Autumn in Hakone is impressive as it claims to have the best fall color in Japan. It is worth spending some time in Hakone both in spring and autumn seasons. Hakone’s glorious spring and autumn nature has overwhelmed so many visitors. I have made several trips especially in fall to this small town. Every time I traveled to this town, I myself have figured out that a leaf peeping trip to around Tokyo is not complete without a visit to Hakone. I am not kidding with you at all, it is the truth, and hidden just outside of your imagination. Explore its most popular attractions such as the temples, gardens, park, lake, and museum and view the picturesque autumn foliage.
Hakone is described as a popular holiday resort town in Kanagawa Prefecture. Tourists visit this town all year round though during the hanami and koyo seasons it receives a lot of Japanese visitors coming from other parts of the country as well as foreign visitors. Hakone itself is a very popular spot for viewing the Mt. Fuji. In addition, there are several well known hot springs resorts (onsen). In fact, Hakone is a great holiday destination that offers a list of things to do and see as the four seasons roll in. This cool town boasts spectacular scenery and vibrant colors in autumn. I don’t want to forget the autumn colors I have experienced there. Please come with me and I will show you how to enjoy a perfect fall season in Hakone.
When is the best time to view Autumn Leaves in Hakone?
While you may have been to this town in spring for viewing variety of cherry blossoms, its surrounding nature carpeted with vibrant fall colors makes it worth visiting before winter season. Therefore, to get a quick look at golden leaves at the Hakone’s top autumn leaves viewing spots, time your trip from late October to late November. Get lost in the places where the leaves begin to sparkle until they touch the grounds. Don’t miss the local cuisine of Hakone area, and surly staying a night in a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) would be much appreciated. I do hope that you plan on traveling Hakone on the give period of time to enjoy a lovely fall season in Japan. In fact this is what you deserve for! Check out the autumn foliage forecast now.
Where to view Autumn Leaves in Hakone?
Are you ready to discover the breathtaking view of autumn leaves in Hakone? Before I take you there, I have got to tell you something interesting. You know fall is an amazing time to visit Japan. Hakone is home to one of the most vivid autumn colors you ever see anywhere in Japan.
For example, Choanji–temple offers the most scenic fall foliage view in Hakone area. Its picturesque surrounding nature in fall lets you enjoy the atmospheric sight of red and gold autumn tints. You will learn more about this place later in this article. Let’s go explore the best recommended places to view fall foliage in Hakone.
1) Lake Ashi (Ashinoko)
Lake Ashi is one of the most beautiful caldera lakes in Japan. Mount Fuji in the background with the lake is the symbol of Hakone. In fact Ashinoko is very well-known for viewing the summit of snow capped Mt. Fuji. The view of snow-capped Mt. Fuji over Lake Ashi is truly spectacular especially in fall when the surrounding forested slopes get covered with vivid colors. You can take a beautiful fall color tour by getting into the sightseeing boats. To be honest with you, a boat cruise would give you much pleasure to see the Mount Fuji and some autumn colors around Ashinoko than taking a stroll in the gardens.
I was on the pirate ship shaped Hakone sightseeing boat and it sounded to me like “I just got back in medieval time.” It was an amazing moment that I still remember quite often. In addition, you can get to Haokne Detached Palace Garden, Moto-Hakone, and Hakone Checkpoint for great views of the lake in combination with Mt. Fuji. Mid November is the peak season to spectacle vibrant autumn foliage here.
2) Choanji Temple
Choanji Temple was built in 1356 at the base of a hill, and located near the Sengoku Bus Stop just north of the Susuki Fields. It is one of my favorite places to see fall colors in Hakone. It is a Zen Buddhist temple, relatively small than most of the famous temples located around Kyoto. Though, the hidden beauty of this temple comes here once in a year and that’s during the fall season.
There are dozens of iconic beautiful stone statues of disciples of the Buddha scattered on the temple grounds. Their faces look very strange to me though I admire the poses they show. The grounds of the temple are rich in many deciduous trees along with beautiful bamboos. You must come here from Early to mid November to see fall foliage as it is said to be the best period.
3) Hakone Museum of Art
Head to the Hakone Museum of Art where spectacular views await at the grounds of the moss garden and Sekirakuen Garden. Here Sekirakuen is a traditional Japanese style landscape garden, located next to the moss garden. These are the two highlights of the Hakone Museum of Art where maple and other color-changing trees dominate their utmost beauty in fall season.
You can walk along the stone paths winding through the shade of the maple trees planted in the moss garden. Experience fall on foot! That would be charming and a great idea of exploring the nature that you find at the Museum grounds. In addition, I suggest you to see the art collections inside the museum. Please note that it is located in Gora, and was founded by Okada Mokichi in 1952. The recommended time to see fall colors here is in mid November.
