Hakone in Kanagawa is arguably one of the most popular day trip destinations for Tokyoites wanting to get out of the city for a brief fix of nature and/or hot springs. I’ve been to Hakone three times though all of them were well over a decade ago! On those occasions I did the conveyor-belt style tourism loop in the vicinity of Lake Ashi which included a boat, a gondola, a ropeway and so on. This time though I did it all on foot as I wanted to explore the area around Hakone-yumoto Station.
Hakone Daitengusan-jinja Shrine (293-3 Sukumogawa, Hakonemachi) is nearly one hour on foot from Hakone-yumoto Station but that was my priority for this trip which I have included this under the Tokyo Daytripper banner as it’s doable in a day from Tokyo. However, I actually dropped by the area on my return from Izu back at the start of May.
This is a very bright and vivid looking shrine with a lot going on in terms of statues, lanterns and carp streamers although I suspect the latter may just have been temporary for the time when I was there. It’s a fairly vast shrine which just keeps going deeper and deeper and towards the rear are some stairs that ascend to another shrine and a room full of much smaller shrines guarded by a load of foxes; the kind of thing that may be more at home in an ‘On The Fox Trail…‘post!
It seems that this is very much a modern shrine belonging to a new religion with loads of decorations that aren’t found at other such places. I’ve heard that they are there in an attempt to entertain the children that visit. It was a nice shrine to wander around amidst some beautiful views of the surrounding countryside.
Further down the road from that back in the direction of the station was Tensein Temple (5-16 Sukumogawa, Hakonemachi) where I was kindly given an A4 paper giving information in English about it but sadly it seems to have been done via Google Translate as very little makes any sense! It is another elaborately decorated place which is relatively new having only been around since 1994.
Back much closer to the station are the Haya and Sukumo Rivers (below) that run through lush green vegetation, rocks and waterfalls.
The huge jizo statue (below) attracted me to Shogenji Temple (562 Yumoto, Hakonemachi) which was a slight detour from the river and has something to do with the Soga Brothers, a traditional Japanese story about blood revenge.
The real bonus for me was the House Vader Star Wars shop (below) which I came across by pure chance. Who’d have thought a store like this would be in such an area! It opened at midday which was also lucky as noon was fast approaching.
There was more excitement just round the corner where a brown Lawson is located. Regular readers may have noticed occasional photographs on here in the last year or so of convenience stores in Japan where the exterior logos are different from the usual ones with the most interesting one probably being the red Lawson in Hiroshima. This one was brown, presumably to blend in better with the surroundings. Not too far from there was the shop with giant seafood on it.
Hakone-yumoto Station is just 15 minutes away from Odawara on the Hakonetozan Line but before heading home to Tokyo I went back a couple of stops from Odawara as I wanted to see Nebukawa Station (below) on the Tokaido Main Line which is located right by the sea in Kanagawa Prefecture.
Click here to read ‘Tokyo Daytripper: Top 10 Kanagawa Sights’