Hakone Travel Tips

About the history of Hakone, its natural beauty, hot springs and tourist attractions

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During the Edo period, a check point was built in Hakone, which lies on Tokaido, the busiest route out of the Edo Five Routes, an became a major traffic spot. Like it is called “Tenka no Kewashi”, Hakone has numerous steep slopes and mountainous ground, and has various forms of accommodation for visitors who manage to cross the hard paths. It was developed as a tourist attraction after the Meiji period. The first resort hotel in Japan was built here in Miyanoshita, to attract more foreign visitors, and Hakone is now known nationwide as as luxurious resort area as well. After the war, railway companies competed to stretch their lines to Hakone, leading to a spike in visitors and the proper development of Hakone as a tourist attraction, and this infrastructure is still used today.
Surrounded by moutains with Mt. Hakone as the major mountain, you can find Lake Ashi, a caldera lake formed from a volcanic eruption over 400 thousand years ago, as well as Fuji Hakone Izu National Park. Volcanic activity can still be observed, and as aresult, the area is rich in hot spring sources, and the white fumes from Owakidani are results of the volcanic activity you can take a look at up close.
Hakone is full of hot spring towns, but the most historical ones are called the “Seven Hot Springs of Hakone”, or the “Seventeen Hot Springs of Hakone” with the addition of several others.
Due to historical changes and natural events, Hakone is now split into 7 major areas: Yumoto, Miyanoshita, Kowakudani, Gora, Sengokuhara and Lake Ashi. All these 7 areas have different historical backgrounds and natural environments, and each have their own attractiveness that draws visitors.
250 thousand tonnes of water gushes out everyday across Hakone, which is the 5th largest water volume output after hot springs like Kusatsu and Beppu. There are over 20 types of hot springs, including alkali thermal hot springs, sodium springs, sulfuric springs, acidic springs, carbonated springs etc. They are known to cure backaches, nerve problems, muscle aches, joint aches and fatigue, and its function varies according to its water type.
It is also well developed as a tourist attraction, and you can take a sightseeing cruise around the 20km radius Lake Ashi, a caldera lake that was formed around 400 thousand years ago during an volcanic eruption, or enjoy fishing kokanee or Japanese smelt throughout the seasons. At Sengokuhara, there is a 18000 square meter wide grass highland, which is dyed a golden yellow in autumn, and was chosen as the top 50 sights in Kanagawa. Old Tokaido is known as a hiking course that lets you take a blast to the past, with old mossy stone pavements.
Located relatively near Tokyo, Hakone pomises stunning sights during all four seasons, with famous, yet historical attractions, complete with accommodation facilities, restaurants, museums and art galleries. Hakone is plausible for both a day trip and night’s stay, and it remains a popular tourist attraction out of the many prominent ones in Japan.

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