Hakone is a beautiful mountain region about an hour’s train ride out of Tokyo Station. The great views of Mt. Fuji it offers up, it’s ample hot springs, it’s scenic nature, and it’s close distance make it a popular getaway for those living in Tokyo.
If you’re a transportation buff, then you’ll assuredly enjoy visiting Hakone, as you can experience riding on a:
- Mountain climbing train
- Mountain climbing cable car (funicular)
- Ropeway (gondola)
You can get a Free Pass (which is not free) that lets you travel on all the transportation methods above.
Also, if you’re going to Hakone from Tokyo, you can also travel there by Romance car (which is not really romantic), but they do have some neat trains.
Hakone was once a checkpoint on the Old Tokkaido highway. So, we visited visited Hakone Sekisho, which was put in place in 1619 by the Tokugawa Shogunate as inspection facility for those entering Tokyo. From the Hakone Sekisho website, I quote,
“One of the main roles of sekisho was to control ‘incoming guns and outgoing women’, which means to prevent weapons from being brought into Edo and wives and children of feudal lords from fleeing from Edo. However, Hakone Sekisho did not inspect ‘incoming guns’, and severely inspected ‘outgoing women’.”
There’s so much to explore in Hakone, from the multiple museums, numerous onsen’s (hot springs), nature trails, and of course, shops, that you’ll be hard-pressed to be be bored.
If you’re truly trying to get away from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, you can get away to some extent, but it’s not like you’re travelling to the inaka (countryside).