Rainy Season 2010: Places You Must Visit Top 5 – No.4
This article was written by me for BiOS Blog on May 20, 2010.
Today we will introduce the no.4 in the Top 5 list of places to visit during the rainy season in Japan.
Sometimes when you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, there is no better place to spend some time than in Hakone which is just about an hour away.
Hakone is part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, less than 100 kilometers from Tokyo. Famous for hot springs, outdoor activities, natural beauty and the view of nearby Mt. Fuji, Hakone is one of the most popular destinations among Japanese and international tourists looking for a break from Tokyo.
As above mentioned, Hakone has been one of Japan’s most popular hot spring resorts for centuries. Nowadays, more than a dozen springs provide hot spring water to the many bath houses and ryokan in the Hakone region.
List of places to sightsee:
• Lake Ashi
• Hakone Checkpoint
• Open Air Museum
• Botanical Garden
• Hakone Art Museum
• Hakone Shrine
• Hakone Tozan Railway
• Detached Palace
• Hakone Glass no Mori
• Gotemba Outlet Mall
• Gora Park
• Pola Museum
How to get there
If you are going to Hakone from Tokyo (as most people do) the Odakyu Railway offers the cheapest and most scenic option to get there. Odakyu trains leave from Tokyo’s Shinjuku station. You can choose between the Odakyu Romance Car (about 1h30min, ¥2,020) or the Odakyu Highway Bus (2h15min, ¥1,950). The train stops at Hakone Yumoto station, via Odawara. The bus terminates at Hakone Tōgendai or Hakone Garden, both on the shores of Lake Ashinoko. Odakyu services also go to the Gotemba Premium Outlets. There are no trains between Gotemba and Hakone, but buses will make the return journey.
If you have the Japan Rail Pass or come from Yokohama, Nagoya or the Kansai region, you can also reach Hakone by shinkansen (“bullet train”). Odawara station is on the main shinkansen line between Tokyo and Osaka. Although Odawara is in Kanagawa prefecture (like Yokohama), which makes it a part of the Greater Tokyo, the journey from Nagoya and Tokyo take exactly the same time (1h10min or 1h25min depending on the train type), and not much longer than from Yokohama (55 to 65min). From Odawara station you can either catch a taxi to your hotel or first destination in Hakone, board the touristic Hakone Tōzan Railway, which is more like a city tramway, strolling leisurely through the streets of Hakone.
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