Hakone is a small mountain town relatively close to Mt. Fuji. I imagine most tourists come here for the Fuji Hakone National Park and viewing pleasures of Mt. Fuji herself.
This was the LAST STOP in our 21 day road trip through Japan. There is also tons to do and see near Hakone, so we booked three days…three days was too much. But we also must consider that things were starting to close at this point due to Covid-19 precautions. So the town wasn’t very lively. We were also pretty pooped from 19 days of being on the road.
Before we explore Hakone and Mt Fuji, we highly recommend staying at Hakone Hotel – having a lake and Mt Fuji view room did not suck. Highly suggest if you can swing it.
Now, our top three desires were:
We obviously had a car. But I believe you can take shuttles or tours into the National Park. Check with your accommodation, as always.
On the drive towards Mt. Fuji Panoramic Ropeway we continuously got views of Mt. Fuji and the surrounding landscape. We probably stopped 5-10 times within a few miles before deciding to just DRIVE to the freaking mountain.
Note that there is an entrance fee for the park itself, beyond anything you want to do inside the park.
Our first stop in the day’s adventure was Mt. Fuji Panoramic Ropeway
Cost: 900 yen pp – you come here for…the Mt Fuji view. This ropeway is VERY short.
There was fresh snow when we arrived in April. Which made for stunning photos, but the top deck of the viewing area was closed. Workers had barely cleared a path for the lower viewing deck once getting off the ropeway. Bless them.
No depth of snow was going to keep us from seeing the Fuji. She was perfect. We can’t deny the power of the freshly snow-kissed mountain top with clear blue skies as her backdrop. It was a thing of beauty.
Now…prepare yourself for the most (too many, truly) photos of the glorious Mt. Fuji.
As we got in our car and drove towards Chureito Pagoda before we knew it was closed, we came across a cherry blossom lined street with a sight line to Fuji on the other side of the lake. There were already 2-3 photographers in position. So I obviously hopped out of the car and snapped a few for myself.
Once we found out that possibly my most looked-forward to attractions was closed…we made our way back towards Hakone.
The Komagatake ropeway was on the way, and offers views of the lake in Hakone, all the way to the ocean on two sides, and Mt. Fuji on the other.
This was nowhere near the cleanliness or safe-ness of the previous ropeway. It was obviously outdated. The building at the top looked like it was from the end times…but the views were winning.
Once we got off the ropeway, there was the option to walk up to a temple on the hill. We suggest this for two reasons:
Then it was back to the hotel to pack up and spend one more day relaxing in Hakone before driving back to Tokyo to drop the car off.
We did it! That wraps up our 21 day road trip through Japan in early spring. Perhaps Hakone had even more to offer than we experienced. I am sure in the summer you can do more activities in and around the lake, but we felt so blessed to have SNOW in the mountains during our time here.
No matter what, if you have the travel bug, COME TO JAPAN. And certainly don’t skip out on Hakone and Mt. Fuji.
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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.
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