Hakone

Hakone is Tokyo’s original tourist mecca and remains popular for its spectacular views of Mt. Fuji (weather permitting), mountainous topography covered with forests, onsen (hot springs resorts) and the opportunity to ride a variety of transports. Hakone is a perfect day trip from Tokyo, however, if you wish to hike or use one of the many onsen, an overnight stay is required. The typical day trip itinerary includes a ride on an electric train that switchbacks up the side of a steep hill, a funicular, a ropeway, a boat and a bus. The ropeway stops at Owakudani (Great Boiling Valley) with its desolate landscape, mud pots and sulfurous billows of steam escaping from holes from some inferno deep in the earth. Here you can purchase “onsen eggs,” which have been hard-boiled in the geothermally heated mineral water. These eggs, turned black by the mineral water, are thought to add seven years to your life expectancy. The best opportunities for views of Mt. Fuji are from the ropeway and the boat, however, clouds more often than not obstruct the view. The best time of the year for views of Mt. Fuji is the winter months of December and January.