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Nature Walk
Self-guided Tour

Hiking in Hakone

A Pleasant Trail Walk with Spectacular Views

Located only 50 miles west of Tokyo, Hakone, part of Fuji Hakone Izu National Park, is a popular hot spring resort which attracts nearly 20 million visitors annually. As you climb up the slope by train (Hakone Tozan Tetsudo), you will find yourself surrounded by dense forests and therefore you can hardly imagine that the whole area is a large old volcano, unless you visit Owakudani where steam is still spouting out. This triple volcano divided by two caldera walls was, at its initial eruption (about 300,000 years ago), a large strato-volcano of about 8,000 feet high. Its highest peak Kami-yama that was lifted 30,000 years ago is about 1,400 meters or 4,000 feet above sea level. Though Hakone is sometimes overpopulated especially during holiday seasons, it is still a good place for walking and hiking and there are a number of trails waiting for visitors. You will surely enjoy its natural beauty as well as traces of Japanese history.

Lake Ashi (Ashinoko)
History When the whole country was put under the rule of the Tokugawa or Edo shogunate at the beginning of the 17th century, the government took measures to prevent provincial lords from rising in revolt against it. Since Hakone was on the old Tokaido Highway connecting two most important cities, Tokyo (then Edo) and Kyoto, a check.point was built there. Everyone traveling on the highway had to passs through Hakone and it was difficult to sneak through or break through the checkpoint heavily protected by the guards and surrounded by steep slopes.

It may be strange enough that some westerners traveled even during the period when Japan kept its doors closed for foreig trade (1639-1853), and that they were received in audience by the Shogun. Engelbert Kempfer(1651-1716), a German medical doctor who was stationed at the office of the Dutch East India Company in Nagasaki, Kyushu, eagerly observed and collected Japanese wild flowers on his way to Edo. He referred to Hakone-so, a maiden hair fern that he encountered in Hakone in his The History of Japan. The English edition was published in London in 1727; French edition and German edition, in 1729 and 1749 respectively. When Japan was a country still far remote from Europe, this book must have stimulated Europeans' interest in the Far East.

Located at the boundary between the warm-temperate zone and the cold-temperate zone, Hakone is occupied by a variety of both evergreen and deciduous broad-leaved trees such as maple, beech, oak and elm. Among conifers you may encounter there are red and black pines, cypress and cedar.

Hatajuku - Hakone-machi on the old Tokaido highway

Getting There: About how to get to Hakone-yumoto, see Hkie 1. From Hakone-yumoto to Hatajuku, it takes 15 minutes by bus operated by Hakone-tozan Tetsudo co. The bus schedule in the morning : Lv. Hakone-yumoto at 6:22, 7:25. 8:45, 9:15,9:45, 10:15,11:15 and 11:45. This schedule is subject to change.

The Trail Hatajuku, a peaceful place embraced by Hakone mountains is known for wooden mosaic work (Yosegi-zaiku), a traditional handicraft handed down from the Edo period. From here you will walk along the river Sugumo. Soon you will cross the road going up the hill several times. The walking trail mostly goes through a wooded area along the valley and you cannot expect a spectacular view but can experience the old Hakone pass and enjoy plants of the season. You may encounter monkeys on this route. Just ignore them. Do not look them in the eyes.

As you approach Moto-hakone, you will again see the sky, and a portion of Lake Ashi will apear in front of you. Look for Mt. Fuji if you have a good sense of direction and if the weather is good enough. to see the mountain. Stop for a moment at Hakone Shrine with a large red shinto gate on the shore of the lake(only 15 minutes' walk from the trail). Then walk along the lake to the check point, Hakone-machi.

Route: Hatajuku - 20 min. - Hairpin Curves -30 min. - Stone Pavement - 30 min. - Moto Hakone - 15 min - Hakone Shrine - 15 min - Moto Hakone - 20 min. - Hakone-machi

* A bit about etymology: You may have noticed that the two place names, "Shinjuku", your starting point, and "Hatajuku" have "juku" in common. The original meaning of "juku" is "station" or "stage". These names indicate that they both were once stations on the main highways.

Fares and time required
Shinjuku -
1 h. 50min.(\1,150)- Hakone Yumoto - 15min. (\380)- Hatajuku...walk(1h. 40 min.)...Hakone-machi -45 min.(\930)- Hakone Yumoto -1 h. 50 min.(\1,150)

* For the limited express "Hakone" (Shinjuku-Hakone yumoto), an extra fare of \870 is required.
* To avoid crowds, it would be better to start early in the morning.
* At Togendai, you can take a bus for either Hakone-yumoto or Odawara via Hakone-yumoto.
*Tokyo-Hakone Highway Bus is operated by Odakyu. Tokyo(Shinjuku)-Hakone(Togendai): \1,980 one way. Reservation is necessary.
* JR (Japan Railways) connects Tokyo and Odawra in 70 min. by "Acty", a train which makes fewer stops than other local trains with no extra fare. Lv. Tokyo 8:21a.m. -Arr. Odawara 9:33 a.m. \1,450
(The schedule is subject to change)
* About discount tickets, Click here

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