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For the second leg of of our Japan trip, we traveled an hour outside of Tokyo to Hakone, a resort town known for its onsen hot springs and views of nearby Mt. Fuji.

Mt. Fuji in the background

Unexpected and wonderful:

  • Transportation:  Upon arriving at the Hakone train station, visitors check luggage with a transportation service that shuttles guests’ bags to their hotels. No shlepping for us! This enabled us to freely ride the many modes of transportation that comprise the Hakone sightseeing loop including: train, cable car funicular, bus, ropeway, and pirate ship (around Ashi lake).
  • Onsen Tamago:  eggs that have been hard-boiled in the volcanic hot springs, yum!
  • Open Air Museum: Our fault: we expected this amazing space to be boring. Nope! It had dynamic, interactive exhibits including a maze and climbing structures. We got weird in the best way.
Ropeway to the pirate ship
Onsen Tamago
Giant Sculptures at the Open air Museum
Stained Glass climbing tower at the Open air museum
Open Air museum
Sculptures at the Open Air museum
View of Lake Ashi from the pirate ship
Lake Ashi

Staying at a Traditional Ryokan near Mt. Fuji

The most memorable part of Hakone was our traditional Japanese guest house (ryokan), with serene onsen hot springs overlooking Mt. Fuji. Furnished with tatami woven mat floors and traditional futon beds, the traditional Japanese rooms each presented picture-perfect views of Mt. Fuji, Japan’s highest volcano. Ryokan guests wear traditional yukata robes (cotton kimonos) and enjoy a traditional kaiseki dinner, consisting of several, small, elaborately displayed dishes including:

Kaiseki Menu
Our beautiful kaiseki dinner

Where to stay & eat:  We loved the inexpensive Fujimien Ryokan. The ryokan reopened after some renovations in 2015. Availability seems limited. For a similar traditional ryokan and onsen experience, check out Yoshimatsu (traditional) or Centurion Hakone Bettei (luxury).

Visitor tip:  Buy the Hakone “free-pass;” The pass includes the roundtrip train fare from Tokyo and unlimited access on all of the modes of transportation within Hakone.  Very worthwhile.

Me & Ari in yukata robes

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3 comments on “A Room with a View: Hakone & Mt. Fuji, Japan

  1. Lin says:

    Hi there,

    I chanced upon your blog on your trip to Hakone. I am very interested in your note regarding the following:

    upon arriving at the train station, all visitors check luggage with a service that transports guests’ bags to their hotels

    Is this a complimentary service provided by your accommodation or it is a paid private service?

    I appreciate if you could provide the information. Thank you.

    1. yael says:

      It is a paid service that is available at the train station. If you buy a Hakone Free Pass at the train station, there is a discount. I highly recommend this to drop off your luggage before enjoying the Hakone sights.

      1. Anonymous says:

        I appreciate your reply. If you could remember approximately how much you paid for it, that’d be great. Otherwise, thanks for the post and information which helped in my planning.

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