Five hidden gems to visit on your Hakone trip

by Kita Tomomi on 09 February 2018

Famous for its hot springs and natural beauty, Hakone is the perfect respite from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. Located less than a hundred kilometers away from the capital, Hakone can be accessed easily and is a popular holiday spot amongst locals. Planning a trip to Hakone? Then don't miss these attractions!

1. Lake Ashi

Lake Ashi is a crater lake that was formed after the eruption of Mt. Hakone some 3,100 years ago, and was said to have been created because of the sand and gravel landslide around the Sengokuhara river. Because of its relative inaccessibility, this lake remains a hiddden gem. To get there, drive away from the center of the hot spring village, beyond Mt. Komagatake.

A Hakone Sightseeing Cruise leaves the Hakonemachi port for the Motohakone port for 360 yen one way, or to the Togendai port for 1000 yen one way. Along the way, behold the sights of a beautiful blue lake and the striking red torii gates of the Hakone shrine. The 3 ports you can catch the cruise at include the Togendai-ko, Motohakone-ko, and Hakonemachi-ko. You can get to them by bus, or via a ropeway for Togenday-ko.

Lake Ashi
Motohakone, Hakonecho Ashikagashimo-gun Kanagawa, 250-0522

2. Chisuji Falls

The Chisuji falls are located at the upper half of the Jakotsu river. First discovered by Mr. Enomoto about 100 years ago, he named this fall "Chisuji", which means 1000 lines, because of many small waterfalls which look like strings. Unlike the usual long and narrow falls, the Chisuji falls are unique in that they are 20 meters wide and only 3 meters high, but are no less stunning. Take a leisurely stroll around the area and enjoy the serenity of the landscape, a great way to clear your head! To get there, take a 20-minute walk from the Hakone Tozan Tesudo Line Kowakudani Station.

You can also take a mountain hiking course. If you can, visit in July as you'll be able to see Japanese fireflies, a dreamy sight not to be missed!

Chisuji Falls
507 Kowakudani, Hakone, Ashikagashimo-gun, Kanagawa

3. Hakone Mototsumiya Shrine

Also known as the “the shrine in the sky”, the Hakone Mototsumia Shrine is the original shrine of Hakone and stands at the summit of Mt. Komagakure. Because of its obscure location, it is one of Hakone's hidden treasures. From the summit, enjoy the panoramic view of Lake Ashi and look out for the mountain that is worshipped as the sacred dwelling place of a deity.

Although amulets or omamori are not sold at the shrine, this place is without a doubt, a strong power spot in Hakone. Whether it's taking in all nature has to offer or absorbing the good energy of the place, you'll walk away with a newfound sense of peace. To get to the top of the mountain, take the Komagatake ropeway from Hakone-en station. Even though it's just 7 minutes away, the ride is definitely worth it as the scenery is stunning. The ride costs 1300yen.

Hakone Mototsuimya Shrine
110 Motohakone, Hakone, Ashikagasshimo-gun, Kanagawa

4. Hakone Garasunomori Museum

The Hakone Garasunomori Museum is the first museum in Japan that specializes in Venetian Glass. In the Venetian glass hall, glassware from 1500 to 1900 are exhibited, and in the contemporary glass museum, glass artifacts from after 1900 are on display. A river flows through the museum premises and the shining glass arch, which is made out of 160,000 drops of crystal glass reflect the sunlight luminously—a magical and romantic sight!

You can also attend glass art making classes to make your own unique souvenir and enjoy refreshments at the museum cafe. The admission fee is 1500 yen per person. There are student and senior discounts too. To get there, take a bus from Odawara station or Hakone Yumoto Station to Togendai and get off at Hyoseki/Hakone Garasu-no-Mori-Mae (Hakone Venetian Glass Museum).

Hakone Garasunomori Museum
940-48 Sengokuhara Hakone, Ashikagashimo-gun Kanagawa 250-0631

5. Sengokuhara Pampas Grass Field

Covering a portion of the west slope of Mount Hakone in the Sengokuhara area is a large, rolling field of pampas grass (susuki). Referred to as the Sengokuhara Pampas Grass Field (仙石原すすき草原), the tall grasses here cover the hillside for hundreds of meters, changing color with the seasons and offering stunning views. In fall, which is the best time to visit, the grasses turn a shimmering, silvery gold colour. Every March, there is also an event which involves burning the field to prevent other weeds from growing.

During summer, the field is covered with bright greens, a stark contrast from fall, but no less arresting in sight!

To get there, take a bus for Togendai from Hakone Yumoto Station to Sengoku Kogen Station or the bus (by Odakyu Hakone Kosoku Bus) from Shinjuku station in Tokyo to Sengoku Kogen.

And if you have time, be sure to visit one of the many hot spring resorts that Hakone has to offer! Most are free and open to the general public.

Sengokuhara Pampas Grass Field
Sengokuhara Hakone, Ashikagashimo-gun Kanagawa