There are many travelers in the world who like outdoor adventurers and always look forward to exploring nature. They seem to me very much interested in traveling the world through hiking. Seriously, they could choose Hakone as their next hiking destination. It’s one of Japan’s most beautiful mountainous towns.

It is true, not all the countries around the world are safe to travel to let alone hiking! Besides, some trails may contain easy, moderate terrain while other might be difficult. You should choose the one based on your level of hiking proficiency. In fact the trails you find in Hakone are great for all ages and there are lots to discover on the entire journey.

Mount Fuji view from Mount Kintoki, Hakone. Photo Credit: Reginald Pentinio at Flickr.

It seems like there are so many spectacular hiking trails out there in Japan often that it’s very hard to choose the right one for you. Anyway, why do you think that people like to hike in Hakone? The answer could vary from individual to individual, but stunning views of the majestic Mount Fuji is the main reason!

Probably that’s the main point why people like to hike in this fabulous area of Kanagawa prefecture. Today, you will be informed about a comprehensive travel guide when it comes to hiking in Hakone. I hope you enjoy reading it and ultimately find some useful information before arriving in Hakone.

About Hakone

Lake Ashi and Fall Foliage. Photo Credit: Akuppa John Wigham at Flickr.

Hakone, part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park and a popular touristic area in Kanagawa prefecture is located west of Tokyo in Japan. Usually, the area is renowned for its unique hot springs (onsen), Mt. Fuji view, Ashinoko Lake, Volcanic activity, Open air museum, and the Hakone Tozan Railway.

Please don’t think that Hakone’s hiking trails are not as impressive as Hokkaido. The fact is that they are and you will experience a great joy while walking along the hilly trails through the forest seeing endless beautiful surroundings. Though Hokkaido’s wilderness is completely different than what you discover in Hakone.

Hakone ropeway! Photo Credit: Aapo Haapanen at Flickr.

According to many, Hakone is one of Tokyo’s few favorite escapes. With its unique hot springs baths, cozy ryokan, picturesque landscapes, historic landmarks, easy access to and from Tokyo (less than 100 kilometers), and tranquil weather, Hakone gives you once-in-a-lifetime adventures, even that could exceed your expectations.

If you want to have a great vacation in Hakone, you have got to walk! It means you have to go hiking and the more you walk the more you would find all the hidden gems of the area. Anyway, are you wandering about the places you would discover along with various hiking expeditions in Hakone?

Lake Ashinoko, Hakone Shrine, Choanji Temple, Hakone Ropeway, Pampas Grass Field, Pola Museum, Hakone Museum of Art, Gora Park, Hakone Open Air Museum, and Komagatake Ropeway should be at the top of your checklist.

Best Time to Hike in Hakone

A perfect sunny weather during autumn in Hakone. Photo Credit: fto mizno at Flickr.

Want to enjoy the outdoor beauty in Hakone? You better decide the time before you set off on your journey. Except the winter and early springtime, the rest of the time is quite suitable to go for a hike. Bear in mind, the valleys around Hakone change with colors of each season. For example, you will be overwhelmed by the fall color in autumn and green vegetation during the rainy season and summer.

Hikers and trekkers prefer to visit Hakone all year round, but those who are serious of taking a great hiking challenge should come there in the fall season. In the rainy days, you have to be very cautious when taking a walk along the designated trails, as they could be slippery.

The mist and clouds appear during the rainy season become invisible in the summer and autumn. The lake (Ashi) with blue water, forest full of autumn foliage and snow-capped Mount Fuji in the background is the scene nobody wants to miss when visiting Hakone in autumn.

About Hakone’s Designated Hiking Trails

Stone-paved trial of the Haknoe Old Tokaido Highway. Photo Credit: Maarten Heerlien at Flickr.

In this part we would see the two very popular hiking trails of Hakone through which you can take a nature walk and experience things that are beyond your expectation. Let’s go explore them!

1) Old Tokaido Highway (Hakone Kyukaido)

You can step back in time with a visit to the trail known as the Old Tokaido Highway. The famous Old Tokaido road (trail) that starches from Moto-Hakone and Hakone Yumoto is often said to be a scenic hiking trail in Japan. Along the trail you are offered to explore the majestic view of the Mt. Fuji, Lake Ashinoko, and Old cedar passage, Stone-paved walkway, including other historic landmark such as the teahouse (Amazake Chaya), Monument, Hakone Detached Palace, and Tokaido Museum.

Please note during the Edo Period (1603 – 1868), the road played an important role linking Tokyo and Kyoto, and it was mostly used by the government officials, royal families, samurai, and pilgrims.

