09 Sep 2016 in Discover Japan
Discover the Hakone region in Japan by following the footsteps of great lords along a historical and legendary road.
Hakone is located about a hundred kilometres to the south of Tokyo, in the Kanagawa prefecture. It is one of the 53 milestones on Tōkaidō road which links Tokyo to Kyoto, and its name means to “Eastern sea road”. Tōkaidō was an important axis in feudal times during the Edo Period, spanning the 500 km distance between the two largest cities in the country. This road was travelled by monks, merchants, pilgrims, tourists, and most importantly by the Daimyō – the most powerful feudal governors in Japan between the twelfth and nineteenth century.
Hakone has maintained the cedars road from that period, lined with over 400 trees, each about 30 metres tall, some of which are 350 years old. This circuit in the midst of the forest enchants many hikers, walking the trail separating Moto Hakone and Hakone Yumoto, for a two hours joyride. It’s, in a way, similar to a fantastic time machine…
In 2007, local authorities made it possible for visitors to relive the past by rebuilding the checkpoint on the shores of Lake Ashinoko in its original form – complete with its control tower, fences, doors, soldiers’ barracks, and even its prison… A small museum was even opened for exhibitions and to add depth to the visit.
This touristic area is located about ten kilometres from Hoshino Resorts KAI Hakone, and your visit could be accompanied by Mr Shin Kaneko, this professional guide who perfectly know the region like the back of his hand and would drive you to another area of interest : the Onshi-Hakone-Koen Park.
You will definitely enjoy this quiet and green place, hosting the former summer residence of the imperial family, with a breathtaking view of Mount Fuji. Your guide will show you the interior of the building with the exhibited photographs, as proofs of evolution over the years. In addition of this great dive into history, the surrounding grounds could make for a lovely walk along the shores of the lake…