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Hakone is a resort area, just 90 minutes by train from the city, in a national park southeast of Mount. Fuji that is extremely popular with weekend trippers from Tokyo.
This area makes also make a pleasant day trip, but to enjoy more of the countryside, you should stay overnight and continue further down the Izu Peninsula the next day if possible.
Located in the far western section of the Kanagaaw Prefecture on the eastern side of Hakone Pass sits Hakone. To this day it is counted as one of the first tourist destinations in Japan, and between the epic views of Mount Fuji in the distance across the crystal waters of the Ashi Lake, the Hakone Gongen Shinto shrine, and the various hot springs and the beauty of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park or the Hakone Botanical Garden of Wetlands, it becomes immediately obvious why this place has been so popular over the years with both domestic and foreign travelers. Between the history and the natural beauty there is no better place to spend a relaxing few days.
Even if you have a Japan Rail pass, I suggest, that you invest in the all inclusive “Hakone Free Pass” offered by the Odakyu Railway.
This entitles you to a roundtrip train ticket from Shinjuku to Gora, connecting with the funicular railway up into the mountains to a cable car. You then swing across the volcanic Owakudani valley and down the other side for a boat cruise across Lake Ashi to Hakonemachi.
From there you can take a bus (still on the same pass) along the Sumiko River to Odawara, and then back by train to Tokyo.
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Most of the world's national symbols—the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower, the Kremlin, the Great Wall—are man-made.
Japan's is a phenomenon of nature. And yet, in its almost perfect symmetry the cone of Mt. Fuji which is snowcapped even in the summer, is so strikingly formed that it may seem more like the work of an infinitely patient landscape artist rather than a volcanic accident.
The solitary majestic peak rises 3.776 m (12.385 ft) into the heavens. It is, in a word, simply beautiful. On a clear day you may see her splendidly rise, on your decent if you land at Narita. There are no other mountains around it.
Here, more than in any temple garden or ancient castle-ground you will understand why the Japanese prefer to blur the distinction between nature and art.
Japan’s austere, ruthless, but statesmanlike new ruler, Yoritomo Minamoto set up his government in Kamakura well away from the “softening” influence of court life that had been the undoing of his predecessor, Kiyomori, First of the national rulers to take the title of sei=I tai-shogun (“barbarian-sub-during great general”), Minamoto expanded and consolidated his power by confiscating lands form some of the defeated Taira and redistributing them to his samurai vassals.
Minamoto died in 1199, and the feudal structure passed intact to the tutelage of his widow’s family, the Hojo, who were content to paly regent to a figurehead shogun, in much the same way as the Fujiwara had done with the emperor. The fiction of Japanese imperial power had become infinitely extendable, the emperor at Kyto- still seconded by a Fujiwara regent at court—legitimized a minamoto who was himself a military dictator controlled by a Hojo regent. In a country where form and substance were inextricably interrelated, two things counted in politics: symbolic authority and real power. Neither could exist without the other.
A thwarted Mongol invasion in 1274 weakened the Kamakura regime. The fighting brought none of the usual spoils of war that provincial warlords and samurai had come to expect as payment. And the treasury was empty after earthquake, famine and plague had crippled the economy. Buddhist monasteries were using their private armies to support imperial ambitions to bring power back to Kyoto. Worst of all the Kamakura warriors resenting the way the Kyoto court referred to them as “Eastern barbarians,” sought refinement in a ruinous taste for luxury: extravagant feasts, rice costumes, and opulent homes. Kamakura was falling apart.
Exchange rate fluctuations can have a considerable impact on your trip budget. If your home currency has appreciated in value in the recent term over the currency of your destination you are likely to find the place inexpensive.
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Do you know of anything else about the enviroment that makes you happy to come to Hakone? If it's a city or neighbourhood are there any climatic, or microclimatic features that you could tell others about. If the location is a building or place, then can you describe it maybe as "sun-lit", or "cold in the mornings". We'd love you to contribute - why not let us know in the drop box below
Graphic showing average weather in Hakone in Celcius and Centimeters (Change to Farenheit and Inches)
|Month||Temp °C||Rainfall Cm||Temp °F||Rainfall Inches|
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