Hakone is extremely popular as a tourist destination where you can see Mt. Fuji while taking a day trip from Tokyo. The area isn’t just a place filled with hot springs, art museums and other leisure facilities but is also a region where you can enjoy the four seasons while viewing Mt. Fuji. Especially in autumn, the beauty of nature is splendid with the fall colors and the golden Japanese pampas grass spreading out like a carpet.
There are various ways to enjoy Hakone depending on the area. Hakone-Yumoto is the central area in Hakone which has flourished since ancient times and is famous for Yumoto Onsen. In Gora, there are the Hakone Open-Air Museum and Hakone Gora Park with the view from the ropeway over Owakudani (1000m in altitude) being popular. You will want to be rather strategic about choosing where to visit and what to see since even a day will not be enough to see everything with places such as Sengokuhara, a highland resort with many museums of art including the Hakone Garasunomori Museum and the Pola Museum of Art, Lake Ashi, and Moto-Hakone with Hakone Shrine. There are also places to view Mt. Fuji such as Mt. Kintoki, the Otome Pass and Lake Ashi. The beauty seen on a clear day is exceptional.
It is said that eating the black eggs, a delicacy of Owakudani, will add 7 years to your life. Hakone specialties include Jinenjo soba and yose dofu. There are also lots of fresh fish close to Odawara Harbor with attractive meals served at your accommodations and the restaurants at the art museums.
The customary route to Hakone is by Odakyu Romance Car from Tokyo Station via Shinjuku which takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes. For touring within Hakone, the Hakone Freepass is handy for making a round trip starting from Hakone-Yumoto and passing through Gora, Owakudani and Moto-Hakone. Getting on and off the mountain railway, cable car and ropeway is easy and comes with discount privileges at 50 facilities. If you are going as far as Sengokuhara, then a car is recommended. However, in addition to traveling on the mountain pass road, there will be large traffic jams everywhere on national holidays, the O-Bon holiday and the fall color season so you need to allow for a lot of time.
Since the entire area of Hakone is an onsen area, there are hotels and ryokan available. The gateway to Hakone, Hakone-Yumoto, is just one area among many recommended to enjoy the hot springs which will differ in onsen type depending on the various areas which also include Gora, Sengokuhara and Lake Ashi.