Cedar Avenue, Old Tokaido road in Hakone. Photo Credit: Mark Doliner at Flickr.

Whether you are able to see the Mt. Fuji Peak or not the trail is yet a great wonder for visitors and lots to discover as it is considered to be one of the most historic hiking trails in Japan. But on a clear day, you would definitely able to see the peak of Mt. Fuji.

the old historic road that connected Tokyo and Kyoto! Photo Credit: Kabacchi at Flickr.

According to my experience, the entire trail can be categorized into two sections, 1) Hakone Machi – Hakone Checkpoint – Moto hakone, and 2) Moto Hakone – Hatajuku – Hakone Yomoto. The first one is easy to hike while on the other hand, the second one could be difficult to walk through as you have to follow uphill and downhill tracks.

However, the trail’s most preserved section begins from Moto-Hakone to Hatajuku (80-90 minutes). In the fall, this section of the trail becomes a great leaf-peeping destination.

2) Mount Kintoki

A beautiful nature trail to Mount Kintoki. Photo Credit: Kabacchi at Flickr.

Enjoying the beautiful surroundings of the Mount Kintoki (1,212m above sea level) through hiking is absolutely a great adventure. Mt. Kintoki (Ashigara) is one of the most popular hiking courses in Hakone. The mountain is actually name after one of Japan’s most popular folklore called Kintaro.

During your visit to Hakone, I strongly suggest you to hike the mountain and reach the summit then enjoy a breathtaking view of the Mount Fuji. The surrounding view from the top of the mountain is simply stunning. If you are looking for a perfect spot for the best views of Mount Fuji, there is no way except taking this exclusive hiking course.

A view of the Mount Fuji from the summit of Mt. Kintoki. Photo Credit: Toshihiro Gamo at Flickr.

There are some hiking trails to climb the mountain, but you can prefer ascending it from Kintoki Shrine and descend via the Otome Pass. That is possibly the best route to climb it and reach to its summit. Many hikers also take the challenge of reaching to the summit via either Yagurasawa Pass or Ashigara Pass.

Usually, hikers experience rocky and dirt tracks with a series of staircases surrounded by bamboo bushes and trees of various kinds. Climbing the mountain could be difficult in some cases, but if you have a little experience in mountain hiking that will not be daunting at all. A great panoramic view of Mt. Fuji, Lake Ashi, volcanic activity in Owakudani, Kintoki-yadori-ishi Rock, Hakone valley, teahouses on the mountain summit are the main highlights of this hiking course.

Before taking this course, it is highly recommended to wear good trekking boots! In addition, based on the weather condition you can wear sunglasses, wind jacket, and rain jacket. Also take a bottle of drinking water and light foods to make the trip hassle free. Please note hiking time from the base to the top depends on the weather and your skill, but usually it takes about 2 to 3 hours.

Useful Travel Guides to Hakone

Amazake chaya – traditional teahouse, You will encounter this when hiking through the Hakone Old Tokaido Highway! Photo Credit: Maarten Heerlien at Flickr.

1) Spring and fall is the best time of the year to go for hiking in Hakone.

2) Bring a pair of good trekking shoes including other recommended hiking gears and drinks.

3) Watch your every move you make through the trails and have some rest at the teahouses.

4) The best way to enjoy Hakone holiday is by Hakone Free Pass. You have two options to choose from: 2-day pass, and 3-day pass. Buy one that is appropriate for you. The free pass offers you unlimited use of Odakyu-affiliated buses, boats, and trains. Besides, you can also use the Hakone ropeway for free. One of the advantages of buying the free pass is for unlimited usage of the Hakone Tozan Railway (A scenic train ride that runs from Odawara station to Gora station). For more info please visit this page.

What a breathtaking view of the Mount Fuji! Photo Credit: SteFou! at Flickr.

5) Hakone itself quite famous for being one of the popular hot springs resort town in the country, therefore, don’t forget to relax both your body and soul at one of the onsen in Hakone.

6) Hakone has so many things to see and do. Knowing this you better stay overnight in Hakone as a result it would be easy for you to explore most of its top sightseeing attractions. Find some Hakone cheap hotels and ryokan deals now.

7) Often hiking with a big DSLR camera and lens may get you into trouble. So, I highly recommend you carry this cool compact camera that has a very good zooming option. I hope you can zoom in and capture great shots of the Mount Fuji and Lake Ashi. In fact, with this camera vlogging would be easy!

We all know how wonderful Japan is in the spring and autumn. So, if you ever visit Japan around that time of the year, please visit Hakone as a side trip from Tokyo. I am sure before you decide to go there, read this guide and get some travel tips to make your trip an epic adventure. Thank you very much.