An inviting hot springs area visited by nearly 20 million tourists every year
There are numerous ways to enjoy Hakone where the 25,000 tons of warm water that flows daily from hot springs tabs are supplied to spas, resort facilities and hot springs inns. Hakone features many tourist attractions in addition to the hot springs: You can take a ride on the mountain railway train, a gondola lift or a cable car for a magnificent view of Mount Fuji and the national park, or you could visit tourist facilities such as museums and gardens, or you could participate in various seasonal events. Hakone is a diverse region; since the atmosphere and tourist attractions largely differ among the various areas of Hakone, the characteristics of each area are introduced in the next section to enable you a well-planned tour of Hakone.
The charms of each Hakone hot springs area
Hakone Yumoto Area: This area is the entrance of Hakone. It is the oldest hot springs area in Hakone. Offering a variety of items including hot springs specialty steamed sweet buns and the local traditional wooden mosaic crafts, the souvenir shopping area in front of the Hakone Yumoto Station is perfect for browsing around to check out Japanese gifts. There are more than twenty hot springs inns that offer day plans in which you can casually enjoy bathing in hot springs baths without staying at the inn.
Miyanoshita/Kowakidani Area: This area developed as a resort area. There are many tourist attractions that represent Hakone including Fujiya Hotel, a registered tangible cultural property, and the hot springs theme park Hakone Kowakidani-en which boasts 100 indoor and outdoor baths. The approximately 66,000 square meters garden owned by an established Japanese style inn is great for taking a stroll in any season.
Goura Area: The center of tourism in Hakone. The area’s museums, parks and other facilities promise you a quiet, relaxing time in nature. The highlight of summer events in Hakone is the Daimonji Bonfire in which gigantic Chinese characters are depicted by flames on a mountain slope to soothe and send off spirits that are related collectively, whether directly or indirectly. Home of 46 hot springs taps, there are many inns in Goura that pride themselves on great hot springs qualities. There are a number of premium inns that are geared toward serving adults.
Sengokuhara Area: This is the area in Hakone that is the closest to Mount Fuji. It is a highland resort full of art with many large museums including the Hakone Garasunomori Museum, the Museum of Le Petit Prince, and the Pola Museum of Art. In many of the inns of this area, you will be able to spend tranquil time where the only sounds you here will be those of nature.
Ashinoko Area: This is the place for enjoying outdoor activities such as excursion boat rides, water skiing, fishing, camping and much more. Enjoy the area’s nature and history by, for example, taking a ride on a cable car to the peak of Mount Komagatake or visiting the Hakone Shrine. In this area, there are many inns that enable you to relax comfortably after a full day of touring.