Hakone was named a “Top 10 Japan Travel Destination for 2021” by GaijinPot Travel. You might have visited Hakone before but there are always new places to see and experience. Here are a few recommendations for when things get back to normal.
Meet Geisha show
Just a 5-minute walk from Hakone Yumoto Station is the Meet Geisha where geisha sing, dance and play music on the the shamisen (traditional musical instrument). The admission fee for a 40-minute show is 2,000 yen. If you would like to invite a geisha to join you privately at a Japanese restaurant, you need to pay 32,000 yen for the geisha and another 32,000 yen for a shamisen player in cash on top of the restaurant fee.
Due to the COVID-19, Meet Geisha is offering the world's first online drinking party with Hakone's geisha.
Founded in 1878, Fujiya Hotel, one of the oldest hotels in Japan, is located in the Miyanoshita hot spring area. Many famous people from around the world have stayed at the hotel. Some of their famous guests include Charles Chaplin, Helen Keller, John Lennon and Yoko Ono.
The hotel was closed for earthquake-resistant repair work for over two years and reopened in July 2020. When you enter the lobby in the hotel’s main building, you feel like you’ve slipped back in time to the old days. You can enjoy a luxurious stay at the hotel, but even if you are not staying, treat yourself to a relaxing afternoon tea in the lounge.
Hakone Railway was severely damaged by a typhoon in October 2019 and had to close for repairs. It fully reopened on July 23, 2020. At the same time, Sounzan Station was also renewed as “cu―mo.” In the past, it was just a transfer station to the ropeway on Hakone Tozan Cable Car, but now you can enjoy a superb view from the terrace of cu―mo, while soaking your feet in the hot spring bath, or having some cake. It has become a popular instagrammable spot for its photogenic view.
Hakone Ropeway new gondola
Hakone Ropeway is always fun to ride, and when you cross over Owakudani valley, it is thrilling to see smoke rising from below. The new gondola is very spacious and has a floor-to-ceiling glass window which gives you a great view. If you are lucky and the weather is clear, you can see Mt Fuji and surrounding mountains.
Making your own Hakone Yosegi Zaiku
It is not new but you might enjoy making a karakuri hako (puzzle box) or coaster. Hakone Yosegi Zaiku parquet is a woodworking technique that combines various types of wood and draws patterns using the differences in the shades of each wood. This technique was created by Ishikawa Nihei of Hakone Hatajuku in the latter half of the Edo period. Hakone Town and Odawara City in Kanagawa Prefecture are the only production areas in Japan. You can see the skill of master craftsmen at Hakone Karakuri Museum near Hakone Checkpoint.
For more information on day trips from Tokyo to Kanagawa, visit https://trip.pref.kanagawa.jp/
Source: Kanagawa Prefectural Government© Japan Today