Attractions: The Enormous Panorama of Nature Views in Hakone

Owakudani Valley
The crater – which was formed in the last vaporous eruption of the Hakone mountains, when the highest mountain in Hakone, Mt. Kami erupted 3,000 years ago – has spouted out hot vapor and sulfide to this day.  Once known as Oojigoku ("hell"), or grand hell, it was renamed Oowakudani (the Valley of Hell), before the Meiji emperor's visit in 1876, since it was not a good for the Emperor to visit a place called "hell".  The grand view of Mt. Fuji can be enjoyed from this spot (50 scenic areas in Kanagawa).  "Black jewel eggs," eggs cooked in the area's thermal heat sources, are a Hakone specialty.  According to legend, eating one is said to add seven years to your life.  Visitors to Owakudani can enjoy the authentic taste of this unusual treat.

Lava from the crater of Mount Kami divided Lake Ashi into two, with the south half staying as Lake Ashi and the other half becoming a marshy region.  Such rare marshy plants as nohanashobu and mizugoke form communities there, and a part of the region was designated as natural monument in 1934 (50 scenic areas in Kanagawa).

Lake Ashi
Lake Ashi is a placid lake surrounded by mountains and dense forest.  The view from the lake on the Hakone Sightseeing Cruise gives a completely different perspective than from land.  Walking paths along the lake, Hakone-jinja Shrine, Onshi-Hakone-Koen Park and other points of interest around the lake await visitors.  Lake Ashi, 20 km (12.4 miles) in circumference, is a slender lake formed in the Hakone caldera some 400,000 years ago.  The inverted reflection of Mt. Fuji viewed through the pine avenue in the southern shore is truly picturesque scenery.  Lake Ashi is abundant in pond smelt, trout, black bass and other kinds of fish, and many people enjoy fishing there.

Mt. Komagatake
Mt. Komagatake, a peak of the central crater hill in the middle of the Hakone caldera, is 1,357 metres (4,452 foot) high.  The panoramic view, including Mt. Fuji, Lake Ashi and the mountains surrounding the caldera from the summit, which is a gentle prairie, is just breathtaking.

Mt. Kintoki
Mt. Kintoki, having a height of 1,213 metres (3,979 foot), used to be called Mt. Inohana.  At the foot of the mountain exist many ruins of the famous Japanese "Kintaro" legend, including Kintoki Shrine where Kintoki Sakata is deified.

One of the better-known small towns surrounding Lake Ashi and only a leisurely 20 to 30 minute walk from Hakone-Machi is Moto-Hakone.  This area has a diverse range of small eateries, restaurants and cafes, almost all of which afford exceptional views of Lake Ashi, and Mt Fuji in the distance.
Between Hakone-Machi and Moto-Hakone, lies the old Tokaido Highway.  This was once the road that linked the ancient capital Kyoto with Tokyo, or Edo as it was then known.  Along the way you will find a 500-metre-long (1,640-foot) stretch of path lined with cryptomeria trees dating back some 370 years.  Although not entirely fascinating in and of itself, this is an important piece of Japanese history and is celebrated as such.

Mount Fuji
Hakone and Mount Fuji are subjects immortalised in the woodblock prints of Hokusai.  Only in Hakone can viewers enjoy the sight of the large red torii gate of Hakone-jinja Shrine standing in Lake Ashi, with Mount Fuji rising majestically in the background.  At spots like Owakudani and Otome Pass, visitors can feast their eyes on a stirring and memorable view of Mount Fuji all the way down to its foothills.

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1320 Gora, Hakone-Machi, Ashigarashimogun, Kanagawa, Japan, 250-0408

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