Hakone is a town in Japan, in Kanagawa Prefecture, in Ashigarashimo District. Located on the eastern foot of Hakone Pass. As of 2003, the town has an estimated population of 14,872 and a density of 160.22 persons per km². The total area is 92.82 km².
The Ashigara Checkpoint at Hakone-juku on the historical Tōkaidō marks the beginning of Japan's Kantō region. Since the Edo period, Ashigara Checkpoint has been renamed Hakone Checkpoint.
The annual Hakone Ekiden at the New Year runs from Tokyo to Hakone and back over two days, partly in commemoration of the Tōkaidō road. Like its close neighbors Odawara and Mishima, Hakone has many onsen (hot spring) resort areas.
Sightseeing: Hakone hosts substantial tourist activity, and many, both Japanese and international visitors come to Hakone to relax, for treatment at the health resorts, or to visit the parks and mountains.
The volcanically active Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, centered around Lake Ashi, is a popular tourist attraction well known for its onsen hot springs and its views of Mt. Fuji.
Sights include the volcanically active Great Boiling Valley and Hakone Shrine nestled on the shore of the lake, as well as the Hakone Botanical Garden of Wetlands. In April the cherry blossoms (sakura) and in autumn the Chinese silvergrass (susuki, Miscanthus sinensis) are reportedly a very beautiful view in the parks.
Transportation: Hakone is best accessed from Odawara and Mishima, the terminus of the Odakyu Odawara Line, 70 minutes from Shinjuku, Tokyo. From Odawara, the Hakone Tozan Line continues into various resort towns in Hakone. Odakyu also runs the Romancecar limited express between Shinjuku and Hakone-Yumoto. From Gora, the terminus of Hakone Tozan Line, the Hakone Tozan Cable Car funicular gœs to Sounzan. Owakudani can be reached by Hakone Ropeway from Sounzan and the lake, while the lake is crisscrossed by cartoonishly decorated "pirate" ships for tourists. There is also Hakone Komagatake Ropeway, which gœs to the top of Mount Komagatake.
A popular "Hakone Free Pass", allowing unlimited use of most forms of transport for several days, is available. You can buy this free pass in Shinjuku, Odawara, and any other chief stations along Odakyu Odawara Line.
Hakone has a number of museums, including the Hakone Open-Air Museum.
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