4) Gora Park
At first I would like tell you that just don’t expect to see red leaves there instead be prepared to a western style landscape park. In fact, Gora Park is a French styled landscape park featuring greenhouses, a large fountain, rose garden, teahouse, and craft house. The whole park is surrounded by trees and flowers of many kinds. Winter is the only season where you don’t experience pretty flowers there.
In June you could see variety of hydrangeas. When fall rolls in here, you can enjoy it just by walking along the garden’s paths. Yes I mean you to have a relaxing walk and gazing at the colored trees. Experiencing this park during the autumn leaves viewing season will not be a bad idea, make some time to visit it.
Hakone Tozan Train and Autumn Beauty
It is a special train that runs between Odawata Station and Gora Station, and the route is about two-kilometer long. To enjoy the four season’s beauty by train in Hakone you have got to get in the train and wait for the scenery of a particular season. In spring, through the train window, you would be amazed seeing the sakura (cherry blossoms), in summer you are overwhelmed by the beauty of hydrangeas, in autumn you see the forested valleys covered by vibrant colors and finally in winter the surrounding areas are get covered with white snow.
Deyama Railway Bridge (Hayakawa Bridge), located between Tonosawa and Ohiradai stations, actually provides the most scenic autumn foliage view in Hakone. When the train is about to cross the bridge the driver slows down the speed and lets you take a good look at the surrounding autumn leaves beauty. It is just amazing to imagine how wonderful it could be in fall. Whenever you visit Hakone, it is a must thing to do right in Hakone. No doubt, this oldest mountain railway reveals the beauty of four seasons.
Would you like to go to the Sengokuhara Pampas Grass Field?
I am asking this question to you is that there is no red autumn leaf around the field but it has something to make you astonish. Before I took a trip to this field I was confused whether I should go there or not. My decision was right as I decided to spend some time there walking along the path through the field. Pampas grass (susuki in Japanese) grows in a large number in the rolling field of the west slope of Mount Hakone in the Sengokuhara area. The field looks absolutely stunning as autumn arrives there and many people visit this field to a get glimpse of silvery gold color grasses.
How to get to Hakone?
The best way one can enjoy and explore Hakone is by the Hakone Free Pass by Odakyu Railway. While on the other hand, Japan Rail Pass is useless here. Therefore I suggest you to buy Hakone free pass. It provides unlimited use of Odakyu-affiliated buses, trains, boats, ropeways, and cablecars in Hakone area only. It is an exclusive pass that what actually you need to discover Hakone.
You can purchase a round trip free pass from Shinjuku Station in Tokyo. A 2-Day pass costs you 5,140 yen and 3-Day pass costs you 5,640 yen. Once you purchase it, hop in the “Romance Car” limited express train that takes about 85 minutes from Shinjuku Station to Hakone -Yumoto Station. Alternatively, there are direct highway buses operate every 30 minutes between Tokyo Shinjuku station and Lake Ashi.
Where to Stay in Hakone?
Hakone is a popular holiday resort town in Japan. There are nice hotels and ryokan (Japanese inn) to stay overnight. Most of them provide hot spring bath facility to their guests. I stayed in a ryokan called Mount View Hakone. I was impressed by the services that I received from it. Please note that it is one of the cheapest ryokan you find in Hakone. It provides fully air-conditioned rooms with free Wifi for its guests. Also there are other facilities that make your stay quite comfortable and hassle free. If you are interested making a reservation here then click here. Highly Recommended!
Welcome to Hakone for a Glorious Leaf Peeping Trip
In conclusion, I would better share some travel tips with you. The best way of enjoying a lovely autumn day in Hakone is to get prepared well before you set off your journey. Put a light jacket on as it could be windy on the day you visit the designated autumn leave viewing spots. Sometimes you may require an umbrella as well in case it rains there. Once you arrive in Hakone try visiting most of its attractions even the ones that are not recommended for autumn leaves viewing. Hakone is not like Hokkaido, I mean before visiting some of the best fall foliage spots in Hokkaido only possible by hiking therefore tourists are requested to get some information from the tourist information centers. Here in Hakone it is different, you don’t have to encounter this event as there is no wild animal like brown bears.
According to my experience, Hakone is a great place to escape from a city life for few days or at least on weekends. Many visitors from Tokyo come to Hakone for self relaxation. Fall foliage from a distance is really something that what I believe in. I wish you can experience it on your own from the sightseeing cruise boat on Lake Ashi. I pray and hope for you that the day you visit it would be clear and sunny so that you don’t miss the view of snow-capped Mt. Fuji. Thank you.
Copyright 2016 @ takkhis