Owakudani, literally meaning "The Great Boiling Valley", is an active volcanic valley with scenic views, where one can experience active sulphur vents, hot springs and have a taste of Kuro Tamago, the local speciality. Kuro Tamago are eggs hard-boiled on sulphurous water, whose shell turns black due to a chemical reaction and can be purchased for a small price. According to local folklore, one's life will be increased by seven years if one of this eggs is eaten.
Hakone Shrine, also known as Hakone Gongen, is a picturesque shrine located along the south shore of lake Ashi. It was originally established in 757 on the summit of Mount Komagate, but relocated to its present placement in 1667. The Shrine features a giant floating Torii gate in the lake, from which a series of stone steps lead the way into the forest where the main structures can be found surrounded by enormous trees.
Lake Ashi is a scenic crater lake formed in the caldera of Mount Hakone around 3000 years ago. It is well known for its numerous hot springs and its views of Mount Fuji on a clear day. The views however are often blocked by clouds and mist, specially during warmer seasons, making Mount Fuji hardly visible.
The best way to enjoy Lake Ashi is by riding one of the fancy decorated sightseeing boats, which cross the lake from one end to the other in roughly 30 minutes.
JR Tokyo Station
34 min. 1450¥
Hakone Tozan Railway
16 min. 300¥
Hakone Yumoto Station
Odakyu Hakone Ltd. Express
85 min. 2020¥
Hakone Yumoto Station
The most economical way to explore Hakone is by purchasing Odakuy's Railways's Hakone Free Pass, which covers all the transports needed to visit all of Hakone's attractions. A 2 day pass has a price of 3,900 Yen if bought from Odawara (recommended for JR Rail Pass holders) or 5000 Yen if bought from Shinjuku.
Hakone can be visited following a round trip by using 5 means of transport covered by the Hakone Free pass: from Hakone Yumoto to Gora by the classic Tozan Railway, from Gora to Souzan by Cable Car and from Souzan to Owakudani by Ropeway. From Owakudani the Ropeway takes visitors to Togendai, where Lake Yumoto is located. From Togendai to Hakone Machi one can cross Lake Ashi by boat in order to visit Hakone Shrine which is located within a short walk. Finally, walk to Moto-Hakone where a bus takes visitors back to Hakone Yumoto.