is time to depart. The first stop is Motohakone.
From Hakonemachi and Motohakone, you can see Mt. Fuji beyond Lake Ashi. If there are good weather conditions, you may be able to see Mt. Fuji upside down in the reflection of the lake. Be prepared so you don’t miss this great photo opportunity! When we went the weather was good, but there were a lot of clouds, making it impossible to see Mt. Fuji.
Many people get on and off at the Motohakone Port. One large Torii of the Hakone Shrine can be seen which is popular among foreign visitors. There are many more sightseeing spots during the cruise such as the Torii of Peace of The Hakone Shrine and torii of the Kuzuryu Shrine.
After enjoying the scenery outside the ship, check out the inside. The Royal II, is modelled in the style of a French boat from the 18th century, with the decorations not only on the exterior of the ship, but on the interior as well.
In the ordinary cabin, you will find a comfortable bench style chair painted white with a gun replica placed above the window. Other paintings reminiscent of the French palace garden are found. The elevator doors are even painted with an image of an old map.
There is even 3D art that can be found on the first floor of the ship and can also be purchased at the shop as a souvenir.
For those who want to enjoy a high-quality experience, we recommend the special cabin. This cabin is available by purchasing an additional cabin charge fee (one way: 500 yen for adults, 250 yen for children / round trip: 770 yen for adults, 400 yen for children) to your boarding tickets. Because the special cabin is more spacious than the ordinary cabins, this is a great choice for larger groups to enjoy the trip in a quieter and more relaxing atmosphere.
Although the cruise was 40 minutes it felt like it was over in an instant. As we arrived at Togendai Port I could hear people saying "It`s over already?" The ride was so smooth and enjoyable time went by quickly.
The Hakone pirate ship seems to have the largest number of passengers when going from Hakonemachi headed toward Togendai. The recommended time to visit is in mid-May right after Golden Week. This time is relatively vacant when compared to other seasons. The fresh green of the mountains seen from the ship is well worth a visit. There is also a `sea of clouds` that is said to appear in the sky only 30 times in an entire year. Maybe if you are lucky you will be able to see it!
Hakone Pirate Ship (Hakone-machi port)箱根海賊船（箱根町港）
- Address 神奈川県足柄下郡箱根町箱根161／161 Hakone, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa 2500521, Japan
Ship Hours: 9:30a.m. - 5:30p.m.
Closed: Open daily
Fare: Hakonemachi Port / Motohakone Port ⇔ Togendai Port: (one way) Adult 1,000 yen, Child 500 yen; (round trip) Adult 1,840 yen, Child 910 yen
* Times may vary or even be cancelled based on season and weather. Please check details on the website.
0460-83-7722 (Operations department)
Take the Scenic Route! See the Sengoku Pampas Grass - Chosen as one of Kanagawa's 50 Scenic Spots!
When you arrive at Togendai, we recommend you check out the Sengokuhara pampas grass, which was chosen as one of Kanagawa`s 50 Scenic Spots. You can get there by taking the Hakone Tozai bus bound for Odawara station (one-way, 310 per person), get off at "Sengoku Takahara." From there it’s a 1-minute walk.
In autumn, Sengokuhara is a popular place filled with many tourists as it becomes filled with golden brown rice that can be easily seen throughout the grassy plains.
Apart from autumn, the mountain in spring as well as the summer sky with the contrast of the blue sky among the green nature is a beautiful site. This location can be enjoyed during any season you visit. The sunrise and sunset are also special as the sunlight comes in at a diagonal angle giving a nice sparkle to any picture you take.
Sengokuhara Pampas Grass Fields仙石原すすき草原
- Address 〒250-0631神奈川県足柄下郡箱根町仙石原／Sengokuhara, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa 2500631, Japan
0460-85-7410 (Hakone Town Tourism Division)
Travel through the air on the Hakone Ropeway - Enjoy a Clear View of Lake Ashi & Mt. Fuji!
After enjoying the scenery of the pampas grass, we went to the Hakone Ropeway, another feature of Lake Ashi Tourism! You can enjoy the aerial walk while looking down at Lake Ashi from high above (As of November 2017, the ropeway operates all lines). From there take the bus again and return to Togendai station, and head toward Sounzan station (One-way adult 1,370 yen) using the Hakone ropeway.
When you get on the ropeway, there is a superb view of Lake Ashi as you leave Togendai Station around the first tower. On our trip using the ropeway, the reflection of the sun on the lake surface was shining beautifully. This is surely a sight that can only be experienced from the ropeway. Be sure to give it a ride.
As we continued on the ropeway, Mt. Fuji began to appear on the left side of the vehicle. It seems that Mt. Fuji can be seen the best during February when the air is clear. Meanwhile, in the summer, the probability of Mt. Fuji is ever decreasing as the air is becoming less clear with humidity. That is not to say it can never be seen in the summer as there still days when it is visible
On this day I was unable to see Mt. Fuji from the pirate ship, but while on the ropeway, I was able see Mt. Fuji for the first time. Although there is a degree of familiarity with Mt. Fuji all over Japan, being able to see with my own eyes was an incredible experience.
The surroundings of the ropeway are rich in nature, and can be enjoyed throughout all four seasons. It is also quite the view to look up at the ropeway from the ground. We recommend getting out at Ubako Station to spend a moment watching the railway.
