Hakone and Izu which cuts across Kanagawa Prefecture and Shizuoka Prefecture are one of the most famous tourist attractions in Japan.
Introduction to Hakone
Hakone Toge, located between Shizuoka’s Mishima and Hakone is known to be one of the more dangerous places to drive in Tokaido, and places like Lake Ashi are famous for its cable cars and hot springs.
It is a hot spring spot you can reach in about 1.5 hours by the Limited Express Romancecar from Shinjuku if from Tokyo, and is a famous hot spring spot in the metropolitan area.
Take the Tomei Expressway if coming from Tokyo or Yokohama and the Odawara Atsugi Road if coming from Atsugi, or just by the Highway No. 1 if in general.
If coming from Shizuoka, Nagoya or Osaka, you can take a bullet train to Odawara and switch to the Hakone Tozan Railroad Line or take the expressway and switch to the highway at Numazu or Gotemba. Recently, the New Tomei Exressway has stretched to Aichi Prefecture’s Toyoda, and it has become easier to visit from Nagoya and Osaka.
Around Hakone Yumoto station where souvenir shops and hot spring inns line the streets, tourists flock over during the weekend and it gets busy.
Also known for the annual Hakone Ekiden, the climb up from Odawara in the special mountain climb (5th section) sees the birth of many legends every year.
Introduction to Atami
Atami is located in the Eastern area of Shizuoka, and is known as an hot spring spot, and is relatively convenient to visit from not only Tokyo, but also Nagoya and Osaka as the bullet train stops at Atami station.
Traditional inns and hot spring inns line the road along Sagami Bay, and its night view is often called “Monacco of Japan” as the area is hilly.
During the bubble economy, Atami used to be a standard honeymoon spot, and is still sees many tourists as the means of transportation have improved. New Tomei has stretched to Atami like Hakone in the North, and is much more accessible now.
Numazu is located in the central town of the east of Shizuoka, and is at the west entrance to Izu Peninsular. The fishing industry is blooming at ports like Shimizu and Yaizu along Suruga Bay, and dried mackerel is one of the specialties sold at Numazu.
Coming in second after Numazu, Mishima is another main town in the central area of Shizuoka, and the town full of nature is home to tourist attractions like Mishima Taisha and Rakujuen.
It also acts as the entrance to main tourist attractions in Central Izu like Shuzenji and Amagi, and the bullet train stops at Mishima station, and the Izu Hakone Railway Sunzu Line stretches to Shuzenji.
Mishima is famous for the production of potatoes, and Mishima croquettes are famous as well.
Odawara is a town located in the west of Kanagawa, and was developed as an historical town around Odawara Castle. Apart from the JR Line, you can take the Odakyu Line there as well, and it is relatively accessible from Tokyo.
Odawara is famous for kamaboko (fishcake) and young sardines, as well as seafood as it lies along Sagami Bay, especially in the south where there are fish ports, fishing villages and historical villages, and is a town with two sides to it.