2021 NO.31


Strolling JapanStrolling Japan


Traditional traveler’s rest spot with hot springs and historic sites

Boasting a large open-air garden bath, Motoyu Mori-no-Yu is a great hot-springs for visitors on a one-day trip.
Photo courtesy of Hakone Kowakien Yunessun

Yosegi-zaiku wooden mosaics are a traditional Hakone artisanal craft with a 200-year history. Geometric patterns of exceptional beauty are formed with elaborate combinations of woods of different species and color. Hakone souvenir shops offer a dizzying array of boxes, vases, and accessories crafted in this style.

Woods of different grains and colors are combined to craft yosegi-zaiku wooden mosaics.

Yosegi-zaiku artisan Tsuyuki Kiyotaka focuses on creating contemporary containers and accessories, as well as traditional wooden boxes.

After a stroll through town, a traditional chaya teahouse offers a welcome break. Amasake Chaya is named after its signature amazake, a sweet low-alcohol drink made from rice and other ingredients. Made today by the same method as in the Edo period (1603–1867), this sweet sake has a mild, mellow taste and is said to relieve fatigue. Weary travelers can also savor Hakone’s famous hot spring baths. At traditional ryokan inns, guests can soak away all their cares—for as long as it takes—while other onsen facilities cater to shorter daytime bathers.

Amasake Chaya has been brewing amazake for some 400 years. Yamamoto Satoshi is the 13th generation owner of the teahouse.

Come full circle, and the shopping streets outside Hakone-Yumoto Station are lively and bustling. Visitors try the area’s famous soba noodles or pick up traditional sweets at one of the renowned shops to bring back home. Then, it’s only 90 minutes back to Tokyo on the express train. Visit again and again to discover all the seasonal faces of Hakone.

Hatsuhana Soba is known for its seiro soba, which is served with a dipping sauce made with dashi broth and Japanese yam.
Photo courtesy of Hatsuhana Soba

Yumochi, yuzu-flavored mochi with thin slices of bean paste jelly inside, are the signature of Chimoto, a long-standing traditional sweets shop in Hakone Yumoto.

Map of the Hakone Area

①Hakone Shrine②Hakone Sekisho③Hakone Open-Air Museum④Okada Museum of Art⑤Amasake Chaya⑥Motoyu Mori-no-Yu⑦Hatsuhana Soba⑧Chimoto


Hakone-Yumoto Station is approx. 90 minutes from Shinjuku Station on the Odakyu Limited Express.

●Contact information

Hakone Zenzan, the Hakone Town Tourist Association official website