After Ubako Station, we began to see smoke rising on the right side. This is about 16 minutes after departing from Togendai Station.
- Address 〒250-0045神奈川県小田原市城山1-15-1／1-15-1 Shiroyama Odawara-shi, Kanagawa, 2500045, Japan
Hours: March-November, 9:00a.m. - 5:00p.m., December-February, 9:00a.m. - 4:15p.m.
Closed: Open daily * Ropeway use may be suspended due to weather conditions
Fare: (one way) Togendai Station → Ubako Station: Adults 730 yen, Child 370 yen / Togendai Station → Owakudani Station: Adult 1,050 yen, Child 530 yen / Togendai Station → Sounzan Station: Adult 1,370 yen, Child 690 yen
* There is separate pricing for round trip fares
0460-84-8439 (Saturday, Sunday, Holidays)
Don’t Forget the Special Black Egg Souvenir Offered in Owakudani! Boiled in Hot Springs Water, These Eggs Smell of Sulfur (though taste quite normal) and are said to Add Seven Years to Your Life if You Eat Just One!
Upon stepping outside of Owakudani station, the smell of sulfur is overpowering and white steam and smoke may jump into your eyes. This steam pours out of a restricted area where volcanic activity began in 2015. As of November 2017, we were only able to enter only the Owakudani Kuro Tamago (Black egg) pavilion and walk around the parking lot, all other areas were restricted.
To the side of the station you can see the ropeway going to Sounzan station over the rising smoke.
Mt. Fuji can also be seen from the Owakudani parking area behind the ropeway and is said to be a much better place for photos as you are not in constant motion. Wherever you want to take your pictures no one can deny that the view of Mt. Fuji is beautiful.
While in Owakudani, be sure to get the Hakone black egg souvenir! (5 eggs, with salt, 500 yen)
While the shell of the egg is black, the inside is the usual white and yellow. The black eggs are made using chemical reactions of geothermal and volcanic gases and are famous goods that can only be purchased at Owakudani. These eggs are said to contain luck and will increase your life expectancy by 7 years by eating just one.
The black eggs are carried on a ropeway exclusively for transporting these eggs where they are taken to the eruption zone called Hell Valley (Jigokusawa) located in Enmadai, a restricted area, and boiled for 60 minutes in a hot spring pond at about 80 degrees Celsius. Then the eggs are steamed at about 100 degrees for 15 minutes to complete the preparation. By boiling the raw egg using a hot spring, iron is attached to the shell, causing a chemical reaction as it becomes iron sulfide, turning the shell black.
I bought these black eggs at the Owakudani Kurotamago pavilion "Kurotama Shop", but can be purchased at "Gokurakanchaya" as well. Be sure to check out the many other original souvenirs.
Owakudani Kurotamago Pavilion大涌谷くろたまご館
- Address 〒250-0631神奈川県足柄下郡箱根町仙石原1251／1251 Sengokuhara, Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa 2500631, Japan
- Phone Number 0460-84-9605
Hours: 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. * Sales of the black egg is from 9:00 a.m. - 4:20 p.m. (Sale ends earlier when inventory runs out)
Closed: Open daily (May be closed due to maintenance)
After getting the black eggs, we leave for Sounzan Station, the last stop. The ropeway travels through the pure white sulfuric smoke!
When looking down you can see the perimeter of the restricted zone where no entry is allowed. The earth has turned yellow with sulfur smoke, the plants and trees appear white and possibly dead. The power of the volcano is overwhelming.
After going over the valley where sulfur emerges, we head down the mountain side. In front, you can a large mountain with a large character imprint in the side. If the weather is nice and the air is clear, you may be able to see the Boso Peninsula in Chiba and Tokyo Skytree, so please try to find it. While enjoying the scenery, I arrived at Sounzan Station. I transferred to the Hakone Toyama train here to return to Hakone Yumoto.
I was able to enjoy many scenic views of Lake Ashi and Mt. Fuji from many different angles. The different viewpoints give many different ways to enjoy the land, lake and sky. When you are here, no matter where you are, you may find yourself subconsciously looking for Mt. Fuji. Walking in nature, you are sure to have a fun day of healing and discovery!
This time around our route of Motohakone-Sounzan, is our recommended course for Lake Ashi, where you can fully enjoy all the scenic spots in one day. To get around, you can get a '1-day ticket' that allows you to ride the pirate ship and the ropeway. Alternatively, you can also purchase the "Hakone free pass" that allows you to ride the Hakone Tozan Railway and Hakone Tozan Bus (within the designated section), cable car and ropeway.
When visiting the Hakone - Ashinoko area, depending on time, season, and weather during your trip you may have a very different experience with different scenery. It does however seem that you will be able to enjoy beautiful sights no matter when you visit. Why not take a nice day trip around Lake Ashi after going on a hot spring trip to Hakone for your next vacation?
* All prices in this article include tax and service charges.
Spots showcased in the article
- Premium Shop - Salon de Thé Rosage
- プレミアムショップ＆サロン・ド・テ ロザージュ
- Hakone Shrine / Kuzuryu Shrine
- Hakone Pirate Ship (Hakone-machi port)
- Sengokuhara Pampas Grass Fields
- Hakone Ropeway
- Owakudani Kurotamago Pavilion
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*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.