A trip to southern Japan, where the ancient weaves through the modern

Hakone, Kanagawa

Into the mountains at Hakone


An hour from Tokyo, this wooded mountain resort area is dotted with small towns and offers stunning views of Mount Fuji. We saw it by taking a tourist circuit that starts with a three-car electric streetcar line (dating to 1919) that chugs into the mountains, till you change to a funicular, which in turn brings you to the ropeway with gondola cars that cross a mountaintop and valley. Finally, you take a tour boat (some are replicas of pirate ships) across Lake Ashi. Buses then return tourists to the rail station for the trip back to Tokyo or to hotels – in our case, the historic Fujiya Hotel, an ornate, 133-year-old beauty perched on the side of a mountain.

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