Our trip to Hakone, a mountainous national park west of Tokyo, was most defined by onsen, black eggs and chasing the view of Mt. Fuji. It is a great area to visit for hiking and relaxing. The park has loads of beautiful trails, that we unfortunately didn’t have time to visit, and what better way to relax in the evening than going to one of the many onsen. We chose to stay in Azito Guesthouse that offers funky tree house-style capsule double rooms, which were surprisingly comfortable.

Since we were only in the area for a couple of nights, we wanted to see as much as possible in a short time. A great option for this is the Hakone Free Pass, that allows you access to five different modes of transport with which you can do a loop to and back to Hakone-Yumoto via the Owakudani Valley, Lake Ashi and both towns on its shores. Apart from views of Mt Fuji and the natural beauty of the area, there are other interesting sights, such as the former Imperial Palace gardens, the Hakone Shrine with its famous red torii gate on the lake and the old Tokaido Road Checkpoint (Edo-era military checkpoint). We really enjoyed taking the different trains, buses, ship and ropeway to complete the loop and we were lucky enough to see Mt. Fuji from a couple of viewpoints. Included in the Hakone Free Pass is also the bus that takes you to Mishima Skywalk, a 400m suspension bridge that, as far as we can tell, was only built for views of Mt. Fuji.

Odawara station with Odawara Castle in the distance.

Hakone Tozan Mountain Railway going to Gora Station. The first part of our journey around Hakone.

Hakone Tozan Cable Car. Our second mode of transport going to Sounzan, where we had to get a bus replacement to Owakudani.

Owakudani Geothermal Valley with active sulfur vents and hot springs.

Smoke and sulfur smell everywhere! The site is popular for views of Mt Fuji and black eggs – hard boiled in the hot springs and thought to increase longevity.

Not sure how I feel about this warning sign once I’m already here!

Even on top of a smoking mountain, you’re never far away from a vending machine refreshment.

Lake Ashi at the bottom of the Hakone Ropeway (fourth mode of transport).

View from the Togendai Port. There are three pirate ships (fifth mode of transport) used to transport visitors across the lake.

Onshihakone Park in Hakone – a former imperial palace park with walking paths and a beautiful view of Lake Ashi.

Hakone Shrine Peace Torii – one of the most iconic sights on Lake Ashi. Apart from the view of Mt Fuji of course.

Mishima Skywalk – a 400m long suspended bridge that takes you to nowhere. But if you’re lucky you get to see Mt. Fuji while walking across. If not, there is always the bamboo carving.

Midpoint of the bridge with an attendant. The town of Mishima in the background.

Awaiting on the other side of the bridge is a plaza with food trucks and a magician entertaining the kids.

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