30 min from Tokyo via the Shinkansen, Japan's rapid train, or 1h 30m on the regular train, you will still have another hour to go before reaching Hakone and its spas once you're feet are on the quay. At the Odawara station you will be greeted by the proud statue of Samurai immortalised for his striking climb in the caste of warriors (Hodo Shoun finished off as the head of the Odawara clan, whose castle towers over the station) before jumping into the shuttle. Located in Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, not only does Hakone offer an unobstructed view of Mount Fuji, it is a very esteemed holiday spot. At 1,000m of altitude, visitors come here for its hot springs, much to the delight of fans of 'onsen' (bathing facilities and inns around the hot springs), and its superb sites, like Owakudani, 'Great Boiling Valley', where the strong smell of the sulphur emanating from the mist are not a turnoff. They also come to eat the black eggs sold here, which are said to promote fertility for men and women alike. Another popular attraction, besides the golf course, is Lake Ashi, which is surrounded by a forest. This is where hikers meet up before venturing out onto the marked trails that pass through all types of vegetation. It is a preserved area with upscale hotels standing discreetly on its banks. There are two boats (reconstructed pirate ships), a red one and a green one, that take tourists on excursions on the lake.
There is a cable car that will take you uphill where you can enjoy a superb panorama of the surroundings.© Pavel Bernshtam / 123RF
There are many boats, including two replicas of pirate ships, on which you can go out on the calm water.© Jordan Tan / 123RF
Visitors come here to see Owakudani's eponymous hot springs, which can be translated as 'The Great Boiling Valley'.© Dusit Srisangaoran / 123RF
Cooked in the steam of the hot springs and turned black by the sulphur, it is said that the eggs boost fertility.© Ekaterina Pokrovsky / 123RF
There are many accommodation possibilities for visitors, including many resorts with first-rate services.© iStockphoto.com / Master2